Saturday, November 30, 2013

Keep Weeden healthy

As sick as this sounds, it would not surprise to hear fans Sunday root for Brandon Weeden to get injured early against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Not seriously, of course. But just enough to ensure he doesn’t play the rest of the game.

Many fans really don’t like Weeden because, well, he isn’t the quarterback the Browns envisioned when they selected him in the first round of the 2012 college football draft.

His mere presence on the field at home engenders boos. And they increase in volume with every mistake. Anything less than perfection triggers the angry chorus.

But this time, the bloodthirsty section of the Browns Nation probably will be more anxious to take a look at Alex Tanney, the team’s latest quarterback signing.

For the initiated, Tanney is the Monmouth University quarterback who attempted to sell himself to National Football League teams last year with a five-minute video of things he can do with a football.

It wasn’t your ordinary, run-of-the-mill video that showed him throwing all kinds of passes to receivers in order to prove he should get at least a shot at the NFL. No receivers appeared in the video. Only his buddies in school.

Tanney, you see, is a trick-shot artist with a football. He can make some remarkable non-football shots with the spheroid. Like hitting the cab of a truck speeding away from him; swishing a football through basketball baskets from long distances; or bouncing a football off various parts of a goalpost, also from long distance.

There are other amazing feats on the video that will make you blink your eyes in wonderment trying to figure out just how he did them. It’s a fun five minutes. And now he’s a member of the Browns.

Yep, it’s official. Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi have turned the 2013 Browns into a sideshow with this move. Surely there had to be better choices out there other than Tanney.

The kid is quite the football artist. The big question is whether he can stash all the tricks and prove he’s a lot more than a novelty. By playing a real game of football where the best trick is staying healthy and not making mistakes.

He’s had exhibition experience with Kansas City and Dallas (he played quarterback for the Cowboys in the second half of the Pro Football Hall of Fame game last summer). He played in all the exhibitions, was released and then signed to the Cowboys’ practice squad from where the Browns plucked him.

There certainly had to be someone better than Tanney for the Browns to sign. Vince Young, for example, is available. OK, so he’s a journeyman, but at least he can play representative football.

Throwing someone like Tanney into the remaining schedule against the New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers should Weeden go down is asking for trouble.

If Weeden, indeed, goes down, Tanney will become the fourth man setting up under center this season. The last time the Browns needed a quartet of starting quarterbacks to finish the season, the year was 1988 and Marty Schottenheimer was the coach.

Due to numerous injuries, the season began with Gary Danielson and ended with Mike Pagel with Don Strock with Bernie Kosar also getting in work. Kosar missed the first seven games with an injury before getting hurt again in game 15.

Here’s hoping Sunday’s crowd will be more civil toward Weeden than in the recent past. Tanney needs to stay tethered to his clipboard.

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