McCoy vs. Weeden makes for a good history lesson

One of the things we talked about most last year at this time was the maturity of Colt McCoy. He got the team together for “Camp Colt” down in Texas. He spent a weekend throwing with Brett Favre to try and improve his game. He had the support of his teammates in camp and did all the big interviews with the national writers that came through town. That was last year. This year, Brandon Weeden has filled that role.

Even as Pat Shurmur hasn’t named a starter, there’s no questioning it. Weeden, not McCoy, was the first to head out to the crowd to sign autographs after practice. McCoy went out later to big applause, but only after Weeden had finished. While McCoy was making fans smile, Weeden was smiling into a host of cameras and microphones. And as Colt McCoy headed in for the day, Weeden wolfed down an Uncrustables before sitting down with ESPN’s John Clayton for a one-on-one interview.

Weeden, like McCoy a year ago, is saying all the right things. He admires the greed of Brett Favre. He admires the ability of Peyton Manning. The hybrid of the two? “That’d be one heckuva quarterback,” he says with a pleasant southern accent and what could be an award-winning smile. If the Indians need a spot starter, Weeden said, “I’d need about six months,” before chuckling as he walked away. This early in camp, that’s what fans have to go on, and it was only a year ago with Colt McCoy that they also learned that it isn’t nearly enough.

In fairness to Weeden, people are talking about more than his attitude and media savvy. No, I’m not talking about his advanced age for a rookie. They’re talking about his rocket arm. But don’t forget a year ago. In a Yahoo! article by Les Carpenter everyone was talking about Colt McCoy’s overwhelming accuracy, including his first preseason game where he completed 13 of 13 passes.

None of this is to rain on your parade if you’re excited for the Weeden era of Cleveland Browns football. It’s merely to point out that you need to remember how difficult it is for anyone to transition from the potential of draft day to the actuality of playing quality football in the NFL. Weeden is mature. He has life-experience as a professional athlete. He has a rocket arm. He wouldn’t be the first to tout all those things and still not become a legit NFL starter.

Kyle Boller retired this weekend, in case you hadn’t heard. That gave me pause. He was thought to have a “good head” and a “live arm” after excelling in a “pro style offense.” In his first three seasons with Baltimore, in games he started, Boller went 18-16 completing 55.6% of his passes for 5618 yards, 31 TDs and 32 INTs. He was drafted 19th in the 2003 draft by Phil Savage and the Baltimore Ravens. He was the third quarterback after Carson Palmer and Byron Leftwich. Brandon Weeden was selected 22nd this year just like a QB was selected 22nd in 2003. That quarterback was Rex Grossman.

These are all anecdotal points in some ways, but they could very well be instructive, and that’s the point. Brandon Weeden might be Kyle Boller or Rex Grossman. That might even be an improvement over what we’ve seen from the Browns over the last five-plus seasons. It isn’t wrong to hope that Brandon Weeden is the next great NFL quarterback and that he just happens to be with the Cleveland Browns. Key word is hope. Expecting him to be the next great quarterback is another thing altogether.

Expectations are something Browns fans know all too well. Don’t let them get away from you because of some interviews or some rocket-arm highlights on the second day of training camp. No matter how much we might wish, this thing can only be so scripted.

Many people used the stories and words around Colt McCoy to try to predict a happy ending to the story a year ago. That was just part of the reason it was so traumatic when “A New Hope” ran straight into “The Empire Strikes Back” in the 2011 NFL season for Browns fans. Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson could be “The Return of the Jedi,” but no amount of training camp words will make it so. In fact, we’ve learned that these words aren’t very good predictors at all.

  • TSR3000

    I would settle for good not great out of Weeden. We need to build a stellar defense and implement a conservative run-first offense.

  • Scott

    very good article sir. puts things in perspective

  • Garry_Owen

    I hate “The Return of the Jedi.” If the Browns win this year, don’t expect me to dance around with a bunch of fuzzy little creatures.

  • maxfnmloans

    hey, leave the Steelers cheerleaders out of this

  • BuckeyeDawg

    I am hoping that Weeden can do for us what Dalton did for Cincy last year. Seems to me the situations are very similar. Good young defense, improved O-line, solid running game, fairly low expectations for the season from a win-loss standpoint. Main difference is that Cincy has a decent WR corps…whether we do or not remains to be seen, but they should at least be better (can’t get much worse).

  • A much needed dose of perspective.

