Cleveland Browns: Brandon Weeden Shouldn't Look over His Shoulder
Jason Campbell was brought in to serve as a backup to the second-year signal-caller, but Weeden is familiar with the team and the players he will be surrounded by. Should Weeden fail, Campbell will be ready to go.
Though he threw more interceptions than touchdown passes as a rookie in 2012, Weeden did set a new franchise record for passing yards by a first-year player with 3,385 yards. The key in 2013 will be the weapons the team has brought in.
Wide receiver Josh Gordon will be suspended for the first two games (ESPN) of the year due to a violation of the league's substance abuse policy, but Weeden will have other players to throw the ball to.
For starters, Weeden has a new offensive coordinator this season as Norv Turner has come in to replace Brad Childress. Turner has helped the quarterback play of guys like Troy Aikman, Jay Fiedler and even Alex Smith during his long NFL career.
Greg Little doubled the output from his rookie season with four scores last year. In addition, the team brought in veteran receivers David Nelson and Davone Bess. Between them, Nelson and Bess have combined for 415 career receptions. Each player will add a new dimension to the Browns' offense.
Bess is a sure-handed possession receiver who is great at moving the chains. Last season with the Miami Dolphins, 62 percent of his catches went for a first down. At 6'5", 215 pounds, Nelson will give Weeden a big target out of the slot formation.
Jordan Cameron should get plenty of looks at the tight end position and could become a security blanket of sorts for Weeden. The Browns are ready to see what the third-year player out of USC is capable of doing now that Ben Watson is no longer around.
However, the player that can help Weeden out the most is Trent Richardson. As a rookie in 2012, Richardson had a very good year, running for 950 yards. He was just as reliable as a receiver, catching 51 passes out of the backfield, good for second on the team.
Weeden will be best-served to get the ball into the hands of No. 33 as often as possible. With a run-first approach and an offense that finds ways to get Richardson open in space, Weeden will be a huge beneficiary and Campbell will be left to carry a clipboard.
Whether or not Weeden is the long-term quarterback for the Cleveland Browns remains to be seen, but he certainly shouldn't have to worry about Campbell taking the job. Campbell can be a serviceable backup, but only if Weeden falters.
If head coach Rob Chudzinski and his staff haven't done so already, they need to let Weeden know that the job is his and that training camp will be used for him to get as comfortable with the new offense as possible.
ESPN's Ron Jaworski has no trouble believing in Weeden being big for the Browns this season. The fact is, he has the players around him and the ability to make big plays. Browns fans should be very optimistic about what this season could bring.
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