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Weeden learns about importance of trust

Posted Oct 9, 2013

Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden did some “soul-searching” during his time on the sidelines because of an injury.

In the three weeks following the Cleveland Browns’ 14-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, quarterback Brandon Weeden did some soul-searching while he waited for his sprained right thumb to heal.

During his absence, quarterback Brian Hoyer led the Browns to back-to-back wins over the Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals. But when Hoyer suffered a torn right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) against the Buffalo Bills, Weeden entered the game and completed 13 of 24 attempts for 197 yards and one touchdown.

“You dig deep, try to find yourself and you do a lot of soul-searching,” Weeden said of his time on the sideline. “That’s part of adversity. Facing adversity makes you stronger as a person, and that’s life. You’ve got to find a way to take the positives and build off of it.”

In the time since Weeden returned to the starting lineup, coach Rob Chudzinski has seen a difference in his second-year signal-caller.

“I think he’s grown from that experience,” Chudzinski said. “You look at being the starter, getting injured and having to sit and watch; and then, get thrown out into the game -- early in the game -- where he didn’t get a lot of practice time, getting booed, back and forth, and him, ultimately, making some big plays that helped us win that game.

“I think that’s growth, and I think that he has a sense of confidence of what he’s been able to do. We’ll get him back out there for another week of practice, and I think that will help him get better and get ready to play even more so.”

One of the positives Weeden enjoyed when he came back to the lineup was an offense that was three weeks further along than when he was forced from the game because of the injured thumb.

“We’re getting that continuity,” Weeden said. “We’re growing. We’re getting a feel for each other within the system. I think this is a great system, and (offensive coordinator) Norv (Turner) said it back in training camp, ‘We’re going to be better in November than we are in September,’ and that’s because of the confidence we have in each other. You get better as the season goes on. Guys are playing better, and you expect that as the season goes on.”

Weeden also learned the importance of getting the ball out of his hands quicker than he previously did, which will cut down on the amount of sacks that he takes. Weeden has been sacked 16 times in less than three games of work.

“I think there’s times when I can get the ball out quicker and take the pressure off the guys up front,” Weeden said. “We’re playing well. We’ve got great guys on this offense, and you’ve just got to be in-sync, trust the guys around you and get rolling.

“Whether it’s the design of the play or getting off your first progression faster, pre-snap reads as far as eliminating half of the field, seeing pressure, there’s a lot of different ways to go about it. It depends on the play. There are times where you might have to sit back and hold it because you may have a double-move or a deeper progression route. It’s trusting the guys up front.”

In addition to building a trust with the offensive linemen, Weeden took heed the advice of wide receiver Josh Gordon to relax and trust the skill-position players around him to make plays when the game is on the line.

“A good example is the touchdown,” Weeden recounted. “There was pretty good coverage. Aaron Williams had him covered pretty (well), but my confidence is, ‘My guy is going to go up and make a play,’ and that’s what he was telling me. The first two series, I had to get back into the flow, and we weren’t doing anything offensively. He said, ‘Man, just let it rip, and trust that we’re going to make a play. Throw it up!’ Anytime you hear that from a guy like him, it’s like, ‘Alright. Let’s see what you’ve got. Go get it done.’ He called it.

“They definitely make a quarterback’s life easier. They’re two guys that create a lot of mismatches. They’re guys that are bigger target guys that can go get the football. As a quarterback, when you have two guys like that, one, (Jordan Cameron) matched up on a linebacker, and Josh puts stress on corners and safeties, along with the rest of the guys, we have weapons. It’s fun playing quarterback when you’ve got guys around you like that.”