Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Brandon Weeden one of Browns biggest disappointments

browns cut weedenThe Cleveland Browns continued cleaning house on Wednesday, releasing quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell.

“First and foremost, the Browns would like to thank Brandon and his agent for being true professionals,” general manager Ray Farmer said in a statement. “The circumstances in which he found himself were not easy for him or the team. After discussions with Brandon and his agent, we’d like to give him the ability to pursue other opportunities.”

The moves were not unexpected as neither quarterback is very good. Things went downhill quickly for Campbell after he posted a “moral victory” in his first start and he eventually finished the season with a 1-7 record.

Things were even worse for Weeden, but his demise is more disappointing.

When the Browns selected Weeden with their second first-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft it was a bit of a gamble because of his age – 28. But after throwing for 9.260 yards, 75 touchdowns and setting 15 school records at Oklahoma State, Weeden seemed to have the talent to be an NFL quarterback.

Weeden teased Browns fans in the season opener that fall, hitting Mohamed Massaquoi with a 24-yard pass on his first offensive series. But then reality hit and Weeden finished the day with just 118 passing yards, two fumbles and four interceptions.

It was a performance that would become familiar to Browns fans over the past two seasons.

We were willing to give Weeden a second chance after his rookie season, believing that head coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner would be able to turn him into, if not a great quarterback, at least a viable one. But that didn’t work out and now Weeden’s time in Cleveland – and possibly, the NFL – has come to an end.

Weeden leaves town with a 5-15 record, just 23 touchdown passes against 26 interceptions and 12 fumbles, and a quarterback rating of 71.8. He also leaves behind $4.2 million in dead money on the team’s salary cap for 2014.

In a lot of ways, he is one of the most disappointing players on the Browns since the team returned in 1999. There have been other quarterbacks, sure, but few if any of the quarterbacks that the Browns have employed during the past 14 years came to the team with his college credentials.

While much has been made of the fact that the Browns have used 20-plus quarterbacks since 1999, Weeden joins a much longer and more frustrating list, one that dates back to when the franchise joined the NFL in 1950.

Since that time, the Browns have drafted six quarterbacks in the first round of the NFL Draft – Bobby Garrett (1951), Harry Agganis (1952), Mike Phipps (1970), Tim Couch (1999), Brady Quinn (2007) and Weeden – and none of them have had success in the NFL.

Going even deeper, the Browns have drafted 14 quarterbacks in the first three rounds – six of whom never started a game in the NFL and four of whom never even got into a game. Only two of those 14 ever started a playoff game, Milt Plum and Phipps, and Plum is the only one to make the Pro Bowl.

So when it comes to bad quarterback play and the Browns, Weeden wasn’t anything we haven’t seen before in this town.

With the release of Weeden and Campbell, the only quarterbacks currently on the roster are Brian Hoyer and Alex Tanney. While the Browns are still being linked to a veteran quarterback, it seems even more likely that they will draft a quarterback come May.

If the Browns decide to go that route, Farmer will be trying to buck more than 60 years of bad luck when it comes to finding a quarterback.

And if he misses? Well, Weeden can save the next quarterback a seat at the bad Browns quarterback reunion.

(Photo by The Associated Press)

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