In today's edition of "The Sunday Five," we take a look at the slightly overblown story involving QB Brandon Weeden this weekend, a possible loophole in the silly replay review rule, some quotes from offensive coordinator Brad Childress, and more.
I'm not sure who reported it first, but the local media went to town on quotes that quarterback Brandon Weeden was criticizing some of the play calls from last week. In essence, it has been portrayed that Weeden felt the team ran too many passing plays against the Cowboys that were not practiced throughout the week. I think this is a non-issue right now. If anything, it should serve as a stern reminder of the patience we need to have with Weeden as a rookie quarterback. Over time, hopefully he'll get more comfortable to the point where he'll be prepared for any scenario at the drop of a hat. It sounds like Weeden wasn't happy with how the media tried to stir things up from his quotes; Weeden tweeted that it was "very frustrating" to see how his quotes have been twisted.
Being a guy who likes to put a positive spin on things, I liked reading this part of the article, which demonstrated how Weeden is trying to get accustomed to these issues and finding the proper way to distribute the ball to all of his receivers in practice:
"These guys can’t run forever," Weeden said. "You want to make sure they’re fresh throughout the week. I throw a comeback to Josh (Gordon in individual drills). When we get in team period I probably won’t throw it to him. I’ll probably make him my backside read just so I could throw other routes to other guys.
"You try to spread them out. You know what you’ve thrown. You just try to be conscious about it because most plays we run only once a practice. That means you’re throwing to one receiver. That means two or three receivers aren’t getting a touch. They’re not getting a catch. They’re not getting the ball thrown their way. That’s tough on them.
"We can’t be out there for three hours. You can’t run every single route and every single throw. That’s why I try to do it after practice, walkthrough, or whatever. You look at guys like Peyton Manning, That’s what he does. Those guys are on point because he takes pride in being on time with all of his guys."
Although I like all of the Browns' receivers in one way or another, this somewhat illustrates the problem I've had since training camp: too many cooks in the kitchen at receiver (I apologize for referencing this to death). Weeden really needs to find one or two guys he can really click with so that "relationship" can be taken to another level in terms of game-day chemistry.
On Thanksgiving, the talk of the day (in the NFL) might have been the fact that Justin Forsett's run was ruled unreviewable because Lions head coach Jim Schwartz threw the challenge flag. That rule has to change, and there are reports that something could even change this season.
Interestingly enough, Peter King pointed out a potential loophole in which teams could abuse this rule as it seems to stand right now. Let's assume that Schwartz did not throw the challenge flag on that play. Let's also assume that Texans head coach Gary Kubiak knows Forsett was down. What if...Kubiak throws the challenge flag to say that Forsett was down? Sure, the Texans would be penalized 15 yards, but if that's the price to ensure the touchdown stands (by virtue of the play then not being reviewable), why not take advantage of it? Mike Pereria claims this couldn't happen because the referees would determine that it'd benefit the scoring team, but King couldn't find anything in the rule book that accounted for this instance.
Reading through Brad Childress' news conference from this week, you can kind of pick up on a few things with the offense. Regarding Mohamed Massaquoi, Childress said, "Hopefully this week is the week for him." He was speaking in reference to Massaquoi being fully healed from his hamstring injury, something they've been waiting for before finally turning him loose again. It also sounded like we could see a couple of carries from Montario Hardesty again. "We’ll look to spot him in there," said Childress. Childress had no explanation for why Weeden missed receiver Josh Cooper on a high throw during the game:
"(It’s) just a missed throw," said Childress. "When [Weeden] sees that on tape he goes, ‘I never miss that throw and I never miss that throw to Coop (Josh Cooper).’ Why does that happen? I don’t know. I don’t have an explanation for that."
Childress also commented on Trent Richardson's performance and how he could've done a few things better on the ground:
"His eyes could have been in a couple different spots that maybe would have been advantageous for him, but by in large, he’s usually going to do pretty well with those."
Hopefully all of these things look smoother against Pittsburgh.
It's that time of the week again for me to predict the gameday inactives. It's frustrating that I still haven't got the inactive list completely right for any week this season. Here are my projected inactives against the Steelers: RB Brandon Jackson, FB Owen Marecic, WR Josh Cooper, OL Jarrod Shaw, DL Ronnie Cameron, CB Dimitri Patterson, and S Ray Ventrone. Most of the inactive this week go along with the status quo. The outlier pick is the fact that I have Cooper inactive. I think the only reason the Browns activated six receivers last week was because that kind of had an extra roster spot with Joe Haden missing the game with an oblique injury. With Haden set to come back, you lose that extra spot.
Now, let's get ready to watch the Browns kick the Steelers' ass.