Weeden has off day, but says he’s the guy
CLEVELAND – For one play Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden looked like the rookie that was showing signs of growth midway through last season.
Weeden stepped back into the pocket and rifled a pass to receiver Davone Bess, who worked open on a deep out route. It was reminiscent of a touchdown pass Weeden threw last season to Josh Gordon on a comeback route.
There were other times during the third day of organized training activity (OTA) practices when Weeden looked like the player who struggled down the stretch. It marked the inconsistency that plagued him in 2012 and led to speculation that he might not be the starter when the 2013 opens.
“My third day wasn’t as good as my first two days,” Weeden said. “Days one and two there were completions everywhere. I told (cornerback) Joe (Haden), ‘You got me today, but I won the first two.’
“Today, completion-wise, wasn’t where we were the first two days. We weren’t functioning like we were as an offense. The first two days we were flying around and making plays. Guys are understanding, and we’re playing fast.”
The goal of first-year coach Rob Chudzinski as he installs the offense is to stress tempo. In the huddle quickly and out of it with enough time so the calls at the line can be made without stress.
That’s where offensive coordinator Norv Turner enters the picture.
Turner’s expertise has already paid dividends. Although almost four months remain before the season begins, there’s a feeling that the game-day operations will run smoother than they did last year.
“We flipped on the play clock and challenged ourselves to play faster,” Weeden said. “If you’re at the line of scrimmage, all you can hear behind you is, ‘Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go.’ They harp on it. It’s tough on defenses. That’s where big plays come about. Norv is a big reason. His main focus is learning this offense, but doing it fast.”
Chudzinski hasn’t named a starter, but all indications point toward Weeden. There’s new competition in camp from nine-year veteran Jason Campbell, who might have a leg up on Weeden in learning the offense.
“He knows the terminology,” Chudzinski said of Campbell. “It’s a little more comfortable for him. He’s called basically the same things before. That definitely helps.”
Campbell has played with three different teams since being selected in the first round of the 2006 draft by the Washington Redskins. He was a backup to Jay Cutler last year in Chicago.
Campbell comes to town knowing he’ll likely back up Weeden.
“Right now coach is working all of us out to get better,” Campbell said. “You compete every day at a high level. It’s all a learning curve for everybody right now. We don’t talk a lot about it (the competition).”
Weeden had to breathe a sigh of relief when the Browns didn’t select a quarterback in the draft. His approach during the offseason is that he will be the starter. He’s received help from his wife Melanie in memorizing the playbook.
“I hope they see the way I’m handling myself and working and spending time studying,” Weeden said. “This is my job, and I take it seriously. I want to be the guy that will make this team better.”
Weeden might get his wish.