Realistic Wallace says Weeden will be starter
BEREA, Ohio — There is the occasional NFL player or coach who cuts through the noise and gets to the bottom line.
Cleveland Browns backup quarterback Seneca Wallace filled that role Tuesday by giving some perspective to the team's "competition" at quarterback.
"The game is a lot of hype, a lot of business involved with who's playing and who's not," Wallace said at the last offseason practice open to the media. "Like I said before, it can be a competition, but at the end of the day we all know who's going to be starting out there at some point."
Bottom line: Wallace knows Brandon Weeden will be the team's starter, and he accepts it.
"Obviously, the kid was drafted in the first round for a reason," Wallace said. "It wasn't that they drafted him to come sit on the bench. At some point he's going to play. If it's the first week or the 12th week, at some point the kid's gonna play."
The only real wiggle room in the Browns' quarterback situation is whether Weeden is anointed the starter in the offseason, at the start of training camp or after a couple of preseason games. But it might take an act of Congress for Weeden not to be the starter — even though coach Pat Shurmur said he will keep watching the guys compete and throw.
"Nothing is set in stone until it's official," Weeden said, later adding, "That will all take care of itself."
It might already be taking care of itself. Weeden is getting most of the repetitions with the first team, which even Colt McCoy noticed.
"Y'all see the reps," McCoy said. "Y'all see the practices. When I'm in, I just try to do the best I can."
McCoy says he "understands" the team has to get Weeden ready, saying the rookie "got a lot of reps" and "that's part of the process."
But though McCoy said that, when he takes snaps he has the attitude he's the starter, he said in his mind he's not thinking about who will start, saying it's "a good question for Pat (Shurmur)."
Leave it to Wallace to cut through the fog.
"Obviously Cleveland has had situations where they had quarterback controversies and all this other stuff," Wallace said. "If you're going to move forward with a guy and it be your franchise guy, you need to put all your focus in that guy and let him play and take all the media situations and the fan situations out of it in order to build that franchise the way you want it."
Is there room on the roster for Wallace, McCoy and Weeden (something Shurmur actually said he could envision)?
"Probably not," Wallace said, later asking: "Can any of you see all three of us being here?"
Yes, the question was rhetorical.
Wallace also said he would not be willing to accept being the the third quarterback.
"We all know the third guy doesn't dress on Sundays," Wallace said. "If it comes down to that decision, obviously neither one of us (he or McCoy) want to be that third guy."
Cynics could say that Wallace has 2.4 million reasons to want to be the backup — his salary is $2.4 million — and he admits his contract could work against him when the No. 2 is selected. But he also believes he fills that role well.
"This is my 10th year," he said. "I know the ropes. I know what goes on. I'm not naive to that. I know the system well enough to compete at any time. Whatever decision is made, that's the coach's decision. We would all love for it to be sooner than later to figure that decision out. But the coaches are trying their best to figure out what's going to happen.
"We don't know if we're all three going to stick around. We might, we might not. They know what I bring to the table. If that's enough, who knows."
The one thing that might be keeping Shurmur from choosing Weeden as the starter is that the rookie has yet to work in pads against a defense.
"Not saying he doesn't look good, but things change when you put pads on," Wallace said. "Game speeds up. The defense starts doing a lot more different things to us, blitzing us and all those different things.
"It has to carry over.
Weeden understands. But he was asked if anything had happened through a month of offseason work to shake his belief that he could be the starter.
"Not yet," he said.
Then he reached down and knocked on the wood on the side of the podium.