Weeden gets second look at Bengals

Posted Oct 10, 2012

Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden will line up against the Cincinnati Bengals for the second time in the last five weeks when the Battle of Ohio resumes in Cleveland Browns Stadium Sunday.

Second chances are rare in the world of sports, but not when it comes to divisional play in the National Football League.

On Sunday afternoon, the Cleveland Browns will get that second chance to compete against the Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Earlier in the year, the Browns fell to the Bengals, 34-27, at Paul Brown Stadium.

In that game Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden completed 26 of 37 attempts for 322 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Weeden’s 322 yards was a Browns rookie record and came on the heels of a 118-yard, 12-completion performance against the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2012 season-opener.

“Offensively, we made a lot of positive adjustments going forward from that Eagles game,” Weeden said of the first meeting. “I think we took care of the football. We didn’t hurt ourselves, and we did some things to move the ball down the field without going backwards. That was kind of a game we kind of found our identity a little bit. I think that’s one thing that we kind of gained some confidence from going forward from that game. Hopefully, we can repeat it.”

When asked if Weeden has an advantage by having played the Bengals once this season, Browns coach Pat Shurmur said that “goes both ways.”

“They may have a feel for him,” Shurmur said. “Anytime you’re a quarterback and you’ve had a chance to play against a team, it helps you. Then, you factor in the fact that you’ve improved since the last time you’ve played them. There’s things that we’ll do differently. Even though the matchups are the same, the game’s played just a little bit different because you’ve played them once before.”

Through five games, Weeden completed 112 of 202 attempts for 1,288 yards and five touchdowns against nine interceptions. Since the first game, where he threw four interceptions against the Eagles, Weeden has thrown for 1,170 yards and five touchdowns against five interceptions.

“I think you continue to inspire him to do the right thing with the football,” Shurmur said. “You want a guy that’s aggressive with the ball because you like to squeeze out all the offense you can from every play. I think we’ve found a way to complete deeper balls this year than we did last year, which is important. Then, you also want to balance it with efficiency.

“When you talk about being aggressive, there’s a built-in confidence there and there’s a guy that has skill and ability. You need that and what you do is work them through the system and the progressions so that he’s constantly being reminded to be smart with the football.”

Against the Giants, Weeden threw for 291 yards and two touchdowns against two interceptions.

Having now played five games in the NFL, Weeden has learned “there’s a fine line” between being too aggressive in forcing passes and not taking enough chances on the field.

“I don’t need to be as aggressive as I have been in the past,” Weeden said. “I need to be smarter. I need to take what they give me. I think when you’re in college and guys are open all the time, it’s easy to be aggressive because you’re throwing to open guys. In this league, not everybody’s open. I’ve looked at every game we’ve played so far. Since Sunday, I’ve watched every game we’ve played so far, and (there are) areas where I can just throw the football away and move on to the next play. (I need to) not be as stubborn, just throw the football away and move on.”

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