Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden is older than the average rookie quarterback, which could explain why he’s figured out one part of life as an NFL starter very quickly.
Criticism of quarterbacks comes from any possible angle in the wake of a loss. The criticism may contradict the criticism or praise from the previous week or previous throw — “What a confident throw into traffic!” on a touchdown vs. “You can’t throw that ball into traffic!” when the same pass gets intercepted — and it will make a quarterback feel like he can’t win. That sounds like the way Weeden is feeling in the wake of Sunday’s loss to the Ravens, when he and the Browns caught flak for being too conservative while settling for field goals on offense.
“I could have tried to squeeze one in there, but if I did and something happened, you guys would be asking me the same question: ‘Why in the hell would you throw the ball when 20 [Ed Reed] is back there?'” Weeden said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “So I’m in a lose-lose. I check it down and hope to God that my backs can get a first down. If not, get a few yards and kick a field goal. But you’ve got to take shots. If they’re open, I’ll throw it.”
Weeden admitted to being frustrated by facing questions about checking down or throwing interceptions every week, saying that quarterbacks get too much praise and criticism from the media. That’s true, but it doesn’t change the fact that Weeden hasn’t played well enough to rise above such analysis of his performances, something he also admitted on Tuesday. Weeden is the man in Cleveland now and focusing on his play, not the criticism, is going to be the way for him to remain the man in the years to come.