Can the Browns give fans anything to believe in this year?

Brandon Weeden close upIt’s a confusing time to be a Browns fan. I guess it’s always a confusing time to be a Browns fan, but this is a conundrum almost unlike any other since 1999. The Cleveland Browns might not be traditional trailblazers, but they do find new and interesting ways to confuse their fans. The Cleveland Browns are in contention right now, but they’re really not. Their record says that they are, but with the loss of Brian Hoyer and one single game to the Detroit Lions – a decent team by the way – the Browns have gone from being real contenders to one that’s very difficult to believe in. Can this team give Browns fans anything to believe in the rest of the season?

Forget the fans for a second. I honestly wonder how things are going in that locker room right about now. The fans are admittedly over-reactionary week-in and week-out with the ups and downs of a normal NFL schedule, but this is different. The way the Browns carried themselves on Sunday seemed to tell the tale. Nobody gave Brandon Weeden credit for any part of the three game winning streak. Even the third win where Weeden played the bulk of the game, Travis Benjamin and the defense pretty well beat the Bills.

I would guess that sentiment extends to the locker room too. The words from Weeden’s teammates were all supportive and encouraging coming into the Lions game, but I’m guessing he needed to back that up with some results. Now that he’s helped make the team the butt of jokes nationally – including being featured on the always abysmal “C’Mon Man” Monday Night Football segment – that support probably doesn’t turn on a dime in the fan-base alone. I’m guessing the locker room is having a tough time taking Brandon Weeden seriously today too.

The person to keep an eye on is Rob Chudzinski. He’s the man who had his team ready to play against Minnesota after the Trent Richardson trade. He was the one who presumably made the decision to go to Brian Hoyer.1 In the face of adversity these Browns played their best football of the season. Now that the equation has changed again and he faces that same adversity, it will be up to him and his staff to respond. I hope for all of our sake the response doesn’t look like what we saw this week against the Lions.

So, what do Browns fans do? Based on my perception of the fan base right now, there’s almost nobody that believes in Brandon Weeden. Then again, there aren’t a whole lot of other options. Even if there were two or three free agents sitting available at home, it isn’t like they could step in cold and be ready to run the Browns’ offense. Do Browns fans use that awful political cliché and “hold their nose” while rooting for Brandon Weeden? Do they ask for Jason Campbell? Do they scream at Joe Banner to do something? After all, Joe Banner said no matter what happens with the Browns and their roster that he was available to take the blame and responsibility as the man at the top of the org chart.

I don’t have any answers, but I’m sick with the thought of what this team could become over the next ten games. I’m sick with the thought of what we might have been able to find out about this team with Brian Hoyer running the offense. I’m sick with the thought of what this defense could have accomplished with an offense that they could believe in. I’m sick with the thought that another new organization could come into Berea and almost immediately get bitten by the same snake that seems to bite every group that finds themselves roaming those hallways.

Maybe that’s just the historical paranoia talking. But as I said, it’s a confusing time to be a Browns fan.

Your move Browns.


  1. I mean, I’m sure Joe Banner and Michael Lombardi expressed opinions on the topic, but I think Chud probably made it. []

  • Ben Frambaugh

    Unfortunately, I think that their hands are tied right now. What QB can we reasonably get that can help us win? Nick Foles from Philadelphia? They’re not giving him up so long as Michael Vick is there (because of his health concerns.)

    Who else is there and what will the cost be (with other GM’s knowing that we are basically in dire straights with our team as currently constructed.)

  • NY Browns Fan

    Don’t get too high on the wins and don’t get too low on the losses. If you knew at the beginning of the season that we would be 3-3 after 6 games, Trent Richardson would not be on the team and that the new Front Office isn’t as bad as the pre-season reports painted them to be (e.g., Trent trade looking like a steal, Hoyer, trust in Skrine, Horton hire, Chud hire, etc.)….would you be happy, shocked, dissapointed?
    I think all things considered, things are going just fine. Rome wasn’t built in a day. We all knew that Weeden wasn’t the long-term solution, and that the QB of the future will come next year. Relax and enjoy the ride. This team is in games every weekend, and given the last few years that is a major improvement. Even with our defense playing bad last weekend, we were in that game until late in the 4th Quarter….and that was with Weeden as our QB. We are expecting the playoffs from a team that isn’t ready for the playoffs.

