Chud has no choice but to stick with Weeden

CLEVELAND – You knew it was coming after what happened Sunday afternoon at First Energy Stadium, but Browns coach Rob Chudzinski might not have expected it right out of the gate.

With the crazy, one-handed flip of what we think was a pass attempt by quarterback Brandon Weeden still a burning issue, Chudzinski was asked if he’s contemplating a change at quarterback when the Browns play in Green Bay on Sunday.

The answer was a simple “no.”

If only running the offense was simple instead of the tooth-extracting experience it seems to be with Weeden on the field. He had an opportunity to lead the charge on a drive late in the fourth quarter that would have tied the score against the Detroit Lions with a touchdown.

Everyone who follows the Browns knows what happened. Flushed from the pocket and his feet having been grabbed, Weeden tossed the ball in a back-handed style with the intention of it going over the head of running back Chris Ogbonnaya and out of bounds.

Instead, the ball fluttered high in the air like a duck that has been struck by a hunter’s bullet, landing softly in the grasp of Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy.

The Lions added another touchdown in a 31-17 win, dropping the Browns to 3-3 and, with consecutive road tests against the Packers and undefeated Kansas City Chiefs up next, making one wonder when the next win will occur.

Whenever it happens, Weeden, barring an injury, will be at quarterback. What other option does Chudzinski have other than to go with journeyman Jason Campbell?

Now isn’t the time to act in a rash manner and bench Weeden, although the play he referred to as “bone-headed” is plenty of ammo if Chudzinski wanted to make a change.

The plan instead will be to stick with Weeden and see if he can make better decisions. That’s the way any competent team would handle the situation in preparations for an offseason full of high draft choices and a bountiful amount of college quarterback prospects.

“This was one game,” Chudzinski said. “I thought that Brandon played well in spurts, and at times he made a couple of critical mistakes.”

In this rush to blame Weeden for everything from the loss Sunday to the bad economy in Cleveland, it shouldn’t be forgotten that the defense looked ordinary after a run of good performances. The pass rush was anemic (high-priced linebacker Paul Kruger seemed non-existent) and there were coverage breakdowns.

Many of the problems surfaced in the second half, which has been the case in each of the losses. The Browns, who have led at the half of all six games, have been outscored by a 55-3 margin in the second half of their defeats.

“It’s the thing you look at from a coaching standpoint,” Chudzinski said. “It really just boils down to those critical decisions and mistakes that he (Weeden) made yesterday.

“There are also mistakes from other guys, too. At times we didn’t have anybody open and he’s trying to find somebody. At times we made some mental mistakes, whether it was in the run game or the protections or routes or whatever they are. Obviously the quarterback is the guy that everybody sees and that’s part of the job, but we all have to get better and play more consistently.”

It would be nice if that starts happening in Green Bay.