Brandon Weeden won the Browns’ starting quarterback job without playing a game.
Cleveland coach Pat Shurmur announced what had been an open secret after practice on Monday: Weeden, the No. 22 overall pick, will start Friday night in Detroit.
”Brandon is the starter and we’re moving forward,” Shurmur said. ”We’re rolling and I’m not looking back.”
Weeden has taken snaps with Cleveland’s first-team offense throughout training camp. He was pleased by the decision.
”I busted my tail for 10 practices now and put in a lot of work,” Weeden said. ”I’ve had my ups and downs. We play Friday. My job is to get the team playing better and win games … starting Friday.”
Incumbent starter Colt McCoy is now competing with 10-year veteran Seneca Wallace for the backup job.
”I sat down with all three guys separately and told them,” Shurmur said. ”Colt was very professional. Disappointed, but he handled it well.”
McCoy believes he showed improvement, but has come to grips with the direction Cleveland is headed toward.
”Guys,” he said, ”it is what it is. I worked so hard and I felt so good. Every day, I approach my job as a professional. I get here early and am the last guy to leave.”
The 25-year-old then went to pose for pictures with fans and sign autographs.
A year ago, McCoy started the first 13 games before being inactive the last three with a concussion as Cleveland (No. 30 in the AP Pro32) finished 4-12. He was victimized by a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit by Steelers linebacker James Harrison during a 14-3 loss in Pittsburgh. A dazed McCoy went back in after sitting out only two plays. Trainers attending to other hurt players were unaware of McCoy’s distress.
That led to a league policy now requiring teams to have a certified athletic trainer in the press box to monitor play and help medical staffs evaluate injuries. Cleveland went 0-3 with Wallace as the starter down the stretch.
Now, Shurmur likes the progress displayed by all of the team’s passers.
”I feel better about the quarterback position,” he said. ”We’ve got two guys here who can be number two. To me, it is a win-win situation.”
Wallace took some snaps with the second-string offensive unit Monday, but Shurmur said McCoy likely would be first off the bench against the Lions.
Weeden said officially being No. 1. won’t make him change his daily approach, though he is getting more comfortable working with veterans like All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas and center Alex Mack.
”I’m getting in the huddle and joking with guys now. The chemistry is great,” said Weeden, a 28-year-old rookie from Oklahoma State. ”But it is all about wins and losses. I’ve got to show I’m the best guy to get wins.”
Weeden will likely play one quarter against the Lions. He’s eager to play more.
”Every rep is vital,” he said. ”You can’t get enough of them. You see guys in the league 12, 14 years like Peyton Manning, and they take as many as they can. I take every single one and learn.”
Shurmur is confident Weeden will be able to guide Cleveland’s west coast-style offense. The strong-armed former pitcher in the New York Yankees’ minor-league system, has looked sharp throughout camp. Monday, he regularly found receivers on deep sideline patterns, routes that are generally acknowledged to be the toughest to complete.
”He gets with the program, he’s accurate,” Shurmur said. ”He’s wired right to play the position.”
NOTES: Shurmur moved Tuesday’s practice back about six hours to the afternoon so that he and others on Cleveland’s staff can attend morning memorial services in Philadelphia for Garrett Reid, son of Eagles coach Andy Reid. Shurmur, a former assistant to Reid, expressed his sorrow over the death of the coach’s 29-year-old son. Browns GM Tom Heckert, and four Cleveland assistants also worked with Reid in Philadelphia. … LB Marcus Benard walked off with an undisclosed injury. ”I don’t know what happened, but at least he walked off,” said Shurmur. Benard missed the final 12 games a year ago after getting hurt in a motorcycle crash. … LB Chris Gocong was seen in the parking lot, on crutches. Gocong tore his right Achilles tendon Saturday and is out for the season.