  • Bryan

    Yes. All they need to do is cut Weeden and sign Vince Young.

  • 240

    Does anyone else think it is asking a little much of Banner/Lombardi to find 2 QBs (Hoyer being 1) off the scrap heap that no other team currently wants? Don’t trade any picks. Find your guy in the first round next year. Ride it out with Weeden. Nothing else they really can do.
    Although if they did cut Weeden I’d love another Walrus reactionary Seattle radio show.

  • CB Everett

    Totally agree. There’s no reason for us to retroactively adjust our preseason expectations to the extent that we’re pissed the FO didn’t bring in a starting caliber QB. We all knew this would be one big test run for Weeden. What we didn’t know is that that he would so quickly fail (highlighted by Hoyer’s brief success). Personally, I’m going to enjoy us being in every game and seeing who else emerges besides Hoyer and Skrine.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    I was never a fan of Vince Young…and I’m not sure that he’s an improvement (though he certainly isn’t likely to be worse than Weeden.) To me, this is roughly a lateral move…with maybe a little progression. But not enough to warrant any serious consideration.

  • This season ended when Hoyer went down. It’s as simple as that. Hoyer could play at least a little keep away and not turn the ball over. With a good defense that’s what you need.

    Brandon can’t seem to put together two consecutive good halves of football. That’s how you know you’re talking about a backup. And, by the way, not even a good one. Guys like Fitzpatrick and Kolb could go a few games before totally imploding, Brandon can go a few drives. That puts him in the mediocre, ‘close an eye and send him in – but don’t feel good about it’ category.

  • dwhit110

    I wouldn’t be sad to see Jason Campbell get some starts (you know before he gets hurt too). I’d guess another cataclysm by Weeden in one of the next two weeks on the road to lose another winnable game gets us there.

  • Scott Johnson

    Am I the only person that gets ragey when people tell Browns fans to be patient?!

    I mean… DECADES.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    That’d be a hard pass for me. If you liked Brandon Weeden’s decision-making, you’re going to love Vince Young.

  • NY Browns Fan

    Completely agree, part of what I was trying to say before. The FO made a great pick-up in Hoyer and unfortunately got burned with the injury (part of the game). There isn’t some magical store where you can go sign capable NFL QBs that are going to lead you to a win every week (See Buffalo: Flynn, Matt).

  • RGB

    We cut Thad Lewis, for this? Really?

  • nj0

    We need to get his name on the list of QBs. We MUST!

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    We are Browns Fans, Craig. We believe in nothing.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Exactly in my preseason forecast at this point I had them 2-4 so they are actually better then I predicted and that’s without Richardson. The schedule gets harder unfortunately life on the road won’t be fun and I expect the floor to fall out especially with Weeden as QB.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    If this was a possibility they should have actively pursued Josh Freeman.

  • Garry_Owen

    That rug really brought the room together.

  • Garry_Owen

    Heard on the radio yesterday a conversation regarding the Giants and their “problems.” Per the norm on loudmouth sportstalk radio, the notion was raised that the Giants might try to trade Eli Manning; but the self-asserted notion was also self-defeated by the problem of “who is going to give up a 1st round pick for a 33-year old QB with a $20-some million cap obligation.” So of course, the Cleveland Browns were mentioned.

    To recap:


  • nj0

    I think the issue is more going into the season with a QB in Weeden that most fans find obviously deficient. If you have Lewis or some other unknown, there’s at least the thought (ridiculous as it may be), that we’d strike gold. Or, at the very least, give some young guy some opportunities to improve into something. With Weeden, it feels like a commodity that has proven itself terrible. There’s no growth, no ceiling, no nothing. It’s treading water (yet again). It’s pointless.

  • MrCleaveland

    It’s up to the coaches to make the best of this bad situation. Norv has to junk whatever “system” he’s in love with and coach to Weeden’s abilities. He’s probably also got to trick up the playbook with more Wildcat and other gimmicks and try to get it done on the ground.

    Fans can shrug and give up on a season, but players and coaches have to do everything they can to win every game. Gotta get creative.

