The Cleveland Browns are frequently an embarrassing team. Last year, then-rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden was a major contributor to that embarrassment. He is the star of many a YouTube blooper video, and more than one expert ranked him the worst starting QB in the NFL.
Now, for reasons I can’t comprehend, NFL prognosticators and fantasy football experts are excited about Weeden. He’s the most improved quarterback in the league, I hear. He might lead the Browns to a .500 season or better. He’s got the kind of long-distance throwing talent you can’t teach. He does not, despite all evidence, completely suck.
It’s impossible to argue with the power in his passing. He’s a former Major League Baseball pitcher, and he can send fast, targeted missiles dozens of yards up the field. But for a quarterback, innate physical ability is nothing without instincts and strategic intelligence, and Weeden has yet to demonstrate either. If you’re going to attempt a 35-yard pass, you need to make sure someone is there to catch it on the other end, and Weeden doesn’t have a consistent eye for that.
Most of the time, when talking about second-year players with loads of raw talent and inconsistent execution, we assume they’ll grow into the role. Weeden doesn’t have that luxury, though. The NFL is his second career -– he started playing pro football after his MLB pitching career ended –- and he’ll turn 30 this fall. Time is not on his side.
So can we stop getting Cleveland’s hopes up? It’s just mean.
You can contact Sarah Rasher on Twitter @pas_dechat