The Cleveland Browns are entering yet another season of trials and tribulations after adding nearly 15 new staff members to the organization over the past three weeks. These new personnel members are now focusing on evaluating what Cleveland has to offer on the current roster, and each player is going through an informal interview process for their jobs moving forward.
Brandon Weeden is one of the players on the Browns roster that should be concerned when his game film from last season is analyzed. Weeden lived up to his gunslinger reputation that came with him from Oklahoma State, making ill-advised passes into strong coverage and sometimes overthrowing receivers by as much as 10 yards.
Weeden threw a total of 17 interceptions throughout this past season and lost three fumbles. He also boasted a pedestrian completion percentage of 57.4 percent.
However, through all of these negative statistics, Weeden was still one of the best quarterbacks Cleveland has had since their return in 1999. Weeden’s 3385 passing yards ranked him 19th in the NFL and placed him ahead of well-known quarterbacks like Jay Cutler, Russell Wilson, and Robert Griffin III. In addition, Weeden’s yardage totals were second only to Derek Anderson’s Pro Bowl 2007 season, which still stands as the best statistical year for a Browns quarterback since their reinstatement.
It is also worthy to note that the talent surrounding Weeden was simply not sharp throughout the course of the 2012 season. Trent Richardson played the majority of the year recovering from knee surgery and broken ribs, while leading receiver Josh Gordon had to learn the offense after being out of football for nearly two seasons.
Cleveland’s addition of new coaches Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner will call for a quarterback who can stretch the field and make big plays. Weeden showed on multiple occasions throughout this past year that he has the arm strength to put the ball over opposing defenses and the accuracy should come over the course of building a relationship with his receivers.
Weeden’s decision making is one thing that drastically needs to improve if he is going to be able to have sustained success. While watching game film from this past season, there were many throws that simply should have never left his hand. There other throws that could not have been more perfectly placed.
Chudzinski and Turner’s offense will rely on big play ability while focusing on the run game. At this point, it does not look like there will be any quarterback available that would match Weeden’s ability and the fact that he will be familiar with the players on the offensive unit is something that cannot be replicated.
Mix in all of these thoughts and statistics with the fact that the Browns used a first-round pick on Weeden last season and it is clear that the team has invested too much in this quarterback to simply let him go after one year.
There are a number of quarterbacks that will likely be available throughout free agency and even more in the draft that the Browns can bring in to compete for the starting job. The Browns are not expected to name a starter until training camp in late July.
Brian Murtaugh is a former Cleveland Browns Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the founder of National Football Direct. This article is featured on both websites.