By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
The Morning Kickoff …
Back to where it ended: The Browns haven’t won a game with Brandon Weeden at starting quarterback since Dec. 9.
The opponent was the Kansas City Chiefs and the Browns rolled, 30-7. But those Chiefs weren’t exactly the same Chiefs the Browns will see Sunday in Kansas City.
This is how long ago Weeden’s last victory was: The quarterback that day for the Chiefs was Brady Quinn. One of their running backs was Peyton Hillis. Their head coach was Romeo Crennel. Their general manager was Scott Pioli. Gone, gone, gone, gone.
The Chiefs arrived in Cleveland on that day with a 2-10 record. They didn’t win another game.
Now they are 7-0, the season’s only undefeated team. Their quarterback is Alex Smith. Their coach is Andy Reid. Their general manager is John Dorsey.
Changes of fortune happen that quickly in the NFL. Just not in Cleveland.
This could be the last time: When he greets the media on Wednesday morning, Browns coach Rob Chudzinski is expected to say that Weeden will remain the starting quarterback Sunday in Kansas City.
“He gives us the best chance of winning,” the coach might say.
He may be right, but I believe that this could be Weeden’s last start.
Because if Weeden implodes again in Kansas City and falls to 0-5 as a starter this season, if he loses his seventh game in a row as the starting quarterback, if he sails uncatchable balls out of bounds, if he attempts another bizarre delivery of the ball – backhanded, underhanded, between his legs, standing on his head, whatever – which will confirm beyond any shadow of doubt that his brains have become scrambled eggs, and will suck the air out of everyone on the Browns’ sideline. He would be toast and could not possibly be introduced as the starter the following week in FirstEnergy Stadium.
Weeden heard boos when he entered the Buffalo game in relief of injured Brian Hoyer on the night of Oct. 3. By the end of that wild night, fans were happy to get out of there with a 37-24 victory. Reality sunk in the next day when Hoyer’s knee injury was confirmed as season-ending.
In the subsequent two games in which Weeden started, the Browns have been outscored by 62 to 30, and Weeden has had brutal performances against Detroit and Green Bay: 43 of 85 for 441 yards, three touchdowns, three interceptions and a passer rating of 62.9.
It was enough for fans to pine for unused and totally ignored backup Jason Campbell, and outcast NFL vets such as Vince Young, Tim Tebow … even Quinn, who became available for a few days only to be snatched up by the desperate St. Louis Rams.
So absurd has become the Browns’ quarterback situation that 2004 Browns starter Jeff Garcia – who is 43 years old and has not played in five years – admitted in an interview on 92.3 The Fan that he recently called the Browns and asked for a tryout. (They said no thanks.)
On Campbell: Why are the Browns so reluctant to give Campbell a chance?
He wasn’t very impressive in training camp, opted out of the fourth preseason game because he became ill, and then had one bad possession in Game 2 in Baltimore that originated at the Browns’ 1 and ended with his own underhanded pass attempt.
Campbell, who is 22 months older than Weeden, last played in a meaningful game on Oct. 16, 2011. In that game in Oakland, Campbell suffered a broken collarbone on a collision with Browns linebackers Scott Fujita and Chris Gocong. Since then, Campbell has appeared in seven games, starting one.
If Weeden suffers another horrendous day Sunday in Kansas City, the Browns would do Weeden a favor and the rest of the team, never mind the rest of us, by ushering in the Campbell era next Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
Return to: Grossi Stories Blog