Pluto: Hardesty's Roster Spot Isn't Safe, and Weeden's Comfort Spot

In his weekly Sunday column, the Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto looked at the Cleveland Browns' running back situation, particularly where third-year back Montario Hardesty stands, and what quarterback Brandon Weeden will be most comfortable with in his transition to the NFL.

Says Pluto on Hardesty:

5. So what can be said of Hardesty? As of today, he says he's healthy. That appears to be the case. While the Browns are saying nice things about Hardesty, he has to prove he'll remain healthy once tackling starts in August. He's been with the Browns for two seasons but has had knee problems, calf issues and carried the ball only 88 times.

6. This is just my opinion, not that of the Browns: Hardesty's roster spot isn't safe. He makes $575,000 and it's not guaranteed. At best, he's third on the depth chart behind Richardson and Jackson. It's hard to go into the season with Hardesty because of all his health problems.

It's hard to imagine how little he has played for as high as he was picked by the Browns. With the team drafting Richardson, though, I agree that this is an example where the front office can cut their losses and move on. Along with the downsides about Hardesty, Pluto mentions many of the positives that I have brought up about Brandon Jackson (reliable receiver and good ball security) and Chris Ogbonnaya (how clutch he was last year with minimal time to learn) that make it seem more likely that they would have a roster spot.

The alternative to cutting Hardesty? Stuff Hardesty on the roster as an insurance policy in case someone gets hurt (he would be inactive on game days). We'll see how he does in camp this year, but my prediction right now is that we won't see the duo together as a "pair of pounders."

The other highlight I'll take from Pluto's column involves a question that Terry asked Weeden:

3. No need to dwell on it because it's so early, but Brandon Weeden continues to impress. When I asked him about what he feels most comfortable with going from college to the pros, he said: "Throwing the ball. . . . I'm not afraid of throwing the ball downfield. I'm not afraid of squeezing it into tight windows. I've always had a lot of confidence."

The confidence Weeden has in making those throws is backed up by his arm strength.

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