Browns' QB situation 'not easy (or) ideal'

November, 27, 2013
11/27/13
3:27
PM ET
Brandon Weeden was back in the interview circle today, explaining again how he tunes out criticism, he’s still confident and he doesn’t listen to external noise.

“I don’t need 5-year-old kids telling me how to play the quarterback position,” Weeden said after being named the starter for Sunday’s game against Jacksonville.

That statement referred to getting off Twitter “and all that junk.” It’s not known if any 5-year-olds are on Twitter, but the point is clear: Weeden is trying not to listen to what people are saying about him.

Problem is once he steps on the field he can’t help but hear it, because he’s been greeted -- at home -- by loud and pointed booing.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Weeden
Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY SportsBrandon Weeden will get another chance to start at quarterback for the Browns.
Weeden has become the lightning rod for fan frustration of the past 14 years.

He is the guy who didn’t expect to be a first-round draft pick but was taken there anyway, the guy who played fairly well as a rookie the first half of the season, but a guy who has regressed since.

He’s lost his job once to injury and once to performance.

Sunday, for the third time this season, he gets another chance.

It’s hard not to think it won’t be like the first two times. Even Weeden seemed to imply he understands his ship is about to leave the Cleveland port.

“I’m a Cleveland Brown,” he said. “I think for the next five weeks, I’m a Cleveland Brown. After that, whatever happens is out of my control. I’m excited. This is one of the best teams I’ve ever been on as far as just the group of guys in this locker room, the atmosphere we have going on, the friendships we have and the camaraderie. It’s great. I’m going to enjoy every minute of it as long as I’m here, and then if they tell me to beat it, then we’ll see.”

Fan frustration comes because of performance. The Browns are 0-4 in his starts, and he ranks 34th in the league in yards per attempt, 33rd in passer rating, 31st in yards per game and 34th in completion percentage -- a woeful 51.5 percent.

The Browns figure to have Weeden and newly acquired Alex Tanney (off Dallas’ practice squad) available on Sunday while Jason Campbell recovers from a concussion.

Which means the Browns have a guy who’s barely completed more than 50 percent and a guy who hasn’t been with the team until today.

The silver lining is the opponent -- Jacksonville is giving up 29.5 points per game, 30th in the league.

Which also makes the consequence of a third straight loss that much more significant.

If Weeden can’t beat the Jaguars, what’s happened to this point will seem like a trip to the zoo.

The switch from Campbell to Weeden is the fourth time this season the Browns have switched starting quarterbacks. They started with Weeden, went to Brian Hoyer, went back to Weeden, went to Jason Campbell and now out of necessity are going to Weeden.

If Tanney ever starts a game -- and the way this season is going, why wouldn’t he? -- the Browns will match the four they used in 2008, another dismal season that ended with Ken Dorsey and Bruce Gradkowski under center.

“It’s not easy,” coach Rob Chudzinski said. “And it’s not ideal. But it is what it is right now.”

That the Browns have four wins with all this quarterback shuffle going on is downright amazing. But that they go into a game with a starter whom few seem to have confidence in is concerning.

This may be the first time fans hopes for a guy signed on Tuesday are higher than they are for a former first-round draft pick.

Pat McManamon

ESPN Cleveland Browns reporter

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