Two of the NFL's biggest punching bags in recent years -- the Browns and Norv Turner -- have joined forces. This isn't the set up to some lame joke. And in fact, if two weeks of otherwise meaningless preseason football mean anything, Turner, now Cleveland's offensive coordinator, is already doing what Pat Shurmur couldn't in two years: Jumpstart the Browns' offense.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden enters his second season, and depending on who you believe, he's embroiled in a quarterback competition with Jason Campbell. And maybe he is, but Weeden, who struggled as a rookie, looks like a completely different player under Turner.
Against the Rams last week, Weeden played 23 snaps, completed 10 of 13 passes for 112 yards, including a touchdown. He followed up that effort by going 8 of 12 for 117 yards and two touchdowns (both to tight end Jordan Cameron) against the Lions on Thursday. All told, the 29-year-old quarterback is completing 72 percent of his passes and has yet to throw an interception.
Weeden is seven months removed from a rookie campaign that included completing 57.4 percent of his passes for 3,385 yards, 14 TDs and 17 INTs. He never looked comfortable in Shurmur's offense, which was criticized for it's predictability. That's all changed in Turner's scheme, something that becomes apparent when you see Weeden play.
"This offense makes sense to me," the quarterback told USAToday.com earlier this month. "The digit system makes sense. You don't have to change the entire play call to change one route."
Any conversation about the AFC North begins with the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens. Then it's the Bengals and Steelers. The Browns, meanwhile, have been perennial afterthoughts for most of their existence.
Maybe this is the season that changes. Hey, CBSSports.com's Will Brinson thinks this team can go 9-7. (Pay no attention to CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco, however, who has Cleveland eking out four wins.)