By: Will Burge
In the NFL, the winds of change can blow so swiftly that a player can be swept from his starting spot on one team to an entirely different roster in the blink of an eye. Brandon Weeden, who was drafted 22nd overall by the Browns last season and started all but one game, is not immune to the turbulent weather of regime change.
In the past seven days, new head coach Rob Chudzinksi and new Vice President of Player Personnel Michael Lombardi have both deferred any analysis on the 29 year old quarterback until they can “study the tape.”
For Chuzinski, this makes perfect sense. He was the offensive coordinator in Carolina and would have never had any reason to study Weeden on film. Lombardi, on the other hand, made his living as an analyst for NFL Network and said in his introductory press conference that he had an office in the NFL films building.
Lombardi called the selection of Weeden a “panicked disaster” after the draft, but said during his introductory press conference that any analysis he had on Weeden was from a media mentality and not as someone who “lives with the team.” Lombardi says he will need to watch practice film from last season to truly get a sense of where Weeden is at in his development.
To be fair, Lombardi is correct in saying media analysis differs heavily from that of a player personnel director. For example, I watch the game film multiple times each week but only get to watch about 15 minutes of practice each day. How does Weeden adjust to game plans from week to week? How does Weeden bounce back from bad practices? Was Weeden being coached up properly?
Those questions can only be answered by people inside the building who have access to practice film.
lombardi's most curious statement was when he said Josh Gordon “has nothing to worry about.” This was in reaction to Gordon tweeting, “Uh oh, am I in trouble?” when the news broke about Lombardi’s hire. (Lombardi called Gordon a waste of a draft pick when the Browns selected him in the second round of the supplemental draft.)
How can Lombardi say Gordon has nothing to worry about but be so mum when it comes to Weeden?
It is a safe assumption that if Weeden makes it to training camp, he will have to win over the Browns new front office.
Chudzinski said today that he and Weeden spoke on the phone and the conversation “went good.” He said Brandon was excited to get started and about the direction of the team.
The direction of the team, however, will now depend on the evaluation of Joe Banner, Michael Lombardi, and Rob Chudzinski. Weeden’s future will be a huge part of the team’s direction.
It has often been said that “no news is good news." It remains to be seen if the old adage rings true for Brandon Weeden.
|Will Burge covers the Browns for ESPNCleveland.com and hosts 3 Deep, Monday - Friday from 7pm-9pm.|
Follow Will on Twitter @WillBurge
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