Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

The worst-kept secret in the NFL

The Cleveland Browns made official on Monday what everyone has known since the night of April 27:

Brandon Weeden will be the starting quarterback this season.

“Brandon Weeden will start the Detroit game, and he’ll be our starter as we go forward here,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur told The Beacon Journal. “The No. 2 position will be determined based on how things play out here in training camp. Brandon’s the starter, and we’re moving forward. I think that’s the important thing. I’m not looking back. We’re committing and we’re rolling. We anticipate he’s gonna do a great job.

“I think he’s an outstanding thrower. He knows how to play the position. He’s a good decision maker. He’s working through the progressions and understands where the ball goes. He’s accurate, and I think when he gets in the huddle he’s wired right to play the position.”

Weeden, who has practiced with the first-team offense since the start of training camp, sounds ready to go.

“I’m excited obviously,” Weeden said. “I’m excited about it. I think I’ve been busting my tail for 10 practices now. I put in a lot of work, lots of studying. I’ve had some ups, had some downs, but I think I’ve come a long ways. Hearing the news, it’s obviously exciting but my preparation’s not gonna change. I’m gonna go about it the same way I’ve been going about it and continue to get better as a player, continue to be a leader on this football team.”

“The stuff I’m comfortable with, I’m really comfortable with, if that makes sense,” he told ESPN. “There’s obviously stuff I really like and there’s stuff I’m still getting comfortable with, and terminology I’m still learning. It’s still a learning process. It’s going to take me some time to get it down where I feel comfortable with everything I do. I’ve done a pretty good job of taking advantage of every single rep.”

The news didn’t sit well with the incumbent starter, Colt McCoy, even though McCoy had to have known this day was coming sooner or later.

“I would like to say that I haven’t taken any snaps in walk through or in practice with the first group,” McCoy said. “I thought coming in it would be a competition. But again, I’ve come out here and competed my tail off, and I’ve really worked hard to get better and improve, and I know I have and I know our team has. So from that standpoint I am OK.”

The best thing for McCoy – and for the Browns as well – is to keep his mouth shut and continue doing what he’s been doing. If he really is NFL material, the opportunity will be there, either in Cleveland (through injury) or somewhere else.

As for Weeden, it will be nice to see the Browns go through a preseason like a normal NFL team, with a starting quarterback in place preparing for the regular season and no nonsense about coin flips or not naming a starter for “competitive reasons.”

ESPNU has been showing college games from last season on a regular basis lately and Oklahoma State seems to be a part of a lot of them. We caught the fourth quarter of Weeden’s game against Kansas State and, holy smokes, did that put a hop in our step.

There are certainly going to be rough spots during the upcoming season for Weeden – after all, there are no Big 12 defenses in the AFC North (well, maybe Cincinnati) – but if he turns out to be the real deal, the Browns may have finally solved a major roster problem.

(Photo by ClevelandBrowns.com)

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