I know what you’re thinking, Brandon Weeden a starting NFL quarterback? Have you seen this guy play? Yes, I have watched just about every snap he has taken in the NFL (excluding preseason). Does he need some work? Absolutely, however Weeden has the size, arm strength, and football IQ that scouts and NFL coaches drool over. Weeden in 2011 completed 72.3% of his passes at Oklahoma State, which is an amazing statistic at any level of football. I know Weeden has some flaws, his age, his tendency to stare down receivers, his pitiful footwork, the fact he can’t throw a pass less than 90 miles-per-hour, his almost nonexistent pocket presence, his propensity for hanging his receivers out to dry, his inability to recognize the blitz, and the fact that he is a soulless ginger. Ok, you’ve caught me Brandon Weeden isn’t a starting NFL quarterback; he isn’t even a serviceable backup in this league or any other professional football league. For me Brandon Weeden is the 2nd most infuriating player the Browns have employed since they have been back. He lost that title to the previous owner of the number 3 on the Browns Derek Anderson. Even mentioning Derek Andersons name makes my blood pressure rise about 30 points, so I’ll save that rant for another day.
A considerably more interesting topic than talking about Ginger Spice’s inability to play quarterback is why Jimmy Haslam’s firing of Banner, Chudzinski, and Lombardi this season was the right move. Out of all three firings the only one that I really actually sat back and questioned was Chud’s. I don’t think he was given a fair shake, one year for any head coach in any sport is just not enough to implement a system, bring in your own players and let them grow under that system.
Banner does have the credentials that you would want in a CEO of an NFL franchise 10 winning seasons, 145 wins over 16 years, 5 conference championship appearances, and 1 Super Bowl appearance. What’s not to like? Everything I have heard about Banner is that he is a crotchety old man and rubbed a lot of people the wrong way in the NFL and probably was why he was ultimately fired. Lombardi I’m not even sure he was even involved in any of the team decisions because for whatever reason as a GM of an NFL franchise he wasn’t allowed to talk to the media, so as a fan he might as well not even been a part of the team. Lombardi was a Banner hire and after a while they were butting heads and when Banner wanted to fire Lombardi, Haslam had apparently had enough and told him to pack his desk up along with Lombardi.
Jimmy Haslam is a new owner we all know that and you probably heard his comments about there not being manual for being and NFL owner, well duh. I doubt Jerry Jones is writing an “Own a NFL franchise for dummies” book any time soon, although he probably should because that would be a pretty interesting read. Reason I bring this up is that it takes massive huevos; I mean huevos with their own planetary gravitational pull to be able to make a move like that after only one year. Think about it, new owner comes in cocky, says he wants continuity in the front office and coaching staff, then barely a year later fires everyone that he brought in! He took a lot of flak for that, rightfully so and under normal circumstances if the Browns fans weren’t already numb to all of this nonsense he would have gotten a lot more than he did, so he probably got off easy.
I think when Haslam came in he was easily persuaded because he was just a football fan with a Scrooge McDuck sized vault of money, so it didn’t take much to talk him into hiring someone who has a lot of credentials like Banner. My take is that Haslam saw how Banner and Lombardi operated and after a year, realized he had made a huge mistake that would set the Browns back another 5-10 years again if he didn’t act soon. And he probably realized maybe Banner was successful because of Andy Reid being a genius and not because Banner was some kind of football guru.
We could talk about this for hours about why this is might be a dumb move, but I would just rather talk about the future because as a lifelong Browns fan that is all we have, next year, right? Hey that is why I have a vanity license plate “NXT YEAR”.
Anyways, so Haslam decided to take his lumps now and cut out the dead meat and start fresh with a new head coach Mike Pettine. And a new young executive, who is articulate, up and coming, well-respected throughout the NFL, General Manager Ray Farmer. Pettine seems like he has potential (I hate that word as a Browns fan) he is another coordinator that makes the jump to head coach. The new Browns have been there done that and back again, a few times. So the jury is still out and there is a ton of work to do so hopefully he is finally the guy to take us to competition land because we haven’t been there in a while.
The Browns have their work cut out for them but luckily the cupboards are not bare, with Gordon, Cameron, Thomas, Mack (hopefully), Ward (hopefully), and Haden they have a great base to start with. The key as it is with every NFL team is Quarterback so hopefully that question is answered this year whether it is Hoyer, Manziel, Bridewater, or Bortles, I don’t care just let it be somebody, anybody! I’m tired of being a jaded Browns fan and want something that is watchable at the very least. So Jimmy I hope you are right.