Reporting Daryl Ruiter
They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
If so, then starting Brandon Weeden and expecting to win might be the truest definition of insanity there is.
If the Cleveland Browns are really trying to win football games this season, then they need to make a change and bench Weeden because the offense is inept, anemic and downright unwatchable with him on the field.
Sunday’s 31-13 loss at Green Bay was the last straw or icing on the cake.
Weeden went 17 for 42 for 149 yards, a touchdown, an interception and a quarterback rating of 48.6.
His counterpart Aaron Rodgers was 25 of 36 for 260 yards, 3 touchdowns and a 117.8 rating – and that was minus 2 starting receivers.
Rodgers is elite while Weeden didn’t look like he belonged on the same field and watching him on Sunday’s is like groundhog day.
Continuing to play Weeden only serves 2 purposes for the front office – to prove to everyone that they need to find a quarterback next May and to improve their position to do it by piling up losses.
There is nothing else to be learned about Weeden as a quarterback. He doesn’t possess the natural instinct to read the field or ability to handle adversity or deal with the pressure that comes with the position on Sunday’s.
In 2 weeks with Weeden returning to the helm since Brian Hoyer went down with a torn ACL, the Browns went from 3-2 and on the cusp of contention to 3-4 and staring at a very long 10 weeks and 9 games left on the schedule because they can’t score.
The Browns have scored 10, 6, 17, and 13 points in Weeden’s 4 starts this season – all losses. He’s now 5-14 overall as a starter. In an offensive oriented league, a scoring average of less than 20 simply does not cut it.
While the offensive problems are not all Weeden’s fault – see dropped passes, bad routes and no running game – it still starts with him.
He continues to miss open receivers, to not see them, have miscommunications with them on routes, stare them down or hold the ball so long that he gets sacked or does something regrettable with the football – like another underhanded flip.
Hoyer, who took very few snaps as the third-string quarterback during the offseason, training camp and regular season prior to Weeden’s sprained right thumb, was able to step in and win 2 games.
While Hoyer watched, Weeden took all of those first-team snaps and he has little chemistry with anyone on the field to show for it.
Hoyer electrified the offense and gave it a spark. He put 24 points on the board in the first half against the Vikings – 8 points better than the first 8 quarters of the season with Weeden combined.
That’s why head coach Rob Chudzinski stuck with Hoyer as the starter against Buffalo after Weeden was cleared to return – Hoyer gave them a better chance to win.
So why can’t Jason Campbell? He can’t possibly be any worse to watch than Weeden.
Hoyer was far from perfect. He threw 3 interceptions in his first start at Minnesota.
But he pulled it together and led a game-winning drive that included a beautiful over the shoulder throw to tight end Jordan Cameron with less than a minute to play for the victory.
In 20 games, Weeden has shown minimal flashes of having that innate ability to pull it together and lead a game-saving, let alone game-winning drive.
That “it” factor that great quarterbacks possess – or as the Browns war room wall stipulates: “a Championship Level QB” would have – is lacking.
Weeden makes plays to seal losses, not victories.
Sunday he had a 1.7 passer rating after 1 quarter. It was every bit as bad as that number indicates. A roughing the kicker penalty on a punt spared him back to back three-and-outs to start the game. He cashed that opportunity in by throwing an interception on 4th and 1 that Green Bay turned into a touchdown drive.
Campbell has started 71 games in his career and has completed nearly 61 percent of his passes with 76 touchdowns, 52 interceptions and a rating of 82.4 – all superior numbers to anything Weeden has put up.
Unfortunately after 5 years in the minor leagues, baseball didn’t work out for Weeden.
It appears after 20 games in the NFL that football won’t either.
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