Browns should put pressure on Weeden

May, 22, 2012
5/22/12
9:15
AM ET
General manager Tom Heckert clarified the Browns' quarterback competition Monday night, saying the team drafted Brandon Weeden with the intention of him starting as a rookie.

"The best guy is going to play and we fully expect Brandon to be that guy," Heckert said. "That's our goal is to have him be the guy. I think when we say, open competition, the best guy's going to play, that's just the way it is. But we drafted Brandon Weeden to be that guy. [You] draft a guy 22nd in the draft, you think he's going to be that guy."

This is what the Browns should have been saying all along. Team officials have been trying to present this as an open quarterback competition when it's clearly not.

The Browns should say they expect Weeden should be the starter. If Weeden is going to succeed in this division, he's going to have to get used to feeling pressure. He's going to have to battle more than expectations when he sees the defenses of the Steelers, Ravens and Bengals twice every season.

The Colts and Redskins have already given the starting jobs to Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. The Browns have been reluctant to do the same, and I understand the merits of wanting a quarterback to earn the starting job.

But the team isn't fooling anyone. Even if the Browns aren't saying it, the expectation of every Browns Backer is that Weeden will start and should start. The Browns already put that pressure on Weeden when they decided to draft him in the first round and not wait until the second. His arm strength, accuracy and size puts him ahead of Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace.

It doesn't matter if McCoy is the quarterback who takes the first snaps today when organized team activities begin. By the end of the preseason, this should be Weeden's offense unless he can't handle the pressure. But it's better to find out if Weeden can handle the pressure now than on Sept. 9 against the Eagles.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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