Rookie QB Weeden tested by Cleveland defense

Browns defenders are playing no favorites in Cleveland’s

quarterback competition.

They’ll gladly pick off passes from any of them.

Rookie Brandon Weeden and incumbent Colt McCoy both threw ugly

interceptions Sunday as coach Pat Shurmur presented a daunting

task: See what you can do in a 7-on-7 drill in third-and-long sets,

pitted against a Browns’ pass defense ranked second in the NFL a

year ago.

Veteran defensive back Sheldon Brown had no pity on the

passers.

”We’re going for the football no matter who you are,” he said.

”That’s one of our goals this year. Stop a team, take the ball

from them and give our offense good field position.”

Shurmur had a good idea who was going to win the stacked-deck

test and wasn’t too critical of his passers.

”These are challengeable throws,” he said. ”It’s tight

(coverage). You saw them seeing what they can get away with. You

can’t just look at raw plays; you take that (into account).”

Shurmur enjoyed seeing the defense swell with pride after each

big play, though.

”My favorite day of the year, other than game day of course, is

the first day of pads, and I wasn’t disappointed,” he said. ”I

thought there was good banging out there.”

Weeden enjoyed the challenge, yet acknowledged forcing some

throws that in a game he would have dumped off to running back

Trent Richardson instead of going for broke.

”I made some mistakes I usually don’t make,” Weeden said.

”That comes from getting used to the guys. Like coach said … you

know something is wrong when you make the same mistake more than

once.”

Weeden thought a good throw got picked by second-year safety

Eric Hagg, battling for a starting spot.

”Hagg made a great play,” he said. ”It really was the right

read, he just made a heck of a play. But what can you do? You move

on to the next play.”

Shurmur praised Hagg for out-battling veteran Mohamed Massaquoi

on the play down the left side.

”He has impressed us,” Shurmur said. ”As a safety, you have

got to support the run, play whichever side of the field is your

assignment, or play the middle of the field.

”He communicates well. For all those reasons, he’s caught our

eye.”

Hagg wasn’t sure he did all that on the interception.

”I just reacted,” he said. ”I just saw something and went

after it. That’s what we, as a unit, want to do more.”

Despite their success against the pass a year ago, the Browns

had just nine interceptions and were one of only five teams not to

reach double figures. They were 30th against the run, contributing

mightily to their 4-12 record.

”The first thing that is most obvious (to improve) is to stop

the run,” linebacker Scott Fujita said. ”The best way to win

games is to create turnovers.”

Fujita probably won’t play the first three games unless he wins

an appeal to overturn a league-ordered suspension from the bounty

scandal when he was with the New Orleans Saints. Defensive lineman

Phil Taylor, the Browns’ No. 1 pick in 2011, will miss the first

half of the season with a torn biceps.

Shurmur is working to fill the void.

”I thought our young defensive tackles battled in there pretty

well,” he said. ”I’ve got a couple young linebackers that caught

my eye, so that was good.”

Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said it is time Cleveland’s defense

mimics the in-your-face swagger of AFC North rivals Pittsburgh and

Baltimore.

”Nobody pays attention to us,” Jackson said. ”OK, fine. We’re

going to play with a chip on our shoulders. That’s the attitude we

have. Not to prove ourselves to anybody, but to win.

”I’ve been here and saw us get kicked around. I didn’t like it.

We’re a better team. Now it’s our time to go show it.”

NOTES: RB Trent Richardson, the No. 3 overall pick, said he

loved the first day of hard hitting. ”If you don’t love contact,

you’re in the wrong sport,” the former Alabama star said. ”It

felt good.” … Shurmur said WR Josh Cribbs’ role has not changed.

”He’s a special teams player that plays receiver,” Shurmur said

after Cribbs didn’t get many looks in passing downs. … The

announced crowd of 4,200 was the largest since the team began

recording practice attendance in 2005. The previous best was 3,673

in the first session of 2010.