Around The AFC North: Cleveland Browns Will Have Open Competition At Quarterback

Dustin Bradford

The Cleveland Browns have undergone a bunch of new changes this offseason, thanks to a new owner that took control of the franchise in the fall of 2012. One of the changes coming for the team could be at quarterback.

Last year, it was widely-speculated that the Browns were going to draft a quarterback early in the draft. Some believed that it would be as high as their No.4 overall pick in the form of a player like Ryan Tannehill. The Browns opted for Trent Richardson and then used a pick that they received in 2011 from the Atlanta Falcons (via their trade up in that draft for Julio Jones) to draft former Oklahoma State quarterback, Brandon Weeden.

Weeden won a competition for the Browns quarterback position in 2012 against Colt McCoy and had an up-and-down season. Playing in 15 games and leading the Browns to a 5-10 (the team finished with a 5-11 overall record), completing 57.4 percent of his passes with 3,385 yards passing, 14 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Two of Weeden's best games of 2012 came against the Bengals in Weeks Two and Six; where he combined for four touchdowns, one interception and 553 yards passing.

While there were moments of promise from Weeden in 2012, there are still those involved with the Browns organization that want more from the second-year quarterback, namely new owner Jimmy Haslam. One of Haslam's first priorities since taking over the team was to revamp the coaching staff. Haslam added a new head coach in Rod Chudzinski, a new defensive coordinator in Ray Horton and a new offensive coordinator in Norv Turner. Haslam, Chudzinski and Turner have all been in an agreement that the Browns will have Weeden be part of a competition for the starting quarterback gig this year.

"I think Norv and Chud have been very open that they like a lot of what Brandon (Weeden) does," Haslam said. "But we're going to have competition at that position. And I think competition makes us all better, and we'll see where that competition comes from."

Some names that have been connected to Cleveland this offseason as free agent possibilities are Michael Vick and Alex Smith. The Smith move would make a ton of sense, given that the current 49ers quarterback worked with Turner a few years back. The Browns are growing impatient with their lack of finding a solution to their quarterback probelem since they re-entered the league in 1999--particularly with the early success from so many other quarterbacks of the 2011 and 2012 classes.

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