Rookie Brandon Weeden expected tough lessons as Cleveland’s new starting quarterback.
One task has him talking to himself.
The No. 22 overall draft pick said after practice Tuesday that he’s learning to call plays by practicing his speech. New Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress told Weeden to work on complicated calls in front of a mirror.
”I can’t say I’ve done it in front of a mirror, but I did talk to myself in my hotel room last week,” Weeden said.
And that was before fumbling, throwing an interception and going just 3-for-9 for 62 yards in his debut in Detroit. However, it didn’t rattle his confidence. If anything, it made Weeden more determined, according to coach Pat Shurmur.
”He’s a very resilient guy. So when he has a bad play or two, or a bad series or two, I see him bounce back extremely well,” Shurmur said.
Weeden said taking only 15 snaps in Detroit made it look worse because he didn’t get a chance to get into rhythm. That will change Thursday night in Green Bay, when Weeden and the first-team offense are scheduled to play at least two quarters.
”Numbers are deceiving,” Weeden said. ”I’m excited to get back out there and correct the mistakes I made last week.”
His fumble kept the Browns (No. 30 in the AP Pro32) from scoring on their first drive, to the Detroit 23.
”That was the one I would really like to have back, because it took (at least) three points off the board,” he said.
Weeden may get one of his primary targets back. Shurmur said Mohammed Massaquoi, who caught Weeden’s first pro pass for a 12-yard gain, may face the Packers. Massaquoi was hit hard and removed in Detroit under the NFL’s new rule guarding against concussions. The fourth-year receiver said Tuesday he feels fine.
Shurmur wants Weeden to work as much as possible. He expects an efficient offense because of it.
”You like to see completions,” Shurmur said. ”You like to see if the ball is thrown down field, again you get completions. You obviously want to score points, but you want to see the quarterback manage scoring drives and do it efficiently.”
Second-year receiver Greg Little said Weeden is getting better at finding a number of receivers and joked that he now has to bribe Weeden to throw him the ball.
”Last week, I sent him cookies,” Little said. ”This week, maybe some fruit to keep him healthy.”
More importantly, Little spends extra time working with Weeden on pass routes. Shurmur said that after a pass intended for Little was intercepted by the Lions, the duo practiced that particular play repeatedly the next chance they got.
”We go over everything together,” Little said. ”We talk, do some work after practices. He’s very talented. He can make all the throws. If he is late with a read, he can make up for it with his arm.”
Childress coached star quarterbacks Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia and Brett Favre in Minnesota. He’s impressed with Weeden’s skills and aggressiveness, and doesn’t want to hold him back from developing the reputation as a go-for-broke passer.
”You rarely want to sit on that ability,” Childress said. ”A lot of times discretion is the better part of that valor of trying to stick it through the eye of a needle. But we want him to be aggressive. We want him to keep shooting.”
Weeden said he’ll keep throwing.
”I am not scared to throw the ball in the end zone,” he said. ”There is just a fine line. You have to know the situation. Three points is not the end of the world. I want to score every time we touch the football, but sometimes the defense wins (and you settle for a field goal). You guys have seen me enough in practice, I am not scared to throw the ball to the back of the end zone.”
As Weeden develops, a battle remains for the backup spot. Former starter Colt McCoy will be the No. 2 man in Green Bay, followed by Seneca Wallace.
”There is no big reason. That’s just the way I want to do it,” Shurmur said.
McCoy missed connections with several receivers and had some drops Tuesday. Wallace was a tad more consistent. He had one pinpoint pass in the end zone dropped by Rod Windsor.
Wallace has spent most of his 10 years in the NFL as a backup. That factor could give him an edge.
”It’s got to be somebody that is able to deal with limited reps and still be able to put things in play,” Childress said.
NOTES: Practice was held indoors due to rain. … Cleveland claimed DL Ronnie Cameron on waivers from Chicago and waived FB Eddie Williams. With Phil Taylor (pectoral surgery), Scott Paxson (right ankle) and Frostee Rucker (right knee) out, Cameron, a rookie from Old Dominion, will get a look. … WR Travis Benjamin, impressive early in camp, has not practiced since leaving with an undisclosed injury in Detroit. … McCoy twice found rookie WR Jason Cooper for scores during red zone work. … Rookie DB Emmanuel Lewis jumped a route and picked a Weeden pass. … TEs Alex Smith and Evan Moore had drops over the middle.