Let’s start with the good: in no way, shape, or form will Brandon Weeden be associated with the Cleveland Browns this year. Not as an emergency starter, not as a foe; hell, he won’t even enter the state of Ohio for football purposes. These are all Really, Really Good Things.
I can’t remember being as angry at a current Cleveland athlete as Brandon Weeden. For all the terrible quarterbacks the Browns have had, most should have never really succeeded to begin with. Some, like Tim Couch and Jeff Garcia, were talented players given a roll of duct tape, a penknife and a Kevin Johnson and told to somehow score points in the NFL. Players like Bruce Gradkowski were emergency options who were acquired on the cheap and never had given us any false hope to think they’d be good. Still others like Colt McCoy and Charlie Frye were a combination of the two: they had some semblance of talent, but weren’t great, and certainly not good enough to carry sub-par teams on their shoulders.
But Weeden? Oh, Weeden. Made the oldest first-round draft pick by self-proclaimed (and now unemployed) quarterback guru Mike Holmgren, Weeden was given the keys to the most talented Browns roster since expansion. Unlike other Browns QB flops, he had (supposed) ability and plenty of weapons around him…particularly last season.
And what did he do? Stared down his primary receivers until they felt violated. Sat in the pocket for so long that even All Pro left tackle Joe Thomas couldn’t keep him off of the ground. And when neither of those were viable options, he just looked like a complete and utter moron:
We all remember where we were for major moments in our life; 9/11, the birth of a new family member, etc. I remember vividly where I was when that interception occurred, and I’m shocked that I still converse with any of the individuals associated with that horrific ten seconds. If I had a time machine and could undo anything in history, that interception would be embarrassingly high on the list.
He is the quarterback that New Jersey-born Dallas Cowboys fans deserve. These meatheads have been graced with a top-10 quarterback for the past five years and yet can’t stop complaining about how much he sucks. So much as he seems like a good guy, I am praying for Tony Romo to get hurt, Weeden to enter the game, and somehow undo thirty Dallas wins with a single ill-advised throw.
So: we’re done with that! I’m glad it took the organization three years to rid itself of a quarterback that any average fan knew should be cut after his second preseason game.
Now, on its 19th regime of the past three years, the franchise will attempt to waste an historically good offensive line, solid running back corps and possibly great defense by playing Who Cares and Screw It at wide receiver. Knowing that stud wideout Josh Gordon, responsible for more yards from scrimmage than all but four players last year, was suspended, the front office didn’t draft a single wide receiver.
This is what happens when someone thinks they’re the smartest guy in the room. They abandon conventional wisdom, and with it, common freaking sense, because they know better. Guys: it didn’t work for Woodrow Wilson so it’s sure as heck not going to work for you.
Thus, the winner of the quarterback competition, Brian Hoyer, is given the keys to a Rolls Royce with two flat tires. Backing him up is Johnny Manziel, who attracts my ire for three reasons. First, at his draft slot the Browns could have taken a legitimate pocket passer in Teddy Bridgewater, or, I dunno, a wide receiver who can run and catch at the same time. Second, the guy probably can’t play QB in the NFL; his gameplan of “escape the pocket, run around four hapless defenders and then find a Mike Evans” depends on hapless defenders and a Mike Evans that don’t exist in Cleveland.
Finally, this guy has somehow made me side with curmudgeon sportswriters and against a frat bro, which truly pains me. At first the headlines seemed fine: Johnny goes to a bar, Johnny has fun with celebs. All OK things to do! But then this. And more partying. And whining when a Redskins defender made fun of him in a preseason game. And, most importantly, not having any remote clue as to how the Browns offense operates. Manziel has made himself impossible to like.
So for the third time in recent memory, the Browns will ruin a surprisingly good team through their stubbornness. The o-line isn’t getting any younger, the defense has a lot of players who are going to require extensions, and the division probably won’t be this bad again for several years. The opportunity to win is now, but no one in the front office seems to care. Meanwhile, the lack of receivers means that, even for development purposes, we really won’t have a great idea of what we have in Hoyer or Manziel this year.
Johnny Football may not mind this headline, but fans will: 2014 promises to be a wasted year for the Browns.
Prediction: 7-9, 3rd in AFC North