New owner, new CEO, new General Manager, new coach. New quarterback too, right?
Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland believes that the Browns will give Brandon Weeden, a birthday-challenged first-round pick in 2012, a chance to secure the job over the long haul.
“It’s amazing so many people still believe Weeden is on his way out,” Grossi writes in a mailbag column. “I believe the Browns have committed to Weeden — for one year, at least. If he doesn’t show significant improvement under the new coaches and system, they will reboot the QB search next year. If that happens, [Ryan] Mallett — who would be entering the final year of his New England contract — would be a prime option. I don’t envision Weeden being traded this year. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see no quarterback at all drafted this year.”
While Grossi knows the Browns as well as anyone, there’s a new regime in Cleveland. And the new regime seems to like new.
New may not be better, but once Jimmy Haslam acquired the pink slip to the Browns he embarked on an overhaul that has included change at almost every level of the organization. While there’s a chance Weeden will improve under coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner, improvement could mean that the team will be stuck with Weeden for the foreseeable future, like it was six years ago with Derek Anderson after one unexpectedly good year.
In our view, Weeden’s fate will depend on whether Geno Smith falls into their lap. If Smith slides to No. 6, how can they not take a chance on a guy who could become something the Browns haven’t had since resurrecting in 1999: a true franchise quarterback?
Even if the Browns don’t draft another quarterback early (they don’t have a second-round pick), Weeden will have to beat out Jason Campbell. And if the Browns intend to address the quarterback position on a more permanent basis in 2014, it makes plenty of sense to go with Campbell this year, if the competition ends up being relatively close. If Weeden thrives, the fans would tolerate dumping him only if an established franchise quarterback suddenly becomes available. And that’s not likely to happen.
Then again, who would have dreamed in April 2011 that Peyton Manning would be available in 2012 to bump the supposedly thriving Tim Tebow out of Denver?