Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Browns: 'Premature' to name starting QB

By Jamison Hensley

Browns coach Rob Chudzinski is playing it smart by not committing to quarterback Brandon Weeden right away. It was certainly no surprise when Chudzinski said Wednesday that it was "premature" to say whether Weeden would be the starting quarterback in 2013.

It would be another matter if Chudzinski was the coach when the Browns drafted Weeden. But all of the people who made the decision to pick Weeden in the first round last April are gone.

The other factor is Weeden didn't convince anyone that he could be a franchise quarterback last year as a rookie. He wasn't a bust, but he didn't live up to expectations. Weeden finished with 17 interceptions, tied for fifth-worst in the NFL, and threw 14 touchdown passes, the fewest among quarterbacks with at least 485 pass attempts. His 26.6 Total QBR was second-worst in the NFL (only better than Mark Sanchez).

There's no reason for Chudzinski to deliver a vote of confidence when Weeden hasn't earned it. The Browns are going to have options at quarterback this offseason. They could sign Alex Smith in free agency or trade for Ryan Mallett. OK, I only said there were options. I never said the options were great.

At the very least, Weeden is going to have to win the starting job with this new regime. And that's fair.

Like everyone in the Browns organization who has spoken to the media this offseason, offensive coordinator Norv Turner was reluctant to give a thorough evaluation of Weeden because he hasn't had a chance to study him on film yet.

"I think he has the skill set we're looking for," Turner said. "He certainly has a big arm."

Turner's offense is based on deep downfield passing, which gives Weeden an edge over backup Colt McCoy. And Turner isn't afraid to develop quarterbacks.

"A lot of guys have had their best season when I was coaching them," said Turner, who is also the team's quarterbacks coach.