BEREA, Ohio -- During the first day of training camp, there were 16 seconds on the play clock when the Cleveland Browns’ offense broke its huddle prior to running a play, and that was designed by the coaches to get the players used to a faster tempo.
And that is exactly what coach Rob Chudzinski wants to see from his offense when the Browns kick off the regular season against the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 8.
“I’m really pleased with the tempo of practice,” Chudzinski said. “For these guys to have come back and haven’t been around for the summer, and for them to come and practice with this kind of tempo was outstanding.”
“We started a little bit slower, and then, we kind of picked it up and finished strong,” Weeden said. “I think guys were playing fast. There weren’t too many missed assignments. Guys were lining up right, motions were good, we were playing fast. We didn’t have any delay-of-game penalties and we were moving around. We were maneuvering pretty well.
“You want to play fast all the time. We weren’t trying to play slow last year, but we have a conscious effort to put the play clock at 16. When we break the huddle, the ball’s going to snap. We try to get it snapped with eight seconds left. That’s their mindset, play fast, get lined up, don’t move around, just get up and execute. That’s our first and foremost goal.”
Weeden said the team came into the offseason and now, training camp, with the mindset of getting better and taking advantage of the opportunities they may have left on the field last season.
“This team has so much steam going forward,” Weeden said. “We’re worried about the next day. We’re not worrying about what anyone else is saying about us. We’re worried about each day, and getting better. If you approach it any other way, it’s tough. We try to keep the outside distractions to a minimum and what goes on in that locker room, those guys are dialed into getting better as a team, getting better as a family.”
Like he used to do as a pitcher in the minor-league organizations of the New York Yankees, Kansas City Royals, and Los Angeles Dodgers, Weeden spend Thursday’s practice finding and staying in a rhythm.
“When we have good plays, it’s usually not when we’re standing around between plays, talking and doing things,” Weeden said. “We’re lining up and running the next play. You get into a rhythm. It’s just like on the mound, and you’re throwing strikes, you don’t want anything else to happen. You want to catch the ball, get back on the mound and throw it. That’s the way it is in this offense. You want to run as many plays as you can, good plays.”
Running a fast-paced offense may have a dual benefit for the Browns. While the offense keeps the ball moving up the field and does not allow the defense to rest, linebacker D’Qwell Jackson feels that toughens up his side of the football.
“Playing against a Norv Turner offense, there’s multiple sets, motions, shifts,” Jackson said. “From a defensive standpoint, we’re not going to face another offense like that. You better know what you’re doing, or you’re going to have a lot of balls thrown over your head. The pace has definitely picked up, and it’s going to help both sides.
“The tempo is much, much faster. I think it’s for a reason, to force guys to think a little bit more, and that’s just the tempo we’re going to play at. Once you’re able to execute at an up-tempo style, you’re able to get a lot more plays in. It forces guys to get into their book. It forces guys to be consistent, and it forces guys to think on the run. Combine that all together, and your offense and defense are running smoothly, that’s a dangerous mix.”