BEREA, Ohio -- Take the snap from center, get into the drop while trying to avoid the opposing team’s pass rush, go through the progressions of a given play and deliver the ball to the open target.
That is what an NFL quarterback must do, and he must do so in four seconds or less in order for an offense to be successful on a consistent basis.
And as for that last task of being consistently successful, Cleveland Browns quarterback
“I’m going to play with confidence,” Weeden said. “I’m not going to be timid. I’m going to go out there, work hard, leave it out on the line and take the chances that I always have, throw the ball in tight windows, trust my arm and make plays. That’s the kind of quarterback I am. If I get timid, it’s hard to play this position. You’ve got to be aggressive at all times.
“Last year obviously didn’t go the way I wanted it to, so I knew I had to do whatever I could for myself and this team to get better. I think there’s more confidence there because I’ve been around these guys. I’m not coming into a different locker room. There’s different scenarios, but I feel like I’m taking steps, but I still need to work on it day-in and day-out, keep continuing to get better, keep continuing to prove that I’m a good leader on this team and a good leader for this offense. I’m making steps in the right direction.”
Weeden is making those steps under the direction of a new offensive coordinator, Norv Turner. According to Weeden, the veteran offensive coach focused their offseason work together on speeding up his drops, as well as getting the ball out of his hand quickly and accurately.
“The most important thing for any quarterback in this league is to handle adversity -- maybe, it’s a bad throw; maybe, it’s a bad play; maybe, they’re having a bad day -- seeing how they come back and seeing how they react to that because that’s so much of this game,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. “At the end of the game, it doesn’t matter what kind of day you’ve had. You have to be able to respond and play in those situations, and that’s critical for a quarterback.”
Learning to handle adversity is something Weeden takes pride in being able to do well.
“It’s just not easy, but to be a good quarterback in this league, the good quarterbacks have a short memory,” Weeden said. “You have to forget what happened. If something bad happens, you’ve got to move on to the next play. It’s not saying anything. It’s really how you’re acting, how you walk into the huddle the next play when something does go wrong, guys will have confidence in you.
“Whether it’s baseball, basketball, football, golf, whatever it is, you have to have a short memory. I don’t let stuff linger. I just try to put it aside and move on to the next play. You’re never going to play a perfect football game, ever. There are perfect games in baseball, but there’s really not a perfect game in football. Stuff’s going to go wrong. You’ve just got to fight the storm and move on.”
Weeden fought through the storm of being inserted into the starting line-up from the start of the training camp as a rookie and broke several team records. His five wins and 3,385 passing yards were the most ever by a Browns rookie, and his yards, 168 passing first downs and 48 completions of 20 or more yards were second-most among all NFL rookies.
Now, he senses the team is ready to build off that success and ready itself for the 2013 season.
“I can sense it,” Weeden said. “I think guys are hungry. Offensively, defensively, the way things went last year, we weren’t very excited. We all knew we left a lot of things on the table and didn’t close the games we should have. I expect everybody to come and be excited for what we have in store. We have a good football team. I’m excited for the pieces that we have in place, and we’ve just got to go get it done now.”