The NFL can be a cruel league sometimes. You don’t have to tell fans of the Cleveland Browns just how tough things can get, and now their quarterback from 2012 will have to endure plenty of potential difficulty himself.
Brandon Weeden didn’t exactly blow anyone away with his performance as a rookie last year, but to think that he could be a one and done as the team’s starter is crazy. Cleveland traded back into the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft to snag Weeden, and that immediately placed some serious expectations on his shoulders.
Unlike most incoming rookies, Weeden didn’t have time to sit and learn the game at the age of 28. Now ready to turn 30 midway through the 2013 campaign, the new regime in charge may already be turning the page on the Weeden era.
Plenty of competition was brought in to push Weeden this offseason in the form of veterans Brian Hoyer and once upon a time first rounder in his own right Jason Campbell. This figures to be a fierce battle in training camp between these three players, and with the new coaching staff having zero ties to any of them it wouldn’t be out of the question for Weeden to draw the short straw come Week 1. New offensive coordinator Norv Turner will have some complex schemes for these three guys to digest, and whoever shows the most potential will likely earn the starting gig.
Although his numbers weren’t horrible with 14 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, and five fumbles last season, Weeden must protect the ball better to earn the trust of the new coaching staff in Cleveland. A team that struggles to win on a weekly basis like the Browns must cherish every possession and not give extra opportunities to their opponents. If he can show improvement in this area during camp and through the preseason, Weeden may still have a shot to start in 2013.
As a member of the rookie QB class that featured Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, and Russell Wilson, Weeden has a mountain of expectations to live up to. It seems unfair to say that the 2013 campaign will be a make-or-break one for last year’s rookie, but I guess the NFL could be renamed the “No Fair League” on occasion.