The Decision: Chud makes the call to stick with Brandon Weeden

"Back-handed? Really?"
"Back-handed? Really?"

Weeden - Chud“This was one game. I thought that Brandon played well in spurts, and at times he made a couple of critical mistakes.”

“We’re playing well at times and at times we’re not playing so well. When you look at it, Brandon’s doing some good things. It’s really just a matter of cutting out the critical mistakes.”

“It really just boils down to those critical decisions and mistakes that he made yesterday.”

“I thought Brandon played well and did a lot of things to make plays to beat Buffalo in that game. This was one game and, again, we have to just work on those critical errors.”

Four inquiries, one response. Call it canned, call it redundant, or call it honest. When Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski addressed the local media on Monday afternoon in what was his starting quarterback’s 30th birthday, he gave him the best gift he could by sugar-coating the dreadful second-half performance from the previous Sunday. Chud (rightfully) pointed out defensive shortcomings and said that there were “a lot” of things which needed to be fixed—the loss could not be pegged to one man, even if that man did start the third quarter with three consecutive three-and-outs; even if that one man did throw (throw?) one of the worst passes of the season, if not recent NFL history.

Leading up to the game which would ultimately be an embarrassing home loss to the Detroit Lions, Dustin Fox of 92.3 The Fan hinted that even if Brian Hoyer had not sustained a knee injury during the team’s Week 5 contest against the Buffalo Bills, Weeden would have been back under center once his thumb had fully healed. If Chudzinski has a silver lining to his six-game tenure in Cleveland, it’s that he has yet to have to make a decision regarding his starting quarterback for injuries have made those moves for him. No coin flips. No open competitions. No decisions.

Come this Sunday, Rob Chudzinski will have made a move to not make one at all—with a fully-healthy headset-wearing Jason Campbell waiting in the wings, the Browns will roll on with Weeden at the helm, regardless of how deflating his actions are to the skill players around him. Maybe the red-headed second-year hurler can catch lightning in a bottle against the Super Bowl contending Green Bay Packers, on the road no less. Even if he does, he has the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs dwelling in the on-deck circle, the Arrowhead faithful champing at the bit. Maybe it is a matter of Chud simply thinking that there is no answer; let’s let the man who should have been NFL-ready, at least from a maturation and decision-making standpoint, see if he can get the job done. Why subject Campbell, he of a handful of first-team snaps, to this mess?

“Anytime you talk about offense there’s a lot of different people and moving parts involved,” said Chudzinski prior to unleashing one of the four quotes above. “ It takes 11 guys to be successful.”

The Browns have carried the lead into halftime in every one of their six contests thus far. While Chud has made the decision to stick with Brandon Weeden to this point, it remains to see how many more starts he is willing to see dissipate throughout the second half.

If Chudzinski were to pull the plug on a healthy Weeden with 10 games to go, it could be seen as a reactive measure. It could send negative signals into the locker room of a first-year quarterback, ones that oozed a lack of loyalty and conviction. Trading a first-round draft pick midway through the season is one thing. Benching a player for a poor game (regardless of how disastrous) is completely different. Jason Campbell may make fewer boneheaded decisions, but Weeden arguably provides more upside.

To the contrary, there’s a very good chance that the 3-3 Browns are staring at 3-6 heading into the bye week. At this point, the entire coaching staff and front office will get to two full weeks to ponder if they were the ones who ultimately made the critical mistake.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    If the Browns drop Weeden today, nobody picks him up. Nobody.

    They are starting a QB that the rest of the league believes has no value.

    Stop ruining this season, Brandon! Just play average!

  • whipjacka

    I wonder why they stopped running the ball. three carries in the second half.

  • TNB

    Chud didn’t make that decision, like you pointed out, injuries did it for him. This is a group that plays fairly conservatively with the health of their QBs, they took the time for weeden to get as close to 100 as possible, I assume they’ll give Campbell the same courtesy. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Campbell start under center at some point in the season.

  • Big Z

    Yep. Same ol’ Browns…

  • Robert Sass

    Scott: First time poster. Love the site, following it for years. While the defense played poorly in the second half, when the offense was offensive by getting no first downs and 6 total yards in the 3rd quarter, the D was (in my opinion) a bit worn during the later parts of the second half mainly due to that ineptness. Sure, lets not stick it all on Weeden, others played poorly at times. However, I am frustrated because (in my opinion) if Hoyer were healthy, we probably would have won, and could make a run at the division title this year, because the rest of the pieces are here for that in a mediocre at best division. In the end, we can’t beat Denver in Denver with Hoyer anyways, but unfortunately the Hoyer injury may be the turning point from a potential “up” year to the usual 5-11 year. The D will tire every week unless we get competent play from the QB position. This is why this QB mess is frustrating to me. Bradon Weeden has regressed from last year. And this team can only go as far as he can take us. Thus, I fear, with Weeden, we are heading to 3-6 at the Bye week. This is a better team than 3-6, and the usual 5-11.

