In a surprising move, the Cleveland Browns have released both quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell, the team announced Wednesday. General manager Ray Farmer expressed thanks to both players in a statement, “First and foremost, the Browns would like to thank Brandon and his agent for being true professionals. The circumstances in which he found himself were not easy for him or the team. After discussions with Brandon and his agent, we’d like to give him the ability to pursue other opportunities.” Farmer continued, “We appreciate Jason’s contributions to the Browns in 2013. He’s a respected veteran player in this league. We felt like at this time, early in the free-agency period, we would give him a better opportunity to move forward. We wish Jason the best in his future endeavors.”
With Brian Hoyer recovering from a torn ACL, this leaves the browns critically thin at quarterback. We reached out to first year head coach Mike Pettine and asked him what direction the team was looking to go. Apparently the Browns plan to do away with the quarterback position entirely.
“We’ve got a few guys in mind, we’ve yet to settle on one. But without question, we’re going punter.” Asked to elaborate, Pettine continued, “Look, I know this is my first year as head coach, but we’re just fooling ourselves here. I’ve watched enough tape. This offense gets the ball, maybe gains a yard or 2, loses a few, probably gives up a sack, then we just punt the ball away. That is 99% of the Cleveland Brown’s offensive series. So I said to the GM let’s just dump the position and play to our strengths.”
Ray Farmer does indeed seem to be onboard, “When Mike first suggested it, I thought it was absurd. But once he broke down the numbers, it began to make complete sense. He demonstrated that over the past 2 seasons, if the Browns had simply punted the ball on the first down of every offensive series, we would have had 12 fewer fumbles, 26 fewer interceptions, scored 24 additional points and actually won 3 more games over that span than we did. I was sold.”
So how does this radical new scheme affect the Brown’s draft plans? Pettine explained, “We’ll we’re obviously going to try to beef up our line. We need an offensive line that can keep a punter upright for at least 5 plays a game. We’re obviously not there yet, not by a long shot, but with a few key additions in the draft and through free agency, we can get closer.”