By Jeff Phelps - Cleveland's Talking HeadsBy Jeff Phelps | 92.3 The Fan

On the CBS pregame show, Dan Marino ranked Brandon Weeden as the 6th best first or second year quarterback in the NFL. He’s rated behind (in order) Ryan Tannehill, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton , Andrew Luck and the number one guy, Robert Griffin III. I’d say the ranking is just about right. Weeden will have to make some big moves to jump ahead of Tannehill and Dalton, and some very big moves to join the company of Marino’s top three. Unlikely to happen, but you never know.

Weeden was rated ahead of Christian Ponder, Russell Wilson, Jake Locker and Blaine Gabbert.

1st Quarter

I must admit, I’ve always liked the San Diego Chargers. It goes all he way back to John Hadl and Lance Alworth, continued through Don Coryell, Dan Fouts, Chuck Muncie, Charlie Joiner, Kellen Winslow, and Wes Chandler, then the LaDanian Tomlinson teams, and now Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates and Ryan Mathews. And, the Charger powder blue throwback uniforms, that they should ring back full-time, are the best uniforms in NFL history.

A windy, rainy day at the stadium, and way too many empty seats. We have a great fan base in Cleveland, but the blind enthusiasm for Browns football has ended. Jimmy Haslam, Joe Banner, and whoever they have in place next year as general manager and head coach, have a lot of work to do, both on the field and off.

Chargers go for it on 4th down — Browns defense holds. Browns go for it on 4th down (what a difference a week makes) – and get the first down. Offense looks efficient. Amazing how good play calling looks when players execute what’s called.

Trent Richardson scores on a great run, with balancing help from Shawn Lauvao. Richardson said earlier in the week that he hasn’t been 100% all season. That gets me excited about his future. If the Browns offensive line can become a better run blocking unit, and Richardson can get to 100%, look out. 7-0 Browns.

2nd Quarter

The more I watch Billy Wynn on the defensive line, the more I like his play. Looks rugged, quick and nasty. And all that out of a 6th round pick. I hope that Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner think long and hard before they make a change at general manager. I think Tom Heckert has done a nice job of bringing young talent to this Browns roster. He hasn’t been perfect, but he’s been very good. I’d like to see him stay.

Still waiting to see Brandon Weeden become the type of quarterback who can control the game – but there aren’t a lot of those in the league. That said, not even halfway through his first season, he’s always composed, and rarely looks overmatched. I like him, and that’s coming from a guy who didn’t think he’d be a god fit for what the Browns are trying to do — rebuild around youth. I now believe he’s more than capable of leading the team to success for a long enough period of time to justify the Browns making Weeden the oldest first round draft choice – ever.

Saw an update on the Steelers-Redskins game. The Steelers are wearing throwback uniforms from 1934 – tan pants, black and yellow striped jerseys, with black numbers in white boxes. Convicts, bumblebees, low-budget rugby team – you make the call. All I know is that these unies are so awful, I absolutely love them! They’re awesome!

Note to Jimmy Haslam: if you’re going to change the Browns uniforms, go for it. Don’t by shy. Just go for it. Browns fans will bitch for a while, and when the team starts winning, they’ll be the best selling unies in the NFL.

Bad weather, bad offenses. This game is boring the snot out of me. Although the Browns defense is doing a nice job against a Charger offense that has struggled this year. Chargers get a late field goal for a 7-3 Browns lead at halftime.

3rd Quarter

Browns offense is wetter than the weather. On a 3rd down early in the quarter, Greg Little drops a great pass from Weeden. Would have been a first down. When Little is good, he’s very, very good. But when he’s bad, he’s horrid. Isn’t that the way that old poem goes, or something like that? Well, it fits Little.

So I’m watching this snoozer, trying to figure out if both of these offenses are this bad, or if both of these defenses are this good, or if the weather has just zapped everything. My thought is the weather is the most likely option, followed closely by awful offenses.

Thank you Robert Meachem. 9:00 left in the 3rd quarter, Meachem is very open in the middle of the field, 20 yards from the end zone. And he does his best Greg Little impression. Looked like a 51-yard touchdown. Instead the Browns get the ball back. Thanks gain Robert. Stays 7-3.

3rd and 1. Richardson gets the ball. Goes right, cut backs left, loses a yard. Excuse me while I go lose my lunch. I’ll be right back.

Seriously, with the #3 pick in the draft, and three first round draft choices on the line blocking for the #3 pick, a yard shouldn’t be that much of a challenge, should it?

Chargers run an end-around to Meachem that goes nowhere, thanks to Jabal Sheard. Browns tried something tricky late in the first half. It didn’t work either. When the tricky stuff works, yippee! Coach looks like a creative, courageous genius. When it doesn’t, coach and his offense look like complete dweebs. And you don’t want to look like a dweeb. Chargers get a field goal. Browns still up, now 7-6.

Weeden just threw a ball into the arms of a defensive end. Shocker. As CBS analyst Rich Gannon points out, we’re seeing a lot of that around the NFL these days. As a Clevelander, I’m just glad we’re contributing our fair share. And then some.

Josh Gordon just picked up 26 yards on a simple, yet very effective play. I really think Gordon has the chance to be a big time receiver — pro bowl type of guy year after year. But that #13 on his uniform? Not crazy about it. Other than Don Maynard, name a great wide receiver who wore #13? Exactly.

4th Quarter

Browns start the 4th quarter by punting on their 37th consecutive possession.

Rich Gannon just said that Pat Shurmur told the CBS guys that the Browns coaches “live each day with their feet on the cliff.” Glad to hear they’re handling the new ownership situation so well. No pressure there, huh fellas?

I keep wondering if the Browns end up winning say, half of their remaining games, if Shurmur has a chance to keep his job. On “Baskin & Phelps” this week, CBS analyst Boomer Esiason told us that Shurmur is a very good young coach, and folks around the NFL know it. Interesting. Wonder if Jimmy and Joe know it?

Josh Cribbs has had a rough day deciding whether or not to pick up punts. Just let another one drop, and it stopped inside the five. Oops.

CBS graphic – Browns have actually punted on eight straight possessions, not 37. My bad.

With about 5:00 left, Trent Richardson picks up 13 yards. This is the idea. Hang on to the lead by giving the ball to your main man, letting him pick up first downs while killing the clock. Sure hope it’s a sign of what could be.

3rd and 6, under 3:00, Weeden wants to throw, everyone covered, Weeden slides for a loss. Don’t blame the play call. Credit the defense, scream at the offense for not executing, but don’t blame the play call. Another punt, 9th of the game for Reggie Hodges.

1:24 left, Chargers with a 4th and 10, and the y don’t get it. Browns defense holds, and the Browns get their second win of the year, 7-6.
Sure the weather was ugly. But the Browns defense kept the Chargers out of the end zone. That’s a good effort, period.

Weeden’s number weren’t good. OK, they were every bit as lousy as the weather – 11 of 27, 129 yards, no touchdowns. But he also didn’t have an interception. On a day when the weather is ugly, and so is the passing game, you need your starting running back to do the job, and Trent Richardson did – 24 carries for a career high 122 yards, and the only touchdown of the game.

The Browns have played much better football this year without getting a win. So what if the offense was awful today. The defense wasn’t, and the Browns didn’t lose. Just enjoy it and move off the edge of the cliff, Pat Shurmur. At least for a week.


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