It's pretty much assumed that Browns CEO Joe Banner will be the busiest man in Cleveland in January.
On his list of things to do will be finding a new general manager and a new head coach. Current GM Tom Heckert has already lost control, which is one reason why he took time to chat with reporters for 20 minutes last week. It was, in effect, an impromptu, going-away press conference.
The only thing outside of about 10 wins that would have saved coach Pat Shurmur's job was if former owner Randy Lerner had resisted James Haslam's billion-dollar bid to purchase the team.
Next on Banner's list could be quarterback Brandon Weeden. The next GM and coach will have something to say about Weeden's future, but you can be sure that Banner, armed with an invincible sense of power, will ultimately make that call.
It will be a difficult decision based on the inconclusive results of this season. Weeden shook off a terrible start against the Eagles in the opener and made steady progress through a week seven game against the Colts.
The Browns lost, 17-13, but Weeden outplayed Andrew Luck with a 25-of-41 performance for 264 yards and two touchdowns. Josh Gordon dropped a sure touchdown pass of 41 yards that would have won the game.
Since then it's been a rocky ride for Weeden, although the Browns have won four of seven games since that loss. The usual problems that haunt rookies have surfaced, including indecision, errant throws and improper reads.
It takes a special combination of intellect and physical ability to excel at quarterback in the NFL. It's almost easy in the college game. Quarterbacks line in the shotgun, spread the defense with three- and four-receiver formations and rarely see press coverage from cornerbacks.
Weeden looks slightly overwhelmed by it all 14 games through the season. In September and October he appeared more at-ease and confident, relying on an aggressive, get-it-down-the-field philosophy. More than three months of coaching has programmed him into a more robotic quarterback. His free-lance manner has given way to an over-analytical style that doesn't suit him well.
Weeden has benefitted all season from generally strong pass protection. He began to rely on it as a way of taking time to make the right decision. Now, with so many thoughts darting through his mind, he's starting to look like Brady Quinn without the bodybuilder's physique. Nothing seems to be happening quickly.
You have to wonder if Shurmur's west-coast offense is the right fit for Weeden's big-armed, vertical game. He's actually accurate throwing on crossing routes (when passes aren't being knocked down at the line of scrimmage).
The west coast offense requires a quarterback with pinpoint accuracy in the short to medium range game. That's what Colt McCoy was supposed to be but wasn't when he had his opportunity last season.
Weeden will probably never be a 70 percent or better passer. He is what he is, which is a quarterback that can stretch defenses with corners, posts, deep comebacks and fades.
Could you have imagined taking John Elway fresh out of Stanford and fitting him into a west-coast system? What a waste of unbelievable talent that would have been, even if he had mastered the offense.
Weeden will never be compared to Elway, which doesn't matter in the big picture. After a long stretch of bad quarterback play that started with Tim Couch in 1999, all the Browns need is consistency.
Making a quick and drastic decision on Weeden's future after one season would be a mistake. With no sure things available near the top of the draft and free agency always providing a mixed bag, Banner might be wise to stick with Weeden for another year.