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Changes are coming

October 21, 2013 - Mike McLain
CLEVELAND -- Fans that have been clamoring for the removal of quarterback Brandon Weeden from the Browns' starting lineup might get their wish.

Coach Rob Chudzinski said Monday that he would meet with front office personnel to decide Weeden's future. It's possible that Weeden will be forced to step aside in favor of Jason Campbell when the Browns play on the road Sunday against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs.

Weeden had another terrible showing in a 31-13 loss to the Packers, completing 17-of-42 passes for 149 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He looked rattled and played with a lack of confidence. His poor play seems to be filtering to others areas of the roster.

The worst thing that can happen to a quarterback is when teammates lose faith in him. Other players continue to express confidence in Weeden, but they have no choice to say anything else.

It seems evident since Weeden returned to the lineup following a knee injury that ended Brian Hoyer's season that his teammates are confused. There was a clear belief in them that they could win consistently with Hoyer. They won't say it, but there has to be concern about the shrinking chances of winning when Weeden plays.

“I think that our guys are looking at themselves, and we have plenty of places and plenty of opportunity to get better," Chudzinski said. "By no means is it one guy, and it certainly wasn’t a perfect game by anybody. I don’t sense that. Those guys know and I can guarantee that we’re going to put the best guys out there and the guys that give us the best chance to win. That’s what we’ll always do.”

This is Chudzinski's first "gut" decision in his initial season as coach. The call to start Hoyer ahead of Campbell when Weeden sprained his right thumb was easy. Hoyer performed better in training camp. Campbell might not have been signed if the Browns knew that Hoyer would become available.

Chudzinski has no choice other than to go with Campbell. He could stick with Weeden, but for what end result? More losses? Probably a declining belief in him among teammates.

"It's not all Brandon; that’s the first thing you have to look at as you look at the tape and see," Chudzinski said. "There’s some execution errors and issues with other guys. Brandon needs to play better, but we all need to play better around him. We’ll go through that process, talking about that, and come up with the plan that gives us the best chance to win.”

There's a lot of coach-speak in that comment. Behind closed doors, far from the glare of the media, Chudzinski and general manager Michael Lombardi are probably echoing the belief of most fans.

Weeden simply isn't a NFL quarterback. The time has arrived to quit thinking that time will cure all his shortcomings. It didn't for Brady Quinn and a host of other quarterbacks that have come through Berea, and we're seeing it's not happening for Weeden.

Hoyer will probably be the starter at the outset of next season. You can bet a fresh-faced rookie off a college campus will be the number two guy.


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