By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor
It was always going to go this way.
Not simply because the Browns made Brandon Weeden the 22nd overall pick of the draft, although that figured to be a factor.
Not simply because Weeden is an almost-29-year-old rookie, although that had to be a consideration as well.
Not simply because he has taken the lion’s share of training-camp practice reps with the starters, although that was a pretty good clue, too.
It was always going to end up with Weeden becoming the Browns’ starting quarterback from the very beginning of the preseason – something coach Pat Shurmur made official on Monday – because of the swiftness with which he erased any doubt that that was the right decision.
Go back to May, to the first time Weeden threw a pass during an offseason drill. Back to when everyone watching – coaches, player-personnel people, and media – could see the obvious: The big-time passer that the Browns desperately needed to make a woefully anemic offense more explosive.
No other veterans were around then, not Colt McCoy or Seneca Wallace. Weeden had the stage virtually to himself, and he took it over with ease. He threw with velocity and accuracy. He stood tall in the pocket and showed an unmistakable commanding presence.
When McCoy and Wallace joined the workouts, nothing really changed. Weeden still consistently delivered laser-like throws on long, short, and intermediate routes. He was, without question, the best quarterback on the field.
And that was still the case through the first week-plus of training camp.
“Brandon, as you know, has been getting most of the work with the ones, so this isn’t like we’re just starting a development,” Shurmur said. “We’re just ramping it up now.”
There’s no disputing that throwing exceptionally well in practices is far different than doing the same in games. There’s no arguing that Weeden’s long and winding journey as a professional athlete – from professional baseball pitcher to star quarterback at Oklahoma State to starter in the NFL – is far from over. If anything, it is just beginning.
He will likely have an eye-opening experience when he faces the highly aggressive defensive line of the Detroit Lions in Friday night’s preseason-opener. But Weeden seems to have everything necessary to successfully meet the challenges he will face. That’s evident through each day of practice.
He has quickly developed strong chemistry with his receivers. Incumbents such as Greg Little and Mohamed Massaquoi are just as comfortable with him as rookies such as Josh Gordon and Travis Benjamin. It is easy to see the offense taking off and soaring to impressive heights with Weeden at the controls.
How soon it will happen is hard to pinpoint. He is still a rookie and is still vulnerable to the blunders that rookies typically make.
Yet, Weeden is going to make those throws that he has been making from that very first offseason workout – the throws that removed all doubt that he should be the starter.
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