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Cleveland Browns want Brandon Weeden to be a leader

This is a make-or-break year for second-year starting quarterback Brandon Weeden, who needs to show he can be “the guy” for the Cleveland Browns. Weeden finished the 2012 season with a meager 57.4% completion percentage, and he also threw more interceptions than touchdowns. Despite bringing in former Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins starter Jason Campbell, the Browns are committed to Weeden as their starting quarterback, and it is clearly his job to lose. But as a make-or-break year, Weeden could very well lose that starting job if he struggles enough and Campbell impresses enough.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Browns have asked Brandon Weeden to take on a “leadership role”, and Weeden has accepted this challenge. The first step to becoming a franchise quarterback is to act like one, and that means showing the kind of leadership qualities that the Browns are asking Weeden to show.

I honestly think intangibles were part of the reason why the Browns decided to use a first-round pick on the 28-year-old Oklahoma State Cowboys star QB. If you search Brandon Weeden, “Alex Smith” (it shows the picture of the quarterback, not the former Browns and Buccaneers tight end) comes up as a related player. To be honest with you, I view Weeden as somebody who could be an Alex Smith kind of player. He can be a leader, a stabilizing influence at QB, and somebody who can manage the offense well without being a standout or a scrub. In essence, I think Weeden can be a solid starting quarterback, and the Browns can win with him if they commit to bringing in more talent around him at wide receiver. The most important thing is building a strong defense to support Weeden and the offense, and that’s what the Browns are doing.

Rob Chudzinski’s offensive style doesn’t seem to fit the Smith comparison, but Weeden has a better live arm than Smith (worse accuracy, though) and Chud will adapt that system for sure. The Browns are giving Weeden a longer leash than some other teams would, and he has only been in the league for one year (age has nothing to do with NFL experience). They have been called a “wild card” for Geno Smith, but I tend to agree with Tony Grossi’s assessment that this team isn’t going to draft a QB. Weeden is going to be treated as “the guy” going into the 2013 season, and Jason Campbell is going to be treated as the veteran backup. I mean, Weeden would have to really screw up for the Browns to allow Campbell to usurp him as the starter. I really like Campbell, though, so Weeden does have to keep that “make-or-break” mentality in order to give the Browns something to work with.

It’s great to see that Weeden is ready to take on a leadership role, and that’s something the Browns needed out of him anyway.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter for more NFL updates and analysis @SorianoJoe.

Tags: Brandon Weeden Cleveland Browns Jason Campbell

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