These are exciting times for the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns have totaled 51 points, 633 yards of offense, 466 passing yards and have not turned over the football in two preseason games. The Browns’ first-team offense has scored 27 of those points, and that has led to excitement throughout all levels of the organization.“I’m excited; our players are excited,” Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner said Sunday. “I hope our fans are excited. I’m a realist. You can only control what we’re going against. We’ve played the Rams; we’ve played Detroit. They gave us more than what people think. Both teams blitzed us and we handled it real well. Both teams mixed their coverages and I thought we handled it well.
“We just have to continue to prepare for the regular season. I don’t think we’re going to go out and complete 75 percent of our passes in the regular season, but we’re doing it now, and that’s something to build on.”
“I’m excited about what Brandon’s been able to do,” Turner said. “The thing that we’ve spent a lot of time working on is trying to find out the things that he does best, and combine them with the things our players do best. And a lot of the things that we do on the practice field, it’s not experimental, but there’s a process you go through to get everyone on the same page.
“Hopefully, when we get everyone in the games, we feature all the things that our guys do best. Through the preseason action that Brandon’s had, we’ve been able to do that, and we’ve had a lot of guys playing well. He’s taken advantage of the way they’ve been playing.
“The thing Brandon has done is make good decisions. He’s extremely accurate with the ball and he’s made some big throws up the field already, so those are positives we can build on.”
Although he set two team rookie records in 2012, Weeden spent the bulk of the offseason analyzing and working to improve his craft. Speeding up his footwork during drop-backs and eliminating his habit of patting the football while scanning through the progressions were two of the goals Weeden set for himself and worked on during OTAs and minicamp.
“When he is really confident and sure in what he’s doing, he’s going a lot faster, his setups are faster, and the ball is going out quicker,” Turner said. “It’s a matter of him being experienced with everything we’re doing, so there’s not indecision and he’s done a good job of getting the ball out fast when he is really sure of what we are doing.
“I think he’s done really (well). He’s had some tough plays in the preseason. He’s gotten to the third or fourth receiver. He’s made good decisions. He’s throwing the ball well. If he can play a couple games and not have an interception, or not have a ball that should’ve been intercepted, I think you’re making progress.”
BREAKING IN THE ROOKIE
Due to ankle injuries suffered by veteran offensive linemen
Upon entering the game, Gilkey found himself lining up across from Detroit defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.
“One of the things that has really impressed me about being here is that this offensive staff has done a great job of coaching whoever is there, and getting guys ready,” Turner said. “What (offensive-line coaches) George (Warhop) and Mike (Sullivan) have done with these young offensive linemen is tough because you take a guy like Gilkey and, all of a sudden, eight plays into the game, he’s starting at right guard against Detroit.
“Those two guys (Suh and Fairley) were bringing it and they were playing hard and they’re a good defensive front. Gilkey has made more progress. He’s made a lot of progress in a short period of time. He has a long way to go but he does give you some hope in terms of depth and a guy that eventually will be a player.”
On Saturday, Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton talked about how the success of the offense has helped the other side of the football in practice. One day later, Turner returned the favor and talked about how playing against the Browns’ aggressive defense has bettered the offense.
“I think we’re going to be a real good defensive team,” Turner said. “From what I’ve seen, we’ve played two real good quarterbacks and their results have been mixed, like you guys see out here, when our offense is going against the defense. I think it’s been really competitive and it’s been good on both sides of the ball.”