  • mgbode

    hmm, well, Cinci has AJ Green. they let J.Simpson and A.Caldwell walk. J.Shipley is coming off a bad injury.

    now, B.Tate, M.Jones, and M.Sanu could very well be better than what we have in our corps. But, outside of AJ who looks legit, I don’t see how one team could definitely have a decent WR corps and the other “remains to be seen” (both are incredibly young – I’d give the nod to Cinci’s being better but it’s a huge question for both teams)

  • mgbode

    perspective? hmmm, fresh out I see. well then, you provide the food and i’ll provide the perspective.

  • mgbode

    they may be fuzzy, but they sure aren’t little

  • BuckeyeDawg

    What a difference one letter makes. “Has” should be “had.” As in, they HAD a decent WR corps last year. (Oops.) I agree with you about this year…but last year Cincy clearly had the better WR corps.

  • porckchopexpress

    Really good artcle as silly season is descending on us

  • Related… never posted to WFNY, but Cincy might be in for a RUDE awakening this year. No Cedric Benson, no Jerome Simpson. Green-Ellis is NOT Cedric Benson. More importantly check this out.

    Last year, the Bengals beat Cleveland, Buffalo, J’Ville, Indy, Seattle, Tennessee, Cleveland, St. Louis and Arizona. Only “impressive” win is against Tennessee?

    Cincy, like Cleveland, has a brutal schedule this year.

    BAL, CLE, WASH, JAX, MIA, CLE isn’t horrible to start the season, but it turns there.

    PIT, DEN, NYG, KC, OAK, San Diego, DAL, PHI, PIT, BAL to end the year.

    Let’s just say I don’t think there are going to be three teams making the playoffs from the AFCNorth this season.

  • porckchopexpress

    Im obligated by fanboy code to remind you that Jedi did include the Leah bikini scene. If the Browns win this year I’m chaining my wife up an … sorry forgot this is a family site

  • mgbode

    no doubt last year their WR corps was better. although, I could continue to argue that going into last year, they knew little for sure either (Caldwell/Simpson/Shipley replacing Ocho/TO after some moderate success to end the year before – AJ a rookie)

    just shows how much crazy turnover there is in the NFL.

  • Garry_Owen

    That same fanboy code requires me to retort that they killed off Boba Fett in the lamest way possible. I mean, who cares if you’re slowly digested over a thousand years?? How many of those years in a 78 year life expectancy are you really likely to live, particularly if you’re already 40-something and “living” in the bowels of a cave creature??
    So, Leah in a bikini is certainly nice (indeed, it may be what single-handedly confirmed our heterosexuality – that and Erin Gray in Buck Rogers – yeah, you know what I mean), but that was Boba Fett! BOBA FREAKING FETT!!!

  • BuckeyeDawg

    I agree. I don’t see Cincy breaking .500 this season. The stars lined up perfectly for them last year to get the wild card. I think they have a lot of good young talent and are sitting well for the next 3-5 years overall, but they will likely take a step back in the win/loss column this year.

    My point about Dalton still stands, though. If Weeden can play at the same level as Dalton did last year, the Browns could be much better than people think.

  • porckchopexpress

    I swear I was going to counterpoint my counterpoint with the horrible Boba Fett death, I mean Solo wasn’t even trying. Greedo at least got a chance to draw (Solo shot first), freakin Greedo had a more honorable death.
    Quadruple vote for Erin Gray Buck Rogers outfit. Ihad a poster of her in that outfit with the little hat on and Heather Thomas from the Fall Guy in a Bikini which I actually kept hidden from my mom for almost 5 years.

  • Old goat

    Sounds like the past all over again. Sipe was back up and whats his name from Purdue was going to be the saviour but guess what Sipe knew how to win and once he got the weapons the rest was history. the other guy was just another has been. if I was Colt I would walk away from the Browns they showed what an low class organization they have become.

  • Old goat

    I remember when the Browns were the class of the league, but not any more. I hope some buys them then moves to Kentucky. i am a bengals fan now paul brown was right about Modell. he was a punk, he broke the team, broke the heart of the fans and almost destroyed the city. These Browns could not hold a candle to the 86 brownies that were within a shadow of going to the Super Bowl. the problem they are still rebuilding after how many years that they came back into the league. When they can reconnect with the likes of Jerry Sherk and bam bam.

  • sgtkickarse

    So I will go ultimate fan boy on both of you and say that Boba Fett did not die in the Sarlaac. He used his jet pack and eventually got free of it. He went back to being a bounty hunter until eventually going back to Mandalore and essentially becoming leader of the Mandalorians. He then helped train Jaina Solo what was needed to fight her brother Jacen who had fallen to the Dark Side and become Darth Caedus.

    And with that, I will crawl back into my cave.

  • Garry_Owen

    I am pretending that I don’t know what you’re talking about.