  • TNB

    Hey, Browns fans. I’ve got the solution to your quarterback problem.

    Ring, ring. Vinny Testaverde to the white courtesy phone. Ring, ring.

  • Someone made a sort of startling statement about this on a Browns FB thread. I think he said they had the ball all of nine snaps offensively (that weren’t punts) in the third quarter and ran on three of those. That’s not abandoning the run it’s abandoning offense all together.

  • John Skelton?

    Anyone? He’s free agent. He has starting experience. He has a good arm. Could he possibly be that much worse than Weeden? At least for a third QB option I would think he’s worth working out.

  • humboldt

    Brandon Weeden ≤ Todd Philcox

  • Garry_Owen

    Is Philcox ready to go? Give him the nod!

  • RGB

    I hear Spergon has been keeping himself in good shape.

  • Garry_Owen

    In all seriousness (I’m trying, really), Troy Smith said he “would crawl to Cleveland” if the Browns called him. I think I’d take a crawling Troy Smith over a standing Brandon Weeden at this point.

  • RGB

    Well, he IS younger than Weeden…

  • Garry_Owen

    But so is Methuselah . . .

  • RGB

    True, but Methuselah is more of a Wing-T style qb.

  • Garry_Owen

    But he can also kick field goals, so . . .

  • Ezzie Goldish

    I didn’t get a chance to watch the game Sunday (travel), and I finally sat down and watched it now.

    I’m going to get blasted for this, but (gulp) if you watch the whole game, Weeden was actually quite good up until that horrible, brain-dead “fling”. He was moving a bit more, he was making faster decisions for the most part, he was mixing up snap counts, and he was making some really great throws. (A couple bad calls such as missed PIs and the Little catch would have made huge differences.)

    On the flip side, that fling is the most horrible “throw” I’ve seen in years. I don’t even know how someone can play QB in the NFL and do such a thing.

    In theory, Chud is right about just needing to fix some “critical errors” to make someone better, but what worries me are the mistakes that aren’t teachable. You can’t be taught not to make that fling; that’s something you either know at 10 years old or don’t.

  • RGB

    Well, the drop kick is still legal. Sign him!

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    I heard a rumor somewhere that the Browns and Giants are in talks to trade Eli for the Colts’ first rounder…

  • Garry_Owen

    That’s no mere rumor. SOURCES have CONFIRMED it as being a thought that COULD become FACT!

  • Vindictive_Pat

    If you’re going to get killed, then I’m going down in flames with you. Weeden reminds me of Brett Favre when he first came into the league. 100% gunslinger whose only throw is a fastball and who has tunnel-vision at times, but great arm talent and solid accuracy. However, Weeden has that whole also-thirty-years-old thing going for him, so by the time he figures it out, if he figures it out, he’ll be in his mid-30s and past what should have been his prime. If Weeden was 24, I don’t think we’d all be freaking out so much. After all, this is what Matthew Stafford looked like in his second year in the league. But nobody is going to be patient and hope for a thirty-year-old to develop over several years, nor should they be that patient. The Browns still have to draft another QB.

  • Garry_Owen

    So you’re saying the Browns WILL win a Super Bowl?

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Yes… with whichever quarterback they select in next year’s draft 🙂

  • Garry_Owen

    But, but you said . . . you said . . . you said he was Brett Favre.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I dunno, last year he was in the Gabbert Zone (if you listen to the Around The League podcast, that means he averaged less than 6 yards per passing attempt) and he made a healthy Larry Fitzgerald look mediocre. I also hated his blase personality on Hard Knocks… dude had no fire.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Yes, but if a tree falls in the woods, will anyone care?

  • Garry_Owen

    If it announces that it’s coming out of retirement for the 3rd time, yes, the world will care!

    Everyone: My SOURCES now confirm that Brett Favre is coming out of retirement to QB the Browns!!!

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Sorry, not trying to be a Weeden-homer because I’m as annoyed with his play as anyone, but this isn’t even remotely true. In a league where Matt Flynn, Drew Stanford, and Derek Anderson continue to be on rosters, Brandon Weeden will get snatched up by a team if he his dropped. There were supposedly many other teams in the league who thought Weeden was at least a 2nd round talent… would be hard to envision one of those teams doesn’t bite.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I think you are writing this in jest, but there were rumors of this happening w/ the Vikings (probably all coming from Favre’s agent though). I didn’t mean to say that I would expect Brandon Weeden to duplicate Favre’s career if given enough time… I just think they look similar early in their careers.

