Scouting report on Weeden still unclear
CLEVELAND – Rob Chudzinski’s analysis of Browns second-year quarterback Brandon Weeden can lead you in two directions.
Asked this week how close Weeden is to being the quarterback he wants to be, Chudzinski said, “I think he’s right on track.”
On track for what? Stardom and a string of Pro Bowl appearances or a plane ticket out of town next year?
The expectations for Weeden on the eve of the 2013 season opener against the Miami Dolphins are vague at best. It would be foolish of anyone to assume all the problems he exhibited last season will suddenly disappear as he makes an easy assimilation into the offense being coordinated by Norv Turner.
On the other hand there’s that enticing talent possessed by Weeden – strong arm, accurate when given time to step up in the pocket. It makes you wonder if he can indeed be special.
The theory on NFL quarterbacks is that their rookie years can often be thrown out with the garbage. Year two is when their careers start to either ascend or descend.
“You can’t simulate reps in practice,” Weeden said. “It’s just part of playing this position. In practice it’s just a little different feel in the pocket. You kind of know what to expect. If you go backward, that’s not a good thing. Everyone says your biggest jump is from year one to year two.”
Turner’s name comes up in almost every conversation concerning Weeden. He has a reputation for working successfully with quarterbacks, most notably the time he spent tutoring San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers as the head coach.
Turner, who doesn’t reveal many details during press conferences, wasn’t about to throw Weeden under the proverbial bus when asked about the quarterback’s progress. Turner was still coaching in San Diego when the Browns used the 22nd overall pick on Weeden in 2012.
“My role in this was to give evaluations,” Turner said of the decision to pass on quarterbacks in this year’s draft and stick with Weeden. “There are some people mentioned that I like and will be really good players.
“I think you know I think he has the physical ability to play. He’s done the things you want him to do and he’s made progress. Obviously you want to see him go further.”
A big chunk of whatever success Chudzinski enjoys in his first season as a head coach will ride on Weeden’s right arm. He agrees with Turner that progress has been made, but that more work remains.
“He needs to continue to progress at the experience level where he’s at,” Chudzinski said. “Each game guys tend to get better. The more experiences they have, the more they learn and the more that they grow through time.”
In other words, Weeden needs to stay on track.
“It will be good to get out when it means something,” Weeden said. “We did some good things in the preseason. I had a lot to learn from. I’m on track. I’m not satisfied. I want to keep continuing to keep getting better.”
So do countless thousands of Browns fans.