November 24, 2014

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Browns’ QB Brandon Weeden: ‘I know I played bad’

Browns rookie QB Brandon Weeden looks for a receiver during Sunday’s loss against the Eagles. Weeden wants to put his poor game behind him and focus on getting better. (AP photo.)

BEREA — Brandon Weeden is on a vacation from Twitter and hasn’t flipped to “SportsCenter.”

“I know I played bad,” the rookie quarterback said Wednesday after practice. “I don’t need the nation to tell me how bad I played.”

Weeden lived the debut debacle — 12-for-35 for 118 yards with four interceptions, two fumbles (none lost) and a 5.1 rating Sunday — then watched it three times.

“Two times too many,” he said.

He said he’ll never watch it again and has moved on from the nightmare start to his NFL career that was ridiculed locally and nationally. Among starting quarterbacks who attempted at least 15 passes in a season opener, Weeden’s 5.1 rating is the sixth lowest in the NFL since the merger in 1970.

“It’s over and done with,” he said. “If you dwell on it, it’s going to affect you. It will affect you today in practice, it will affect you the rest of the week and you can’t do that. I learned from it, and I’ve got to play better.”

Coach Pat Shurmur told reporters Monday he was committed to Weeden as the starter, despite some fans calling for Colt McCoy. Weeden said Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert gave him the same supportive message.

“It’s one bad game. You put it all in perspective,” Weeden said. “If I continue to do bad things, that’s on me. I think they have a lot of confidence in me and my abilities and they wouldn’t have named me the starter if they didn’t. I think that’s a good thing.

“I just got to prove to them that I’m the guy. Continue to prove I can get better, not make the same mistake twice — I tell you guys that all the time — and go forward. I appreciate all the confidence they have in me and I have the same confidence in myself. I just got to play better.”

Weeden’s biggest disappointment was that if he had made one more play, the Browns likely would’ve pulled the stunner. Instead, they lost 17-16 to the heavily favored Eagles.

Personally, he was frustrated by the inaccuracy of his throws.

“Guys were wide open and I missed them,” he said. “That’s not my character, not the way I usually throw the football.”

He badly overthrew receiver Mohamed Massaquoi three times — in the end zone, on the sideline and over the middle for an interception as Cleveland tried to start the winning drive. He was also too strong for tight end Alex Smith in the end zone.

“The first one to Mo was just adrenaline. My feet were great, my timing was great, my eyes were good, just overshot him,” Weeden said. “Unfortunately it happens. It happened way too many times. It’s not something that can happen. I have to take care of it.”

“The guy is wide open, you got to hit him,” Shurmur said. “That’s all there is to it. I wish there was some kind of formula or theorem, but that’s not always the case.”

Weeden blamed the other egregious incompletions on his feet.

“I had to slide up on one and got hit, kinda high-lowed, kinda saw the guy dive at my feet, so it just caused me to throw it,” he said. “The other one, just not sound in my footwork. Just not getting my feet underneath me and being able to step into throws and throw them accurately.”

Footwork affects the entire mechanics of the motion, and Shurmur said Weeden must keep his left shoulder down to keep the ball from sailing.

The knock on Weeden by some draft analysts was that his accuracy at Oklahoma State suffered when he was pressured. Heckert disputes that, but Weeden will have to prove he can be consistently on target whether he has time or is rushed.

“I was up here pretty much all day yesterday,” Weeden said of the players’ day off. “I was up here first thing this morning. Just really harping on the mistakes I made and trying to correct those going into this week.”

Safety T.J. Ward went home and watched the game Sunday night like he normally does.

“Usually he’s pretty accurate so I was kinda surprised by the overthrows,” Ward said. “It was his first game, a really good defense, a really good D-line and defensive backs, so it was tough on him.

“I’m sure he’ll bounce back this week. I think he’ll settle down and get back to playing the ball he played throughout camp.”

Weeden’s teammates have been steady in their support. Linebacker and captain D’Qwell Jackson texted him Sunday night that everyone has tough days and don’t let one game dictate the rest of the year.

“These guys in this locker room, they’ve got my back and that’s really all I care about,” Weeden said.

“He’s not down on himself at all,” said running back Trent Richardson, whom Weeden was taking out for sushi Wednesday night.

Struggling on opening day isn’t a new phenomenon. Weeden said it happened in high school and last year at Oklahoma State, when he went 24-for-39 with three touchdowns and three interceptions in a 61-34 win over Louisiana-Lafayette.

“It was not good, and I came back and had a pretty good year,” he said. “I missed open guys my first game, so it’s eerie to me.

“I’ve definitely scuffled in some games, but I don’t think I’ve had a four-quarter stretch like that where I’ve scuffled for an entire four quarters.”

If he had snapped out of the funk at any point, the Browns would probably be 1-0.

“I’ve told the defense over and over until I’m blue in the face — they should’ve won us that football game,” he said. “That made me feel worse than anything. They played so well, so I’ve got to help them out and just make one play.”

Weeden is looking forward to a second chance Sunday in Cincinnati.

“It can’t be any worse than it was the first week,” he said. “I mean that jokingly.”

Next up

  • WHO: Cleveland vs. Cincinnati
  • WHEN: Sunday, 1 p.m.
  • WHERE: Paul Brown Stadium
  • TV/RADIO: Channel 19; WMMS 100.7-FM

Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.