  • Garry_Owen

    “Jest” is my middle name. Garry _ Jest _ Owen.

  • nj0

    Just… no.

  • Sam

    Exactly. We are all frustrated by Weeden’s play, but what are the Browns supposed to do? Jason Campbell will most certainly be as equally inept and you just can’t sign another quarterback that currently can’t make ANY other team and expect him to fill in and win games.

  • Sam

    So let’s replace Brandon Weeden with another Brandon Weeden that 31 other teams wouldn’t sign even as a backup and couldn’t even complete passes to Larry Fitzgerald? Sounds great.

  • porckchop

    If, while falling, the tree – for reasons known only to the tree, god, and possibly members of the gaming industry – decided to chuck a football directly at an opposing defensive player, thus assuring yet another gut wrenching loss, then yes people would care.
    Only briefly however, and as soon as the reality of the stupidity of the act sunk in they would cease to care, as a slow rolling numbness crept over their bodies like hypothermia.
    They would then leave in droves, head to the nearest bar and ask the bartender to open their beers by smashing the necks open on the bar so that their lips would be gashed on the jagged edges of the bottle, and their insides would be shredded by the shards of glass being swallowed.
    In this way the people might hope to begin to feel… something again. Even if that “something” is nothing more than the old familiar pain symptomatic of a condition known as Browns fandom.

  • Nicholee

    As frustrating as he has been in some moments, he has been tolerable other times. He had the second lost active streak of turnover-free football in the league going into yesterday’s game. I am certainly not saying he’s the QB of the future but he’s a heck of a lot better than many other people in this league, particularly back-ups and 3rd stringers. I mean… Did you watch the Bills-Browns game? Their back-up made Weeden look like Otto Graham.

  • Wow

    Is Dustin Fox on the Bull show? All I ever hear is the one guy yelling all show.

  • He’s busy coaching high school QBs. Maybe find Jeff Garcia’s number?

  • mgbode

    I broke down all the 2nd half possessions on that thread. we only ran 2 times with McGahee (0 w/ Oggie) on those first 3 possessions. Possession 4 was undone by penalties. Possession 5 we kept passing until Weeden messed up. Possession 6 the game was over.

  • mgbode

    Chud is being honest. Yes, Jason Campbell is just that bad.

  • Harv 21

    you’re analogy is not without historical precedent. Disgusted, emotionally exhausted Oz apple farmers intentionally drank bad cider when their trees were baited into chucking fruit at Scarecrow and Tin Man. Documentary available at most public libraries and Walmart discount bins.

  • Harv 21

    I see no critical decision to be made or juncture at hand. That was and will be at draft time. We’re just another NFL team confirming that it doesn’t have it’s primary ingredient, or playing through the reality it already knew.

    Hoyer was competent and made the games temporarily watchable, but an undrafted 28 year old cut 3 times the past year was no franchise guy and was probably no more than a week or two away from defenses figuring out how to make him look uncomfortable. Poor us fans that, like a summer road trip fling, he was here so briefly and left us with only good memories. Until they find the playmaking QB that not only runs the offense but who himself makes game-changing plays out of nothing and elevates his teammates, the context of these “critical” decisions and junctures is only how palatable watching the remainder of the season will be.

  • rtpinfla

    Although his career is not necessarily over, as it stands right now, Hoyer has the distinction of being the only Browns QB that has left the game in the good graces of the fans.

  • No need to be condescending. I haven’t seen the guy play that much and I was aware of him as much as I posted.

  • Bryan

    Chud addressed this pretty clearly, I thought, in his presser. In the third quarter, they has 3 possession. On all 3 possessions, they faced 3rd and long. Thus, there were only 6 down and distances in the third quarter when a running play was even an option. They ran on 3 of those.

    In the 4th quarter, they were trailing and under time pressure the whole time, so they started throwing. Maybe they could have mixed in a draw or two, but does anyone think that would have helped.

    They lost because they didn’t convert third downs and because they D got exhausted. Not because of the run.

  • Steve_Not_Chad

    How deflating is this to the skilled players?

  • Sam

    I apologize, emotions run high with these Browns!

  • I hear ya. It’s just such a bummer to have seen competent QB play for a few games only to have it ripped from your hands and be replaced with whatever it is Brandon Weeden is doing. Ugh.

  • Gregory Bennett

    Thank you for saying what NEEDED to be said about Hoyer. I mean, good on him being local and all, but enough.

  • Jeremy Humbert

    You mean Cameron and Gordon who both average more yards per catch under Weedon? Probably, very…