  • Garry_Owen

    (For the record, I would be in favor. “All in.”)

  • rtpinfla

    Lets face facts. The Browns will continue with Weeden even though he has little chance of improving. The Browns offense will continue to be lackluster and devoid of anything approaching exciting.
    As much as I love the idea that there is some unsigned free agent that could come in and reignite the offense, it just doesn’t make any sense to try that route. The best case scenario is that after a few weeks of learning our system and getting a little chemistry we’d have a guy that MAY be a bit better than Weeden. By then our playoff hopes are back in the dustbin anyways. As awful as Weeden is, this far into the season the continuity of having him in (or maybe Campbell at some point) is probably better than bringing anyone else in. I have a feeling that’s why Chud is going to stick with him, like it or not.
    In other words, It’s a big Weeden sandwich, and we all have to take a bite.

  • Steve

    No, but they didn’t before they year and people still believed, and they’ll believe next year no matter what happens. And the cycle will continue.

  • CB Everett

    Can’t do it. The confluence of an Eli Manning face and a Joe Banner face would just be too much stink face for one organization to handle.

  • whosevelt

    I would absolutely be in favor of giving up at least the Colts’ first rounder for Eli. Watching the game the last Thursday, it was clear that while he made some terrible mistakes, his understanding and management of the game was elite. And unlike Weeden, whose mistakes are just his mediocrity bottoming out; Manning’s big mistakes are complete aberrations – the rest of his performance is high quality.

  • MrCleaveland

    Speaking of unhappy faces, I notice TV didn’t show us any shots of Jimmy Haslam in his loge last Sunday. Had to be some major-league grimacing going on in there.

  • rtpinfla

    Nice Marmet dude

  • BenRM

    I agree that most of what we are all feeling is simply reactionary to Weeden making one of the worst passes in NFL history – but I feel just as hopeless as everyone else.

    He is bad. Very bad. But it’s what we’ve got.

  • Steve

    And the alternative is . . . ? I really don’t get the loop, the Browns suck, fans get all upset that the Browns suck including writing articles like this asking if there is any reason to believe, the fans get sucked in the next year. If following the Browns so closely leads to you getting ragey, what’s the point? Sports are supposed to be fun.

    I get that Cleveland is filled with dyed-in-the-wool Browns fans, but at some point, you have to ease up with the banging your head against the wall when it starts to hurt you.

  • Denny

    You left out the wiener dog races. That’s something we all can believe in (unless we find out that wiener dog races cause TBI, and then the sadness will be infinite).

  • Tommy

    Two Words: Jamarcus Russel .. That’s right. Even as a backup, he can hook Josh Gordon up with the purple drank! Party like a rock star.. No really in all seriousness. Someone like Tyler Wilson etc. might be a worthy effort. Maybe someone who didn’t get a shot after last years draft. Maybe a winner… Timothy Tebow? We already got Mcgahee. Get it done. lol

  • Tommy

    I would also like to point out that Jamarcus could provide quality depth at Guard and Tackle! #bannermetrics

  • RGB

    Secretly recorded by the Browns Backers Ninja Squad in Berea…

    “Hey Joe, it’s Mike.”
    “Hey Mike, What’s up?”
    “Joe, I’ve been doing some QB scouting and I’m pretty stoked. I have two words for you
    “Ok, shoot.”
    “JaMarcus Russell.”
    *Go home Mike, you’re drunk” *CLICK*

  • eldaveablo

    Is there hope for playoffs this year? No. However, when Hoyer went on his little run he gave me hope. Yes there IS talent on the Browns offense, and we can win games. I got hope that our defense is really top notch and only getting better. That hope gave me the long term view, and I have hope in the front office. Hope that the FAs they get can actually work out. Hope that they know when to cut losses (T-Rich), and not overpay for a player out of desperation that they don’t like but fits a need.

    I don’t expect much for this year, but with a little magic from Hoyer I got a glimpse of a team that is competitive, fun, young and promising. Belief in next year feels like substantial hope, and not just blind faith. If we land the right QB and have a strong draft, we could be really good next year. I actually saw glimpses of it, and I think we have the right FO to move forward in a smart way.

