July 25, 2014

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Browns: Weeden won’t panic over poor results

BEREA — Brandon Weeden is only in his second season with the Browns, but he already has a firm grasp on how irrational some local fans are.
Alarm bells and unstoppable angst resonated Saturday when Cleveland’s first-team offense failed to score a touchdown in a 27-6 loss at Indianapolis.
The fact it was an exhibition game — and followed two terrific performances to start the preseason — seemingly failed to register with many Browns backers.
“I don’t think there is any reason to push the panic button, like a lot of people want to,” Weeden said Monday. “That’s just, again, people being creatures of habit. You lose a game and everyone wants to …”
Weeden didn’t finish that sentence because he didn’t need to.
The former Oklahoma State standout is well aware that he played poorly against the Colts — completing 12-of-25 throws for 105 yards — but also understands that the game was a glorified scrimmage.
Weeden added that no one inside Cleveland’s team headquarters was concerned about a repeat performance playing out in the regular season opener on Sept. 8 against Miami.
“The attitude in here has been great, so (the negativity) is not in this locker room,” said Weeden, whose three-game passer rating is an outstanding 99.9. “We’re excited. We saw the mistakes, but they are all fixable.
“It’s human nature to get a little ahead of yourself, but what better timing? It doesn’t count in the win-loss record for the regular season. We have 17 more games, minimum, that we have to prepare for.”
In the first two exhibition contests, the Browns’ top offense outscored its foes 27-0 and rung up three touchdowns and two field goals on six possessions. Weeden led the way, going 18-of-25 for 229 yards and three scores.
Indianapolis, however, brought much more defensive pressure than St. Louis or Detroit.
Cleveland’s first-teamers failed to score on six first-half possessions at Lucas Oil Stadium. The plan was for starters to play one series to open the second half, but after failing to score again, coach Rob Chudzinski sent them out for another possession that resulted in a 50-yard field goal by Shayne Graham to the deficit to 17-3.
“There were times Brandon was rushed or bumped, something was just off for us in that game,” wide receiver Greg Little said. “Whatever happens, it’s not all because of (good) coverage to why a ball didn’t get completed. It’s either Brandon didn’t expect us to come out of a break sooner or later, or got bumped.”
Weeden had a different opinion, praising the Colts for making “great calls against what we were running, as far as leverage and techniques, and their secondary played well.”
“The one-on-one matchups and things like that, we’ve got to win,” he added. “And it’s my job to find those and throw the ball accurately.”
Chudzinski might give Weeden one more opportunity to do that in the preseason.
The Browns’ first-year coach is contemplating giving his starters a handful of snaps Thursday in the exhibition finale at Chicago. It would go against conventional wisdom around the NFL, but Weeden said he was on board with any decision that “Chud” makes.
“I’m a creature of habit, so I like as many reps as I can get,” he explained. “It’s always scary because of freak injuries happening, but injuries are going to happen. You have to move on.
“I feel good, but I wouldn’t mind playing a few series. If that’s what he wants to do, then absolutely, I’m all for it.”
Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com