Weeden knows he can’t look over his shoulder


Browns fans know that, on the rare occasions when they’ve gotten high-level quarterback play during the most recent incarnation of the franchise, the performances have come from players who weren’t worried about losing their jobs.

The best — and worst — example came in 2007, and then in 2008.  When Derek Anderson inherited the job after Week One starter Charlie Frye promptly was traded following Week One, Anderson and everyone else assumed he was keeping the seat warm for first-rounder Brady Quinn, who wasn’t ready to take over due to a holdout fueled by his perception that he should have been drafted higher in round one than he was.  So Anderson was loose and unworried about losing the job, because he knew he eventually would.

And as we’ve heard Ron Jaworski (and other experts) explain it over the years, a quarterback not worried about losing his job plays with a confidence that allows him not to obsess over each mistake, wondering whether the next one will be the last.

By 2008, when Anderson suddenly had something to lose, he played like it.  And he did.

Current starter Brandon Weeden, whose less than four months younger than Anderson, is trying to play like a guy who has nothing to lose.

“[A]t this position – which, to me, is the hardest position in sports – you can’t be looking over your shoulder all the time,” Weeden tells Vic Carucci of ClevelandBrowns.com.  “You’ve got to worry about what’s most important, and that’s me getting better, building on what I did last year, and continue to grow as a player.  And, if I can do that, and not really worry about what’s going on around me, and kind of have that tunnel vision, that’s going to make me a better player and that’s going to make this team better.”

What’s going on around him is that Colt McCoy has been shipped to San Francisco and veteran Jason Campbell has been brought in to compete with Weeden.  If Weeden worries too much about Campbell, Weeden will grip the ball a little too tightly and wait a little too long to pull the trigger for fear of screwing up, because enough screw ups will result in no screw ups because he won’t be playing.

So while Weeden is wisely saying the right things, telling himself not to worry about what’s going on around him could virtually guarantee that he’ll worry about what’s going on around him.  Which could mean he’ll make enough mistakes to eventually open the door for Campbell.

18 responses to “Weeden knows he can’t look over his shoulder

  1. if he is worried about losing his job to Jason campbell he may as well just quit and go back to playing baseball. I don’t care what he did with the raiders 3 years ago all I know is he failed miserably in his one and only start last year with the Bears. he was suppose to be a upgrade over the worst backup ever in caleb hanie but you could not tell them apart.

  2. Michael Lombardi should be the one to sign Tim Tebow. Chud had numerous shotgun run based packages in Carolina. None of their current Quarterbacks have better than average mobility. You can say Tebow isn’t the answer, but you can’t tell me that Weeden is either.

  3. I dont get Redskins posters need to post HTTR on a Browns post.

    Can a Skins fam explain..?

  4. Weeden knows he can’t look over his shoulder because the 2nd year QB already has arthritis in his neck.

    In an unrelated story:

    Brandon Weeden is considering retirement due to his being eligible for Medicare in a couple years.

  5. They should just commit to Weeden, even if it’s for the year. If it plays out well, great you have a QB, if not…well you were going to bring in your own guy to groom sooner or later.

  6. If it weren’t for his geriatric age, Weeden could have possibly went in the top 10. He actually has quite a bit of upside; problem is, it may pinnacle as his physical skill begins to decline. For Browns fans, let’s hope not.

  7. I love revisionist history. The above article is true if you ignore that…..

    – Derek Anderson played well in 2006 as well.

    – Derek Anderson was looking over his shoulder in 07 as people fully expected Quinn to eventually take the job that year and would have had Cleveland not been in playoff contention.

    – Anderson’s best game of his career was in 08 on Monday Night Football against the Giants which was the only game that year the team was at least 80% healthy.

    – Anderson’s stats falling being more because of the CONCUSSSION he suffered in the 3rd game of the pre-season not to mention that 08 was the year the team was ravaged by staff infections leaving basically the practice squad…

    The 08 Cleveland Browns were a mismanaged mess and blaming any one player for the lack of success of that team is like blaming the bullet for someone getting shot. Payton Manning with Tom Brady for a backup would have only managed 6 wins at BEST with that squad.

  8. Campbell gets the nod from me because he has a body of work as a starter that says efficiency (if not tremendous production). More TD’s than int’s over 9 seasons, accurate, decent mobility and a strong arm with experience reading NFL defenses. I think he’s only lost 14 fumbles in all that time as a starter, too. How many did Weeden have last season alone?

    He doesn’t have to be a Cutler-like gunslinger in the Cleveland offense, which is more suited to his style—pounding the ball, play-action, timing routes and deep balls. The backs and te’s will get a lot of catches too, because he likes to check down (in keeping with his reserved manner).

    If Cleveland wants a 30-31 year old QB, then why not favor the guy with experience and a pedigree over a guy who is effectively a redshirt freshman. Should be an interesting summer for QB’s in several NFL cities.

  9. Can any QB get more than 2 ysr to lead the Browns? This idiotic idea of getting a new one every 2 yrs is insane! Heres an idea, let him learn the system, gel with players, learn the nfl and get better over the years. No one will come in here and take browns to playoffs in first couple years, Browns fans need to learn patience.

  10. “Current starter Brandon Weeden, whose [sic] less than four months younger than Anderson, is trying to play like a guy who has nothing to lose.”

    Hey Florio, hire a proofreader/editor.

  11. I’m not sure how people defend Anderson. He had every opportunity to win the starting job in Arizona once he left Cleveland and didn’t. Just like people saying McCoy wasn’t given a fair shot. Dude was a 3rd round pick who is short with a weak arm. Doesn’t sound like a franchise QB to me. No QB leaves Cleveland and has success which, to me, means they aren’t good to begin with.

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