Every NFL team wants to have that one guy they can depend on week in and week out at the quarterback position. This solid individual would be labeled as the team’s “franchise quarterback.” Currently, not every team in the NFL has found this type of player yet, but some do believe that they indeed have found a good candidate to carry the title.
The Cleveland Browns have struggled in recent years, most recently landing in the fourth and final position in the AFC North. The bright spot that the Browns are believed to have is their quarterback Brandon Weeden.
Weeden is said to have no competition for the starting position per media reporters at open practice. It seems that the Browns are looking to the future with Weeden and will rely on him heavily. Could Weeden actually be the quarterback for the Browns for years to come?
It’s doubtful. Certain traits are required from a player to become a team’s franchise quarterback. They need to be consistent, have natural born talent, show an unmatched level of leadership and have a vast knowledge of the game.
Beginning with consistency, Weeden was far from it in his rookie season. He surpassed 300 yards passing in only three games while recording less than 200 yards in five games. He frantically throws the ball around the field, completing only 57.4 percent of his total pass attempts. He had a tough time getting on the same page as his receivers, and his stats show it.
Check the box labeled, “no” in consistency.
Clearly, Weeden has natural born talent if he made it to the NFL. Now that he’s here, however, the platform on which his level of talent is judged has drastically changed. Every player around him has been given the talent of playing football that is far more superior to others. By judging Weeden’s talent ranking on this level, he falls short of many other players at his position.
Weedens touchdown-to-interception ratio surely doesn’t dictate a franchise quarterback. He managed to find the end zone only 14 times as opposed to throwing the ball to players not sporting a Browns jersey 17 times. He closed the book on his first season with a 72.6 rating, placing him in the 29th spot out of 32 quarterbacks who had at least 14 attempts per their team’s games played.
Again, check “no” for NFL-level natural born talent.
As far as leadership goes, a franchise player would try and pick his team up when they’re down, and not be more concerned about his individual stats. This may be hard to tell after only one season from Weeden, but he really hasn’t shown much leadership when on the field.
Granted, his leadership capabilities could change with time, but for now, check “no”.
In the knowledge of the game category, owners are looking towards whether or not the quarterback is aware of what is going on the field at all times. This could include knowing if his players are lined up right, what routes they will be running or observing a blitz from the defense coming and calling an audible.
Decision-making is also factored into this. If he’s continuously throwing the ball into triple coverage, he’s not your franchise quarterback. With the 17 interceptions Weeden has thrown, he clearly doesn’t possess the necessary decision skills needed. His pedal-to-the-metal throwing attitude and his constant locking onto his first read is far from what anyone would look for in labeling Weeden as the Browns’ franchise quarterback.
In the final box, yet again check the “no” option.
Weeden does not hold any of the key traits one would look for in a franchise quarterback. He has a long way to go in his young NFL career if he hopes to one day earn the label as such.