Despite Pat Shurmur saying it was a competition with Colt McCoy, it was ended quickly by Brandon Weeden’s performance in camp. When I watched the first padded practice for the Browns, it was easy to see that Brandon Weeden's physical ability gives the Browns the best chance to win.
His arm stands out as the strongest and most accurate of the quarterbacks on the Browns roster. He can reach any part of the field with his arm. The ability to make all the throws has shown up in camp with his deep accuracy on the long ball and his touch on screen passes to Trent Richardson.
The skills he has displayed should allow offensive coordinator Brad Childress the ability to use the entire playbook.
Weeden has also displayed the ability to handle the mental grind of learning the West Coast offense by coming back to the next practice and correcting previous mistakes.
The rookie’s ability to attack the entire field has also helped the defense get better by giving them a similar look to that of other AFC North quarterbacks. Weeden looks to throw deep to shallow, which is similar to what the Browns defense will see from Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger. His ability to get the ball anywhere on the field keeps the defense honest because every receiver is alive on the field no matter the route.
One of the learning curves for Weeden will be trusting his arm too much in certain situations.
In a seven-on-seven drill I witnessed in camp, Weeden threw a deep ball he thought would get there before the safety help came; he was wrong, and the route was jumped by Browns safety Eric Hagg. In this case, Weeden was trying to put the ball right on the receiver. If he would have led the receiver with the pass (which he has the arm to do), the pass doesn’t get intercepted.
He proved to be a quick learner, however, as I did not see another interception for the rest of practice.
The receivers have to get on their horses because Weeden’s ball is coming fast and deep. I saw on a few occasions where the ball hit the ground on a pass play because the receiver didn’t kick it into the extra gear to go get the pass. One receiver who will benefit from Weeden’s arm, however, is the speedster Travis Benjamin, who has the long speed to go get the deep ball.
It will be good for the entire team that Pat Shurmur named Weeden the Browns starter yesterday.
The coaching staff can focus on getting the team better by using Weeden’s skill set in the offense. The receivers can spend more time with Weeden to get the timing down and get used to the velocity of his passes.
It also gives Weeden four preseason games and more practice time with starters to get ready for the Philadelphia Eagles on September 9.