Weeden was named Cleveland’s starting quarterback on Tuesday, ending a "competition" set up by Browns first-year coach Rob Chudzinski, who wanted to push the QB to bring out the best in him.
"Brandon has earned this," Chudzinski said, "and that’s extremely important to me that he did. He has gained my complete trust. He has gained his teammates’ complete trust and this organization’s trust. We’re all behind him and we’ll all be behind him to support him."
Chudzinski’s announcement ends speculation about whether Weeden would beat out veteran Jason Campbell and start the season opener against Miami on Sept. 8. Weeden followed up a solid offseason with a strong training camp and two impressive preseason performances, completing 18 of 25 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns in two exhibition wins.
Weeden, who started 15 games during a bumpy rookie season, was relieved to get the news but said it won’t change him.
"It’s exciting," he said. "I feel like I worked my tail off during the spring, through OTAs and up until this point. It’s rewarding. Everyone in this locker room wants to be on this field and contribute to this team and win games. I still have a season to play. I’m not satisfied. I feel like I’ve got a lot of work to do and that’s my mindset moving forward. "
Chudzinski has been pleased with everything the 29-year-old Weeden has shown, and has been impressed with his development not only as a passer but a team leader. Chudzinski said it was vital for the Browns to go through the process of finding the right quarterback to lead the Browns, and waited until the week of Cleveland’s third preseason game — the unofficial dress rehearsal for the regular season — to name Weeden the starter.
Last week, Chudzinski described the competition between Weeden and Campbell as "still close," even though it was apparent Weeden had solidified his standing with the team.
"Everything about this process was wanting to see how he reacted and how all the quarterbacks reacted," Chudzinski said. "I firmly believe that separates the great quarterbacks from the average quarterbacks — how they react to different situations. "
The Browns sent out mixed signals during the offseason about Weeden, with both CEO Joe Banner and general manager Michael Lombardi saying the former first-round pick needed to prove himself worth of being a starter.
So far, Weeden has done that.
"I knew I had to impress the people who make the decisions," Weeden said. "That’s for all 90 of us who are out here. My mindset was getting better, focus and do the things I needed to do to become a better player."
Weeden now believes everyone with the Browns is behind him.
"Absolutely," he said. "I feel like I have the support form players on up."
Chudzinski said running back Dion Lewis will likely be placed on season-ending injured reserve after undergoing surgery to repair his broken left leg on Monday. Lewis broke his fibula on Thursday against Detroit.