Why Brian Hoyer Should Be The Browns Starting QB Heading In To Camp Next Season


Many believe that the Browns will head in to next season with an open QB competition between Brian Hoyer, Jason Campbell, and whichever QB(s?) that they draft in this upcoming draft.  Many, myself among them, expect the Browns to release Brandon Weeden shortly after the season ends, and either put Alex Tanney on the practice squad or release him directly as well.  So, that leaves Hoyer and Campbell as the incumbents to duel it out, and you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think a Top 10 draft pick at QB isn’t going to have a real shot at starting immediately, regardless of what we all may want.
Now, that being said, I’ve been a vocal supporter of Jason Campbell’s from the second the Browns signed him.  I felt he should be given the starting job over Weeden immediately.  Though he’s had some bad breaks in his career, Jason Campbell has often been a very good quarterback on very bad teams, particularly with the Redskins, where he spent the majority of his career.  And, during his time with the Browns, he’s shown moments of great skill and dependability (vs the Chiefs and vs the Patriots both spring to mind).  Jason Campbell, despite what his critics may say, is a starting caliber quarterback, hands down.
That being said, I’m going to get on record early as saying that I think Hoyer should get the nod next year.  I just want to be clear that it’s not a snub to Campbell, my saying he should be the back up.  The difference in results is pretty clear.  The Browns were 3-0 in games Hoyer started, and are 1-9 in all other games with every other QB.  There is a reason for that that I think is deeper than the numbers indicate (Hoyer’s stat averages are similar to or behind Campbell in most categories).  Think back to those two full games Hoyer played, against Cincy and Minnesota.  The feeling of the entire team was different.  It was more urgent, more pressing, almost more desperate.  Not desperate in a bad way, desperate that in every series, offensive or defensive, the entire team felt like it was playing a two minute drill.  Whatever it was, the offense and defense both responded with vigor every time Hoyer was starting.  They played like there was something on the line.  While I like Jason Campbell a lot, his cool, calm demeanor seems to put the rest of the team too much at ease.  Hoyer was playing for his shot at a real opportunity to be a starter, he was playing against everyone who’s passed on him or cut him, and very much competing against the other QB’s on the roster as well as the other team on the field.  You could feel it, and the rest of the Browns clearly felt it.  The pushed.  They played with more intensity and more effort, and it translated in to wins.

A lot of Browns fans make the case for Tim Tebow by stating that he has some magical x-factor that translates to winning.  I would counter by arguing that we have that guy on our roster right now.  Brian Hoyer has something that, for whatever reason, urges the rest of the team to play well around him.  It could be his personal passion.  It could be the way he includes everyone in his offense.  To that point, while it has been a lot of fun to watch Josh Gordon explode these past 4 weeks, it hasn’t translated to wins.  When Hoyer was playing, everyone, including guys like Greg Little and Davone Bess, got involved in the offense.  They made plays.  Jordan Cameron made plays.  Travis Benjamin was making plays outside of returns.  Hoyer elevated them.

And, for whatever the reason, the defense played its best when Hoyer was running the offense.  Remember when he got hurt against the Bills?  I posted on our Facebook page to watch for the retaliation on E.J. Manuel.  I had a feeling that the defense was going to make a statement by putting Manuel in some serious pain.  A few series later, TJ Ward and Tashaun Gipson put him out of the game.  Not that I’m saying they were targeting, but rather, you could see them get angry and you just had to know they were going to start laying guys out.

So, basically, Hoyer gives the Browns the best shot to win, which is always how you should determine your starter.  Not because he’s some statistical giant, but because the Browns, for whatever reason, play better around him.  The offense, the defense, every series, they play like it matters when Hoyer is on the field or sidelines.  They trust him.  And, when it matters, they step up when he’s there.

Long live HoyerNation.

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Enough Is Enough. I Have Had It With This MotherF***in’ Weeden On My MotherF***in’ Browns.


Much like our friend Samuel L. Jackson up there, I too have reached my limit.  I have had enough, I’ve seen enough, and I’m ready to lose my cool.  I’m going to break it down for you, as calmly as I can.
The Browns have two active Quarterbacks currently on their roster, Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell.  Up to this point, the Browns have stood behind Weeden in spite of his complete and total failure as an NFL quarterback.  So, when people question my desire to see Weeden benched and eventually cut, I like to pull out the numbers.  If you don’t trust what your eyes are telling you (and your eyes should be seeing Weeden playing unquestionably terrible football, unless you’ve been watching the wrong games thus far), trust the numbers.  They will rarely mislead you.

