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Tanney: 'I'm definitely progressing'

Posted Dec 5, 2013

With another week in the meeting rooms and on the practice field, Cleveland Browns quarterback Alex Tanney said he is “progressing” within the system.

The Cleveland Browns signed quarterback Alex Tanney to the active roster from the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad when starter Jason Campbell suffered a concussion in a 27-11 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers two weeks ago.

Since then, Tanney, the backup in Sunday’s 32-28 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, has spent virtually every waking moment learning the offense from coordinator Norv Turner. Nine days of studying has him feeling comfortable running the system, should he be called upon to do so against the New England Patriots if Campbell or Brandon Weeden, who is also recovering from a concussion, isn’t cleared to play.

“I’m definitely progressing,” Tanney said. “Last week was good, being able to see it and rep through it, some of the walk-through stuff. I’m still learning, but I’m starting to pick it up. That happens sometimes in the NFL, but it’s a great opportunity for me, so I’ll be ready to go.

“I think I’m definitely growing in this system. If I was called upon, I’m sure the game plan would be a little more extensive, just picking out the favorite plays that I feel comfortable with and could execute. I just feel a little more comfortable, and I’m a little more comfortable in this building. I’m still getting to know a lot of these guys, still trying to learn the names and build relationships with them.”

Tanney said he feels prepared because of the time he has dedicated to learning the offense from Turner, as well as fellow quarterbacks Caleb Hanie and Brian Hoyer. Hanie was signed by the Browns on Tuesday.

When Hoyer isn’t rehabilitating from the torn ACL he suffered in his right knee in a win over Buffalo in early October, he is taking time to help Hanie and Tanney learn the Browns’ offense.

“Yesterday was our off day and I was in here the entire day,” Tanney said. “Your first week, you’re just trying to pick up the basic stuff because every snap count’s a little different. Just the mechanics of playing quarterback varies everywhere you go.

“You dive your way into different formations and kind of build your way up. This is the third system I’ve been in, in two years, so I kind of have a good base of how to learn a system.”

It is important for Tanney to learn the offense because he has no plans of wearing a wristband with a code of play calls on his arm during practice or the games. And he has a practical reason as to why he does not wear the wristband.

“The one thing with no wristband is the opportunity to look into my teammates’ eyes and really tell them what to do,” Tanney said. “The verbiage is different, so I have to memorize that, but the philosophy’s similar.

“Just growing up, my dad was my high-school football coach, and it was always something he instilled in me something that was important, ‘not staring at your wristband and look at those guys so they have confidence in what you’re calling.’”

Should he get the call to start on Sunday, Tanney said “it’d be something pretty special” because he grew up admiring Tom Brady. However, he knows the trip to Gillette Stadium to play the Patriots and compete against head coach Bill Belichick is all about business.

“If I do get called, it will definitely be exciting,” Tanney said. “If you’re in this league, you want to play, but I’m preparing like I have been my entire life. I’m not sure it’s going to happen, but I’ll be ready if they call me.

“(Belichick’s) really creative and you never really know what you’re going to get from him. Every week, he kind of throws something new at you and you’re not really sure what it is. It’s something that they might not have shown on film throughout the course of the season. Once you recognize that, you’ve got to kind of adjust throughout the game and go with it.”