Josh Freeman's first start with Vikings shows it can get worse than Brandon Weeden for Browns

CLEVELAND - Many Browns fans are saying they want anyone but Brandon Weeden at quarterback after his lackluster performance Sunday in Green Bay.

Be careful what you wish for.

Weeden was bad, to put it mildly, completing just 40 percent of his passes (17-42, 149 yards, TD, INT).

His self-described "boneheaded" underhand interception one week prior against Detroit put a halt to the Browns' comeback hopes down a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

In his second season, Weeden has been mediocre, struggling more so since his return from an injured thumb.

While Weeden may not be winning, it can get worse.

You may not believe that but it's true.

Look no further than Monday night's performance by Josh Freeman for evidence of that.

Freeman was abysmal in his first start for the Vikings, connecting on 37.7 percent of his throws (20-53, 190 yards, INT). That completion percentage is the lowest in a game with 40 or more attempts since Eli Manning's 34-percent day taking on Washington in 2007, according to ESPN Stats and Info.

After getting released by Tampa Bay, Freeman got the start against the Giants just two weeks after signing with his new team. A limited time span to digest a new playbook did Freeman no favors as he struggled mightily.

Yet, some believe any quarterback off the street could come into Cleveland and outproduce Weeden right now.

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Freeman serves as a good guideline against that deluded notion.

While Freeman's numbers this season with the Bucs were the worst of his career, he has had success before. Last season, the former first round pick threw for 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns. In 2010, he finished with an excellent 25 to 6 touchdown to interception ratio.

One analyst posed the question, "Anybody out there think Troy Smith would be worse than Weeden?" Smith is currently playing in the Canadian Football League.

Others have suggested Matt Scott, an undrafted rookie currently on the Jaguars practice squad, Vince Young or former Browns first-round pick Brady Quinn.

Tyler Thigpen, who started a number of games for the Chiefs some years back, could be an option, as well as John Skelton, who started six games for the Cardinals last season.

The Browns have not confirmed or even expressed forthright interest in any of these possibilities. This is just a sampling of what's out there.

Take a long, hard look at these names. Pull up their career stats and see if they're really any better than what the Browns have.

Whether Jason Campbell is a better solution at the current time than Weeden is for the coaching staff to decide. You have to wonder though why he was jumped on the depth chart by Brian Hoyer and didn't even dress for the Thursday night game in which Weeden was summoned into action after Hoyer hurt his knee.

Something just seems off there.

More confounding is this idea that any quarterback can come in with less than a week of preparation and be better suited to lead the Browns into the merciless atmosphere of Arrowhead Stadium against the 7-0 Chiefs Sunday.

Weeden is not proving to be the long-term answer but it is short-sighted to think a replacement can so easily be found and succeed right away. You saw Monday night with Freeman and the Vikings how that can turn out.

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