Brandon Weeden’s Career Numbers:

CMP ATT CMP% YDS AVG TD LNG INT FUM QBR RAT
400 712 56.2 4,539 6.38 19 71 23 6 26.4 70.9

Jason Campbell’s Career Numbers:

CMP ATT CMP% YDS AVG TD LNG INT FUM QBR RAT
1,329 2,186 60.8 14,688 6.72 76 84 52 34 47.5 82.4

Considerably higher completion percentage.  Better average yard per throw.  Infinitely better TD-INT ratio.  Better QBR and Rating.  It’s not even close is the thing.  The other thing is that Campbell is 2 years older than Weeden, but has an extra 7 years of NFL experience.  When they’re on the field, Campbell looks like an NFL quarterback should look.  Weeden doesn’t look the part.  Weeden looks like someone who got asked to step in at quarterback for a day with no experience and no practice.

This face.

This face.

 

Shockingly not terrified.

Shockingly not terrified.

 

I hear ya, how does their face in the pocket matter?  Well, it does to the team.  The quarterback in the NFL has got to be a leader.  They have to be someone the team can look at when time gets tough and believe that the man staring back at them can hold it together, for themselves and the team.  Weeden has been exposed time and time again as a guy who’s just afraid.  Afraid to make throws, afraid to turn his head, afraid to move from the pocket.  The team knows this.  It’s why they need to ask him to trust them.  A receiver should not be asking a QB for trust, not in the way the team has been publicly calling on Weeden to hand the keys over to them.  

I get it.  I’ve been rough on Weeden.  I’ve called for him to be replaced here, and here, and called for him to be benched here, and then talked about why I hate him here, all over the course of about 10 months.  But, without me being too cocky, can we just all admit that I’ve been right all along?  Yes?  Good, now lets move forward together, in a NoWeeden Cleveland.  This team could compete, still, if they have a serviceable quarterback.  I don’t know with 100% certainty that that guy is Jason Campbell, but I do feel a lot better about his odds than I do Weeden’s.  At the end of the day, I’m just a Browns fan.  A Browns fan, who, like Samuel L. said, has HAD IT.  I have had enough of this motherf***in Weeden messing up what I feel could be a good team.  Its time to get the snakes off our plane.

Chud Says Team Will Discuss QB Change


Finally.  Finally finally finally.  In an interview today, Coach Rob Chudzinski finally would not affirm that Brandon Weeden is to be the teams starting quarterback on Sunday.  I’m not completely sold that Chud and Co. will sit Weeden just yet, but its good to know that there is finally at least talk of getting The Ginger to take a seat.

Rejoice, Browns fans.

Browns Morning Round Up – Thursday, October 17th


Cleveland Browns welcome the return of edge rusher Jabaal Sheard for Sunday’s game | cleveland.com.

Motivated by constant trade rumors, Browns WR Josh Gordon improves his worth by the game

Browns notebook: NFL fines Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh $31,500 for hitting quarterback Brandon Weeden – Browns – Ohio.

Browns rally around Brandon Weeden while the QB wears ear muffs to block out the negative noise

One Pound of Sadness: “We’re not going 13-3 next year”


“We’ve won 23 games in the last five years, won 14 games in the last three, so we’re not going to go 13-3 next year,” Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam said.

That one line out of his recent interview with the Cleveland media at the NFL League Meetings on Tuesday sent the wretched Cleveland Sports media into convulsions, and rubbed many a Browns fan the wrong way.  From my perspective though, I heard something a little different.  I heard a team owner in Cleveland finally being objective.  Finally, a guy who will tell you the cold, hard truth, regardless of if its what you want to hear or not.  Seriously, for how many years have the Lerners and Modell before them pumped up average-at-best, league-bottom-feeders-at-worst teams to be something they were not?  Don’t get me wrong, the pathetic media in Cleveland eats it up, and the fans are so desperate for something resembling a respectable football franchise that so do we.  It has never been based in reality however.  You need only to take a step back, look/listen/read the opinions of the national media on what our Cleveland Browns are/have been, and a very different image starts to form.

Our defense, with the signings we’ve made thus far, and the assumed picks early in the draft, has the POTENTIAL to be good.  By good, I mean top 1/3rd of the NFL.  That’s a realistic assumption, based on where they were last year, who they brought in, what those upgrades mean, and the guy leading the show (Ray Horton).

Ray HortonI trust this guy that much.

The offense, however, stands to be one of the very worst in professional football.  Brandon Weeden is a below average NFL Quarterback, and he’ll be over 30 this season, which is only his 2nd in the NFL.  Trent Richardson is a beast, but he’s injury prone and has no support from the passing game.  The offensive line is solid, but we didn’t fill those holes at Guard, which aren’t going to help overworked T-Rich one bit.  We have one exceptionally talented young receiver (Gordon), and one who the jury is still out on (Little).  We have zero viable tight ends.  We potentially have no fullback.  And ending where we began, we have an old, inexperienced waste of a 1st round pick at Quarterback.  The Browns will never, ever, ever be a winning football team until they can address the gaping hole at the most important position on the field (QB).

Brandon WeedenYup, this is your current franchise QB Cleveland.

