Browns’ Weeden working on ball security
Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden knows he needs to get a
With three fumbles in five quarters during the exhibition
season, Weeden’s inability to hold onto the football while under
duress has become an unexpected issue for the Browns, who will open
the regular season in two weeks against a lightning-quick
Philadelphia defense that craves turnovers.
Weeden knows it’s time for clamp down on the ball.
”You just have to have a death grip on it,” he said Sunday
”That’s all there is to it.”
In Friday’s 27-10 loss to the Eagles, Weeden fumbled twice in
the first quarter as the Browns fell behind 14-0. Weeden’s first
fumble wasn’t his fault as Cleveland’s protection broke down on a
botched screen pass, allowing Eagles defensive tackle Derek Landri
to shoot through a hole untouched and strip an unsuspecting
Weeden acknowledged that the second fumble, which was recovered
by Browns tight end Jordan Cameron, was because he was holding the
ball too low while stepping up in the pocket. He fumbled on a
similar play while trying to make a pass against Detroit in the
preseason opener, when he was constantly pressured by the Lions’
Weeden understands that he has to do a better job holding onto
the ball, but he’s not going to go to anything out of the ordinary
to improve his ball-handling skills.
”I mean I’m not going to carry a football around with me at
night,” he joked. ”If you start thinking about all of that other
stuff, you get in trouble. I know it seems like a big deal because
three of them were on the ground, It’s not something I’m going to
lose a lot of sleep over, but I’m definitely going to take it
seriously and when I can work on it, I’m definitely going to work
Browns coach Pat Shurmur and his staff are always harping on
Cleveland’s players to protect the football. They have several
daily drills designed to reinforce ball security. Shurmur was asked
if there was anything more he could tell Weeden other than to hang
onto the ball.
”Yeah,” he said. ”Hang on to the ball. I think ball security
is primary for anybody who touches the ball, especially the
quarterback who touches it every play. He knows that we drill that.
A great deal of fumbles in this league involve the quarterback in
the pocket and he knows that. It’s very important for him to
maneuver in the pocket where he doesn’t fumble and if he’s getting
tackled or sacked he needs to wrap the ball up. He knows
Weeden rarely, if ever, fumbled at Oklahoma State, where he
typically lined up in the shotgun formation and usually got rid of
the ball in the Cowboys’ high-tempo offense before feeling much
But now that he’s under center for the snap, Weeden has to drop
back and be aware that defensive linemen in the NFL will be nearby
as soon as he gets ready to throw.
After completing his first four passes for 66 yards on
Cleveland’s opening drive, Weeden moved the Browns (No. 30 in
APPro32) to the Eagles 2. But after a holding call against guard
Jason Pinkston backed them up to the 12, a blown assignment on the
screen pass led to the sack and strip. Weeden never saw it coming
and there was nothing he could do to stop it.
On his second fumble, Weeden was being a bit too care-free and
had the ball swatted away by Darryl Tapp.
Weeden promised not to let it happen again.
”Those guys are taught to go for the football,” he said. ”I
had the ball up high, and as I stepped up the ball came down to my
belly button and he just reached for my waist and tomahawked
through it. Those guys are strong. They’re 300 pounds and they’re
stronger than I am. I’ve got to have good ball security up top and
I think it’s more of a want-to thing.
”I’ve just got to get it done. There’s no other way around
Notes: RB Montario Hardesty, who has fumbled in the past two
games, did not take part in team drills during practice. Hardesty
said he’s healthy – he wore a sleeve on his left calf – but he was
replaced with the first-team offense by Brandon Jackson, who seemed
to think he had been promoted. ”I don’t want to jump the gun, but
it feels good to be out there with the ones,” he said. … Shurmur
is ”very optimistic” that rookie RB Trent Richardson will play in
the Sept. 9 opener. Richardson has not practiced since undergoing
left knee surgery on Aug. 9. Richardson could be practicing this
week. .. Shurmur praised QB Colt McCoy for the way he’s handled
losing his starting job to Weeden. It’s possible McCoy will be kept
as Cleveland’s No. 2 QB, but Shurmur isn’t ready to reveal his
plans. ”You’ll see what I’m going to do with the quarterbacks at
final cuts (Friday),” he said. … DE Marcus Benard dislocated his
elbow against the Eagles and is out indefinitely. … The Browns
waived nine players, the most notable being WR Carlton Mitchell.
They must trim five more players from their roster Monday.
Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and