Once is fluke, twice is a trend.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden opened the preseason last week in stunning fashion. His performance - 10-for-13 passing for 112 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions - was a huge relief to Browns fans.
Not so much for head coach Rob Chudzinski.
“I think (the quarterback competition) is still close,” Chudzinski said on Tuesday. “We are finding out every game. These games are important opportunities for guys to show what they can do.”
OK, coach. You may not have been in Cleveland since 2007 and we have had to watch a lot of crappy football, but we know football. There is no need to talk down to us.
Jason Campbell hasn’t seen any - if at all - time with the first team. Weeden started the first preseason game and he’ll start against the second game, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15 at home against the Detroit Lions.
We’re not dumb.
Competition is good, yes. Making these players earn their spots is important. But don’t blow up my sensible A-line skirt from Ann Taylor and tell me it was just the breeze.
We all know Weeden will go into the first week against the Miami Dolphins as the starter. It is only when the games start to count that Weeden will either make his claim for the position for years to come or force the Browns’ front office to look elsewhere beginning next spring.
Vanilla Has Flavor
Never mind the Browns offense was basic or that they faced a Rams defense that played basic formations, Weeden thankfully put up solid numbers and moved the offense. It was an offense that didn’t look stagnant. It was an offense that, while basic, looked like modern football. If you remember, Weeden’s first preseason game last year against the Lions, he was 3-for-9 for 62 yards passing with no touchdowns and one interception.
The goal for the second preseason game is to have Weeden continue to look confident, poised and progressed.
This will be the first of two meetings with Lions this season, but this is really the only one that counts - the Great Lakes Classic. The teams may have shied away referring to that moniker, but you and I both know the barge is one the line.
Here’s another look at that gorgeous trophy:
Get Trent Work, Then Get Him Outta There
Browns running back Trent Richardson will see some work after his much ballyhooed injury issues. Give him a few carries, let’s get him warmed up, but also let’s not get crazy. He is a valuable commodity. Save him for the regular season. He doesn’t want to play the rest of the preseason. Fine! Be ready and healthy for Sept. 8.
The Browns’ front seven may be ratcheting up the pressure nowadays and Barkevious Mingo looked like he may be the real deal last week, but if he and his teammates don’t get to the opposing quarterbacks, it could spell trouble.
Rookie cornerback Leon McFadden isn’t expected to play, but Chris Owens and Buster Skrine will play.
“Both of those guys have really shown a lot,” Chudzinski said.
Maybe, but on the whole, it wasn’t pretty for the secondary last week. Trevin Wade was burned for a 59-yard pass reception helping the Rams’ starting quarterback, Sam Bradford, finished 5-for-8 for 102 yards passing with a touchdown.
It could be a long year for the Browns’ defense if the back four doesn’t tighten up their coverage. What better way to get tested than against that freak-of-nature Calvin Johnson?
The Owen Marecic Watch
He’s still on the team and still listed behind Chris Ogbonnaya as the No. 2 fullback.