    And I don’t mind that they are sticking with Weeds now. They don’t have many options, and they will NOT overpay for someone just to maybe finish 8-8 this year. They have put too much planning into next year (picks… cap room) to make a desperate move now. Hell, maybe Weeds can show enough this year that they can flip him for a 5th round pick or something.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    I was actually hoping they’d pursue him…and was a bit surprised when they didn’t. I thought he’d be (at a minimum) a big upgrade over Weeden. But…I’m an armchair GM…so my opinion can be taken with mounds of salt. LOL

  • Ben Frambaugh

    I agree with your sentiment…unfortunately, “fan” is short for “FANatic” and thus…some people get ragey.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    Ugh…not me. I can’t stand him and think he’s overrated anyways. His price tag…way too high.

  • Steve

    But why do we have to be fanatics about something we demonstrate so little control over? I get it if you get all excited to wear your colors, head down to the stadium, and cheer on the team. But if doing so just makes you “sick” or you get all “ragey” when you have to be patient, then maybe find an alternate form of entertainment. There seems to be quite a bit of masochism here – people actually buy that “factory of sadness” shirt.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    There almost as many reasons for being Fanatics as there are Fans. I am not one of those people that lives and dies with the Browns/Cavs/Indians. For one, I’m a fan of each of the sports first. So I tend to take a more cerebral approach to things. I try to keep my feelings in check when I root for my teams to do well. I try to be a student of the game (except baseball…which I can’t stand watching, LOL).

    However, I know better than to pose my intellectual approach on anyone. Not everyone is wired the way that I’m wired. For some people, you don’t care enough about your teams…and thus aren’t a “real fan.” From their perspective, you are the one that they question. And, to a certain extent, my fandom gets questioned as well.

    If you want to know more, you will have to start studying phsychology and sociology. I’m sure they can give a much more in depth perspective on why people are fans.

  • Robert Sass

    Call me completely INSANE with saying this, but could we get Derek Anderson for next to nothing? No, I don’t think he is a long term answer at all, and I remember how bad he was in that Cinci game with 4 picks. But seriously, didn’t he know Chud’s offense last year in Carolina??
    As bad as DA is, he and Weeden do share the same Uniform Jersey now, but seriously, I think DA is better at this point than Weeden. Just thinking outside the box a bit here.
    I say, bring back hoyer (obvious) and maybe go after Rivers (FA after the season), or pending who is available in the draft, make a pick there. I just think the top two QBs will be gone in the draft by the time Jacksonville and Tampa Bay are done with their picks.
    Yes, I sincerely believe Derek Anderson now is better than Brandon Weeden. Sounds bad, but that is my humble opinion…

  • maxfnmloans

    Every man must believe in something. I believe I’ll have another drink

  • Wow

    People just got overexcited after the 3-2 start. The Lions game was a wake up call.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    For everyone saying ‘be patient’ or ‘they were never going anywhere this year anyway’…I’d just like to remind everyone that this team has led every game at halftime.

    They really are decent QB play away from a really special season. If a trade is out there, they should take it. The Browns should still be buyers.

  • Don’t be fatuous, Matthew

  • mgbode

    “decent QB play away”

    that’s alot away though

  • mgbode

    you would think we’d learn with all the cruddy QBs, but I guess people just want to shore up the record for most starting QBs.

  • Bob

    Who available is a significant real upgrade over Weeden? If we were to have traded for Josh Freeman, can you really see us loving our franchise QB Josh Freeman 2 years from now? Same question for Matt Flynn.

    Also, I am discouraged by fans hating on Weeden. He still seems to be showing up, working hard, carrying himself professionally, and doesn’t seem to sow division inside the team. If he just isn’t good enough and will at best be a competent enough backup, it’s unfortunate. But hate on the people who wasted a 1st rounder on a QB with the talent of a good enough backup. Looks to me like there honestly is nothing to do but draft a QB come April.

  • hutch058

    Why not?

  • Bill Crowell

    Dishearteningly, You could just about feel the wind go right out of the sail when BH went down. Almost like a wave of destruction encompassing all of Browns Town. There has to be someone who could come in play qb and give the team a chance. Sad I am……bc

  • LesFleursDuMal

    hate to say it but i see a long losing streak coming up and a 5-11 season.