Turner: Weeden 'got comfortable' playing again

Posted Oct 11, 2013

Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner saw confidence and a level of comfort from quarterback Brandon Weeden last Thursday.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden had barely practiced or touched a football in the three weeks after he suffered a sprained right thumb in a 14-6 loss at Baltimore, but that changed quickly last Thursday.

Before a national television audience, the Browns trailed the Buffalo Bills by seven points when starting quarterback Brian Hoyer scrambled for a first down and attempted to slide down near the home team’s sideline. During the slide, Hoyer was hit and his right leg folded under his body.

With Hoyer out of the game because of what turned out to be a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), Weeden entered the lineup, and the Browns’ offense struggled during his first two series. However, Weeden rebounded in the second quarter, and completed 13 of 24 attempts for 197 yards and one touchdown in the 37-24 Browns win.

“The thing that was important to me is that Brandon got comfortable playing again,” offensive coordinator Norv Turner said. “He made all the key plays down the stretch. He made key plays throwing the ball deep to get us in the end zone.

“When we were down by seven, he made key plays to get us down there to get the first field goal and key plays to get the second field goal that gave us a chance to play the type of defense we’ve been playing.”

Weeden not only directed a fourth-quarter comeback, but also, engineered two 10-plus-play drives. He completed a 37-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Josh Gordon two plays after firing a 47-yarder to fellow wideout Greg Little.

Weeden completed seven of his 10 attempts on first down for 133 yards and one touchdown, and avoided pressure from the Bills’ front seven late in the game that kept the Browns in range for Billy Cundiff to drill a 44-yard field goal that gave Cleveland a 30-24 lead.

Turner felt Weeden benefitted from having a full complement of wide receivers against the Bills, something he did not have in the first two weeks, as Gordon was serving a league-mandated suspension.

“I went back and watched the first two weeks, and honestly, not having Josh was an issue,” Turner said. “When we beat Minnesota, when we beat Cincinnati, we had a lot of guys play a lot better than they did in the first two games.

“Part of that was getting Josh back, but part of that was getting a lot of guys that played better. I think we had a lot of guys have their best games the other night.”

Now that Weeden is back in the lineup with a full arsenal of weapons and an offense that is starting to click, Turner knows what the Browns have to do to keep their winning streak going with Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions at FirstEnergy Stadium.

“We need a great effort against this team,” Turner said. “This is a very physical defensive front, but every week, you look on the tape, this is a really, really good defensive front. We’re going to have to play (well) up front.

“We’ll have to do a good job of managing the game from a coaching standpoint, and Brandon’s going to have to do a good job of managing the game. The most important thing we’ve done in the last two weeks is not turn the ball over. Brandon was a part of that. He played close to 60 plays, and we didn’t have a turnover when he was in.”

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