Too early to get excited
It’s only one game. And a meaningless game at that.
That’s why the Browns’ 27-19 exhibition victory over the St. Louis Rams Thursday night can’t be taken too seriously from the standpoint of the quarterbacking.
Relax, folks. Yes, Brandon Weeden looked good in his brief stint. But let’s not get carried away and hang a star on him just yet.
Granted, he looked far better that at any time during the exhibition season last year. But he was a rookie then, working in a system that was totally foreign to him.
Now he’s being coached by someone far more competent than his handlers last season and it shows. It was obvious he played at a comfort and confidence level against the Rams he never reached all last season.
He knew exactly what he wanted to do. He stepped into throws, showed a relatively quick release and displayed a self-assurance that was missing last season. His 10-for-13 evening, one touchdown was the biggest surprise.
As for the other quarterbacks on the roster, let’s also not get too excited about Jason Campbell’s 6-for-7 performance or Brian Hoyer’s touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. By the time the regular season starts, those accomplishments will be a well-faded memory.
At the risk of belaboring the point, Weeden will be under center – or in the shotgun and maybe even the pistol – when the Miami Dolphins invade for the Sept. 8 season opener. Chisel it.
Between now and then, he’ll play about half of the exhibition against the Detroit Lions next Thursday, roughly three quarters of the third exhibition in Indianapolis on Aug. 24 and maybe a series or two in the exhibition finale in Chicago on Aug. 29.
In that time, he’ll throw some nice passes, probably a few interceptions and sometimes make you wonder just how in the hell could he throw that pass. It’s all part of getting ready for the games that mean something.
Because he’s in a new system, it’s almost imperative that coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner maximize the number of snaps Weeden needs to be sharp for the Dolphins. He needs to reach a comfort level that would buoy his confidence.
One of the reasons Weeden got off to such a slow start last season was the minimal number of snaps he took in the exhibitions. The snaps he needed to effectively run the offense were left in the locker room.
However, don’t look for Chudzinski and Turner to deviate from the time-honored plan that has been followed ever since the National Football League pared the exhibition schedule back to four games in 1978. It’s a formula from which coaches will not deviate.
Weeden thus will not get the reps he need, Once the regular season begins and the speed of the game ramps up, he most likely will not be prepared for the change.
In order for him to be sharp, he needs more game to time up with his receivers. Offense is all about timing and rhythm. The more snaps you take, the more polished you become. It becomes almost like rote.
The great quarterbacks don’t require it as much as the younger ones. They acclimate faster to the regular season. Right now, Weeden is nowhere near that status.