As an NFL Network commentator, Mike Lombardi was critical of the Browns’ decision to spend a first-round draft pick on quarterback Brandon Weeden. So now that Lombardi has been hired to run the Browns’ front office, does that mean it’s time to find a new franchise quarterback?
At his introductory press conference as Cleveland’s new vice president of player personnel, Lombardi said he hasn’t made that decision yet. According to Lombardi, when he was evaluating Weeden from the perspective of a member of the media, he went through a different process than he will now go through as he evaluates Weeden from the perspective of the man whose job is to determine whether Weeden has what it takes to lead the team.
“It’s a different evaluation from a media perspective,” Lombardi said. “I think it’s going to take some time to study him. I’ve got to go back through and watch practice tapes. I think when you live in the building, I think you have a better understanding of the player moving forward, have an evaluation and do that. So it’s going to take some time for me to really formulate my final opinions of him. I think when you do media you certainly have commentary of games, but now I think it’s a different set of circumstances.”
Browns CEO Joe Banner declined to give a direct answer to the question of whether Lombardi has final say authority over Weeden or anyone else on the Browns’ roster, saying only that the front office and the coaching staff will be able to arrive at a consensus about any important decisions. Whoever has final say, the most important personnel decision to make will be finding the right quarterback.