Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Browns continue tough love with Weeden
By Jamison Hensley
Cleveland Browns coach Rob Chudzinski made it clear that he isn't ready to name a starting quarterback just yet, describing the competition between Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell as "close."
Do I understand why he said it? Yes. Do I believe him? Definitely not.
Weeden has taken every single snap with the first-team offense in training camp. He showed progress in the Browns' new offensive system in the preseason opener, when he completed 10 of 13 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown.
It kind of reminds me of the duck test. If Weeden looks like a starting quarterback and plays like a starting quarterback, then he is probably the starting quarterback.
If I were in Chudzinski's situation, I wouldn't have named Weeden the undisputed starter just yet either. You don't want Weeden to rest on one good start, and you don't want Campbell to stop putting pressure on Weeden. There are still three and a half weeks until the Browns start the season, and Weeden hasn't earned anything so far.
What I don't agree with is Chudzinski calling the quarterback battle "close." I'm sure even Campbell doesn't believe it. This comes across as a silly mind game. Chudzinski should have just stuck with his opening answer: "There's a point where I will name a starting quarterback. I am not ready to do it yet."
When asked how he could describe the competition as close when Weeden has worked exclusively with the starters, Chudzinski said, "There's still three preseason games left so there's still a lot of work to be done, and we've still got plenty of practice time as well. Every day is an evaluation and they've each done well and shown good things along the way."
Continuing to challenge him in this manner is another example of the Browns' tough love with Weeden. This new regime didn't draft Weeden with the No. 22 overall pick in the 2012 draft, and this new regime probably wouldn't have used that pick on him if Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi were calling the shots a year ago.
But Weeden is seen as a good fit in Chudzinski and Norv Turner's offense because of his strong arm. Many feel Weeden has 16 games this season to convince the Browns' decision-makers that he can be the team's franchise quarterback. Based on Chudzinski's comments Tuesday, it will take a while for Weeden to find out where he stands.