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Cleveland Browns: Is the Bye Week the Perfect Time to Cut Ties With Brandon Weeden?
As the Cleveland Browns enter their Week 10 bye week with a win over the Baltimore Ravens, spirits are riding high as the team sits at a record of 4-5—their best start since 2007. With their third starting quarterback of the season, Jason Campbell, at the helm the Browns were able to defeat the Ravens for the first time since November of 2007, a span of 11 games.
Emotions were at an all-time high on Sunday afternoon in Cleveland as the Browns took on their division rival, but the defining moment of emotion came when Campbell was knocked out of the game after sustaining a hit in the first quarter. As former starting quarterback, Brandon Weeden, took snaps and warmed up while Campbell was being attended to on the field, boos rained down on the former Oklahoma State signal-caller as he jogged out on the field.
With the Browns up 7-3 at the time, the loss of Campbell and unknown extent of his injury sent a quiet doom over the stadium. At the same time, the mere sight of Weeden on the field yet again ignited fear and hatred in a fanbase that wants nothing more than to never see him wear No. 3 for the Cleveland Browns ever again.
Weeden’s performance was exactly what everyone expected; a negative pass and an incomplete pass after a 15-yard penalty on wide receiver Greg Little put the Browns at 2nd and 21 before Weeden had a chance to do anything. One series was all he got, as Campbell trudged back onto the field on the next series—showered with cheers and a standing ovation usually reserved for heroes and saviors in a movie.
It was quite obvious in just one series that Weeden will never again earn the trust of the fans in Cleveland, but more importantly it was obvious the boos and lack of support from those fans had him rattled. And being rattled when the starting quarterback goes down to injury is something a team fighting for the playoffs cannot have at this stage of the season.
With the Browns entering the bye week, there is no time like the present to finally cut ties with Weeden. After making all the excuses in the world for Weeden during his time here and asking fans to give him time, the writing is even on the wall for this writer. When a guy with as much starting experience as Weeden cannot be a calming presence off the bench in a tight game, he officially does not have a role on the team anymore.
Quietly, it seems the Browns front office has been angling for this move as well.
Last week they attempted to once again steal a player from the Green Bay Packers practice squad, as quarterback Scott Tolzien was targeted by the Browns front office and offered a spot on the active roster. Tolzien declined, receiving a pay bump from $6,000 a week to $32,000 a week to remain on the Packers practice squad. It would have been intriguing to see who the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart was if the Browns had been awarded Tolzien.
If the Browns do decide to cut ties with Weeden, one player who could be in the mix is Matt Flynn—who was cut by the Buffalo Bills on Monday as E.J. Manuel made his return to the team. Flynn has long been a target by Browns fans as someone who could come in a be a backup, and with his poise shown off the bench during his career, he could be just the guy to end Weeden’s tenure in Cleveland.
With Campbell’s injury history always a concern, the Browns need someone they trust to be waiting in the wings in case history repeats itself. With 13 days until their next game against the Bengals, now is the perfect time to bring in another quarterback and end the Weeden era in Cleveland once and for all.
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