Brandon Weeden must have known when being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in April of 2012, the odds would not be in his favor to be entrenched as a starter for long considering he was one of 19 starting quarterbacks the team has fielded since the 1999 season.
Doomed by continuous organizational change, from ownership through the front office and coaching staff, the Browns have been the model of "what not to be" in the NFL.
Impatience as an organization to stick with a plan and impotence as an organization in securing adequate talent is the reality that has followed the Browns for nearly every season since 1999. As important as the quarterback position is today, every time this organization has selected a quarterback to lead the team they have selected the wrong guy.
The Browns’ brain trust of team president Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert panicked on draft-day in 2012, as the necessity to get a quarterback led to the selection of Weeden with the 22nd overall pick.
A year and a half later and following the Browns’ latest loss, a 31-13 thrashing by the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 20, the book Weeden needs to be closed.
The book doesn’t need to be closed because the Browns lost yet another game on Sunday and not because of his well-documented struggles of inconsistency, but because of his inability to grow as a player at the professional level. The speed of the game and Weeden’s hesitancy on the playing field has only created additional issues for a team already seeking an identity.
From his lack of pocket awareness to his inability to see the play develop to every rocket pass he throws without touch, Weeden is proving he doesn't have the skill set to be an effective quarterback in the NFL not now and probably not ever.
But, boy can he tease with his ability to throw an accurate rope downfield every once in awhile.
As teammates rallied around Weeden publicly, there has been a level of uncertainty surrounding him. With each poorly thrown ball, with each missed opportunity, the body language of his teammates tells another story.
This season, the AFC North Division appears to be in a weakened state and the Browns were in position to be a player through five games, rather than the customary whipping boy.
The Browns were hopeful Weeden's play would improve following his two-game reprieve because of a thumb injury.
Brian Hoyer’s season-ending knee injury proved to be catastrophic. In the two games since Hoyer’s injury, Weeden's performance has been terribly inconsistent. In game film reviews, the number of poor throws and missed opportunities that are conservatively noted are anywhere from 18 to 22. On average, three plays in an NFL game change the complexion or outcome.
The Browns’ struggles shouldn't be solely viewed as a "Weeden" problem, despite his central role within the Browns model of offensive mediocrity.
While Weeden's lack of accuracy often places receivers in difficult situations, dropped passes, improperly run routes and the overall lack of execution week-in and week-out plague the Weeden-led Browns on game day.
Strangely, the Browns offense was much quicker and effective while Hoyer was under center. Sure, patches of offensive ineptitude continued, but the offense would rebound during the game and the team won.
In the end, it's about winning and the Browns — along with Weeden — just are not getting it done.
And so it’s onto the 20th starting quarterback in Cleveland since 1999, as veteran Jason Campbell should get the nod to see if the Browns’ fortunes can be reversed before it is too late.