Wednesday, October 23, 2013
QB Watch: Browns' Brandon Weeden
By Pat McManamon
A weekly analysis of the Browns’ quarterback play.
Rewind: Brandon Weeden earned extra scrutiny of his play after his poor performance in Green Bay. Weeden's 17-of-42 day was as bad as it sounds; no NFL quarterback can survive completing 40.4 percent against a team missing three of its four starting linebackers. Weeden was wild high, indecisive and slow to get rid of the ball. He also averaged a pitifully low 3.5 yards per attempt.
Fast-forward: Weeden has been sacked 21 times, as many as Ben Roethlisberger and five fewer than Ryan Tannehill. But Weeden has played in five games compared to six for the other two. Weeden's reward: He gets to face the best pass-rush team in the league. The Chiefs use power inside and speed outside and have 35 sacks in seven games. The past two weeks have been tough, as Weeden has faced Ndamukong Suh and then the Packers. As good as those two teams are, the Chiefs are better at rushing the passer.
Short leash: Coach Rob Chudzinski did not give his full backing to Weeden on Monday. The day after the loss to Detroit, Chudzinski didn't hesitate to say Weeden would start in Green Bay. The day after Green Bay, Chudzinski said he'd have to evaluate. The Browns' problem is there is no magical solution. Another quarterback is not going to drop into their laps the way Brian Hoyer did. If Weeden struggles, the Browns could turn to Jason Campbell. But after passing over Campbell three times, it's tough to see what he could provide or why they'd believe he could be any better. This is a rather classic quarterback quandary.
Prediction: Five sacks minimum. The Chiefs are too good and too fast on defense for a stone-footed quarterback to avoid sacks. That doesn't mean Weeden can't make plays, but to expect a lot from a guy struggling with performance and confidence against this defense is expecting too much. Weeden will be fortunate if he's still in the game in the third quarter. If he is, he'll be fortunate to top 200 yard and avoid two interceptions.