Haslam/Banner/Chud are smart enough to realize that this is not the draft to find the future Quarterback of the Cleveland Browns.  Sure, there are some interesting prospects, but those usually fail here in Cleveland, and we need to wait until there is a “sure thing” type QB prospect, or at least something close.  Geno Smith, Ryan Nassib, even Matt Barkely are interesting prospects, but they aren’t sure things.  Andrew Luck was a sure thing.  RGIII was pretty close to a sure thing.  Now, don’t get me wrong, you can get lucky.  You can stumble upon a great quarterback.  But, the chances of finding a Tom Brady are a lot slimmer than waiting to find a Peyton Manning.  And much more based on chance.

So, knowing that we won’t have a terribly effective offense this season, Haslam and Co are doing the smart thing, hedging their bets and tempering expectations at home.  Its hard for Cleveland fans to hear, I know, but its the truth and its smart.  The Browns only spent about half of their massive cap room on free agents.  They haven’t traded away any draft picks.  They are holding themselves to being committed to building a team the right way, for the long haul.  You do that through the draft and through developing young talents.  Let teams like Miami try and buy wins, because I guarantee you that they don’t get far like that, and they mortgage their future on a couple extra wins for a couple years.  Its bad business, and its not how you run a franchise.

So no, Haslam didn’t tell you what you wanted to hear.  But he told the truth, and if you look past the headline, he said the right thing.  A few more parts of that interview that I found

“I wish we could have done on offense what we did on defense but you’ve got to spend your money selectively and smartly. A lot of it had to do with the players who were available. I’ve got high confidence we’re going to be a lot better on defense. I think Chud and Norv will do a great job with their offense. I’ll just continue to state this. You’ll get tired of hearing me say it. This is a process, and we’re in it for the long run and we’re going to do it over several years. We’re going to do it the right way. I don’t want to be sitting here two years from now and we’re cutting two players because we didn’t use the cap wisely.

I agree.  There were too many boom-or-bust offensive players available (See: Mike Wallace), and too many guy that just didn’t fit into a Chud/Norv system.  Why spend money on the wrong parts?

“I think you can have internal competition and you can have external competition. This is the first time I’ve gone through free agency, and of course you have the draft. It’s still a pretty long time till camp, right? I think we start officially in mid-July. I think we’ll see how things shape up.”

The cynical Browns fan in me read that and as “WE ARE DRAFTING A QUARTERBACK”.  Breathe Shawn, breathe.

“I don’t see us doing Hard Knocks.I think it interferes with your basic football operations. I think you’ve all heard me say this and I tell everybody in the building this every time we have a team meeting: We’re all about winning games and, two, giving the fans a great experience. If you’re doing anything besides the two of those, you’re not working on the right stuff.”

Couldn’t agree more.  I’m glad we’re not interested in becoming a circus like the Jets or the Dolphins.  We don’t need that crap in Cleveland.

“We talked about it a lot at these meetings and I think we continue to improve there. Not just with the Browns, but what every team has to worry about — and (President) Alec Scheiner’s main job is what we call fan experience, game day experience. The experience is so good at home now. Let’s face it, Cleveland in November, December, can be a pretty tough place, weather-wise, so why don’t I stay home and sit on my couch and watch three games at one time or watch whatever I want to and I can grab a beer right here, etc.?

“I think what every NFL owner’s got to do is make that three and a half hours of the game better than it is at home. We’ve got to give you some things at the stadium you can’t get at home. We spent two hours this morning talking about it in the meeting. I’m not ready to share that, but there’s a lot of great ideas. Minimal impact for the ’13 season but I think some pretty dramatic impact in ’14 going forward.”

I don’t really care too much about PSL’s, or not having PSL’s, but I think this little bit gives you an insight into the way of thinking of the guy who owns our team now.  And I’ve got to tell you, I like what I see.  He’s smart, he’s got a mind for business, and he’s focused on the right things.  Even if I have major gripes with some of the players on our team, for now I feel a little better knowing that Haslam is the guy steering the ship.

Chud Won’t Rule Out Trading Weeden/McCoy


Cleveland Browns Football News – NFL Coverage – cleveland.com.

 

When pressed, Coach Chud won’t commit to keeping either Brandon Weeden or Colt McCoy in Cleveland, and all signs seem to point to him leaving the possibility of replacing them (one or both) via the draft or free agency. And why should he?  Though there are those in Cleveland who are fond of Weeden and/or McCoy, the reality is that neither is going to be an elite NFL quarterback, and neither is the long term answer to the most important position in a franchise.  Weeden, even if he does get better, is just simply too old to invest in long term, and McCoy does lack the physical traits and arm strength of upper echelon quarterbacks.  Why shouldn’t the Browns go out and find a better solution, either short or long term to their constant quarterback woes.  From my perspective, the sooner you admit a mistake, the sooner you can correct it.  In my opinion, drafting Weeden was a mistake.  Using a first round pick on him was a disaster, and drafting another rookie quarterback to replace the incumbent McCoy was just the wrong move.  The sooner we move on, the better.