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Weeden focuses on improvement

Posted Nov 7, 2012

Quarterback Brandon Weeden will take the bye week to improve his skills and prepare for the remainder of the 2012 regular season.

Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden will take the next few days on bye week to work on his game and rest up for the final seven games of the 2012 regular season, which will resume for the team on Sunday, Nov. 18, in Dallas at Cowboys Stadium.

Following the team’s final bye-week practice, Weeden said the No. 1 thing he needs to do better was “just do my part.” Weeden was referencing his 20-of-37, 176-yard, two-interception performance in a 25-15 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday.

“I didn’t really do my part throughout the entire game for four quarters (and) help this team get in the end zone,” Weeden said. “There are a lot of different things. I think you have to take pride in scoring touchdowns. We talk about three points sometimes isn’t bad, but you have to score touchdowns. Just making the things that are routine, doing them 100 percent all the time, being 100 percent on the things that are routine, that’s where the great quarterbacks become great. That’s why they’re so great; they do the things consistently all the time. That’s what I’m working toward.

“If we’re able to do the things we’re able to do to get our team in position to win games, that’s all we care about. In the long run it’s about winning games and I feel like we’ve been in games where we’ve had a chance to win a couple and we’ve come up short. This bye week is perfect. I’ll go back and look through those games and see where we came up short and hopefully, we can fix it. We have a lot of season left.”

One area where Weeden wants to see improvement is in the team’s performance inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. The Browns made five trips inside the red zone against the Ravens, but were unable to get touchdowns. Instead, kicker Phil Dawson converted all five of his field goal attempts.

The team was able to get into the end zone against Baltimore when Weeden delivered an 18-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Josh Gordon, but the play was nullified for an illegal formation penalty. Two plays later, Dawson booted a 41-yard field goal.

“The field is shorter; it’s smaller and it’s fast,” Weeden said of the red zone. “There are a lot of bodies in a small area and the windows are tighter. There are extremes. They come after you; they blitz. The touchdown I threw to Josh Gordon was cover zero. They come after you, so, it’s difficult down there. It’s definitely difficult because you can’t stretch the field, but we have good plays down there. Sometimes, they have a good defense called up; sometimes, we don’t execute and then, if you do a combination of those two things, it’s a bad recipe for scoring points.”

While Weeden plans on improving from his performance against the Ravens, he is still among the league leaders for first-year quarterbacks.

Weeden’s 2,088 yards rank third in NFL History for a quarterback through the first nine games of his rookie season. He is second to Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck in passing yards, passing first downs (104) and completions of 20 or more yards (29). Weeden has also thrown for the first, second and fourth-most passing yards in a game by a Browns rookie and has two of the top five longest touchdown passes ever by a first-year Cleveland quarterback.

“I think he has done some good things in the first nine games to basically play every snap,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. “He has had a lot of opportunities to do some good things. Then, there are some things, some throws and some decisions that he’ll learn from. I think that’s just natural. That really is the routine that all players go through. It’s amplified when you’re a rookie quarterback in this league. It really is.

“There are a lot of teams, right now, playing with rookie quarterbacks. You can look as individuals and as teams; there have been some ups and downs. I think we get a chance to re-focus, re-center and go back and look at the things that he does well, (which are) the plays and the progressions that he has executed at a high percentage, try to focus on that.”

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