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Back to Weeden
October 4, 2013 - Mike McLain
CLEVELAND -- If you're among those that think Brandon Weeden isn't the answer to the Browns' longstanding problems at quarterback, your worst nightmares are about to play out again.
After missing three starts (two because of a sprained right thumb), Weeden is back as the starter. The news became official Friday when coach Rob Chudzinski announced that Brian Hoyer tore the ACL in his right knee in the first quarter of a 37-24 win over the Buffalo Bills.
Weeden played fairly well considering his lack of preparation in relief of Hoyer. He completed 13-of-24 passes for 197 yards and a 37-yard touchdown strike to receiver Josh Gordon against the Bills.
That, however, was one game. Weeden, who's been a model of inconsistency in his short NFL career, needs more winning efforts to win over fans and, more importantly, a front office that believed Hoyer was a better option.
Perhaps the worst part of the scenario is that coach Rob Chudzinski, general manager Michael Lombardi and CEO Joe Banner won't have a big book on Hoyer when mapping offseason strategy next year. Two games -- albeit wins over the Vikings and Bengals -- aren't t enough to say with certainty that Hoyer is the guy to stick with for the long-term future.
When the Browns shocked the NFL world by trading running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2014 first-round draft choice, the immediate belief was that they were making plans to select one of several talented quarterbacks available in the daft. What better way to move up high enough to land Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville than to package two number ones, assuming the Browns' pick isn't high enough on its own to land land the quarterback.
The flip side is that the front office will have a big book on Weeden, assuming he doesn't suffer another injury. Any lingering questions about his skills should be answered by the time January rolls around.
For the first time in a long time the Browns are clearly building something positive. The Hoyer injury is a bump in the road that could easily be smoothed over with a strong finish to the season and a productive offseason.
Weeden has to play his part in the process, which means convincing several high-profile men that he can get the job done.
It's a 50/50 proposition at best.
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