A Real No-Shocker: Browns Cut QBs Weeden And Campbell
By Steven King
To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Cleveland Browns released quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell on Wednesday.
To the surprise of everyone, it took the team until Day 2 of the NFL ree-agent signing period to do it.
They had both been out of the Browns’ plans for a long time.
After he had failed miserably in the opening two games of 2013 in his last-ditch chance to prove himself, it was a foregone conclusion that Weeden would be gone. The No. 22 overall choice in the 2012 NFL Draft, he had an up-and-down rookie season and, if CEO Joe Banner and general manager Mike Lombardi had had their way when they teamed up to take over the team’s operations after that season, Weeden would have been gone right then.
But new head coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner convinced the executives to let them go forward into the 2013 season with Weeden as the starter. They argued that Turner’s vertical passing scheme suited Weeden much better than the pitch-and-catch type of throws he was asked to make in head coach Pat Shurmur’s version of the West Coast offense in 2012.
It was obvious right away, however, that it wasn’t going to work out, and even though Weeden returned as a starter later in the season after the Browns were decimated by injuries at the position, there was no way that Chudzinski and Turner would want him back even if they had been retained. When they were unceremoniously fired just hours after the season ended, new head coach Mike Pettine also could readily see that Weeden couldn’t play despite the fact he has a defense-heavy coaching resume. You didn’t need to be an offensive guru to figure it out.
Weeden threw for 23 touchdowns and 26 interceptions in his two seasons with the Browns, and as unimpressive as those statistics are, they began even more so when it is considered that he failed to pass for scores when the Browns really needed them, and also that his interceptions seemed to come when the club could least afford them.
As for Campbell, the well-traveled veteran – the Browns became his third team in as many years and fourth overall in his nine-year career when they signed him as a free agent last offseason – came on and played well in spurts. But he was only so-so overall with 11 TD passes and eight picks. At 32 – he will be 33 by the end of next season – and with a new regime coming in, he had no chance to stick with the Browns.
As such, Campbell and Weeden did their part to continue the quarterback carousel that has bedeviled the Browns in the expansion era, doing much to cause them to have just two winning records and only one playoff appearance in 15 seasons. If Pettine and new general manager Ray Farmer want to keep their jobs, then they will have to get this position straightened out once and for all. For in doing so, they will likely be making the team a winner at long last. They would be suceeding on two fronts.
In one additional order of Browns business on Wednesday, Pettine relied on his days spent as the defensive coordinator of the New York Jets to convince Farmer to sign free-agent CB Isaiah Trufant. Having been with the Jets since being signed as a rookie free agent in 2010, he will play special teams.