Cleveland Browns quarterback
However, it will be Weeden’s second time competing against the Eagles’ “Wide Nine” look on defense, as the two teams squared off in the third preseason game two weeks ago at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Weeden learned how aggressive the Eagles are on defense in that preseason game when they registered five sacks for 36 lost yards.
“Obviously, their D-line is solid,” Weeden said. “You’ve got to get the ball out quick, but you’ve got to protect it. I think that’s there’s a certain order to win.
“You’ve got to be able run the football; you’ve got to be able to throw the ball down the field and you’ve got to do the small things, but it all starts with protecting, especially with our front five including our backs. The ball has to come out quicker at times. You’ve got to pick your spots to take your shots, but I think that’s a very good front seven.”
While preparing for the Eagles, Weeden has also been working on mastering the team’s West Coast offense. He is learning from head coach Pat Shurmur and offensive coordinator Brad Childress. Both Shurmur and Childress learned the West Coast offense from Eagles coach Andy Reid, who was mentored in the system by Browns president Mike Holmgren.
Reid was an assistant of Holmgren’s with the Green Bay Packers in the 1990s.
“Those are guys that have been in this league a long time and have been around a lot of great quarterbacks so I’d be crazy not to listen to them,” Weeden said of Shurmur, Childress and Holmgren. “I’m just a sponge. I’ll ask them questions, especially Mr. Holmgren. He is around practice all of the time and he’ll come over and say, ‘I ran this play with Brett (Favre),’ and this and that. And I’ll ask him how Brett approached it or whoever it may be. It’s the same with Brad. He had Brett for a year or two in Minnesota. I’d be crazy not to use those guys as resources and leading up to this, they’ve been a huge asset for me.”
Early in training camp, Weeden said that Shurmur and Childress “threw the kitchen sink” at him when it came to installing and learning the West Coast offense. In his Wednesday morning press conference, Shurmur said he has not seen a “wide-eyed” stare from his rookie quarterback, who spent five years in professional baseball before setting 15 school records at Oklahoma State University in just two seasons as a starting quarterback.
“I’ve seen him operate in the offseason; I’ve seen him operate in training camp,” Shurmur said. “I’ve had a chance to interact with him on a daily basis for a very long time now, so I’m very confident that he’s going to do a good job.
“I think there’s a veteran presence there, even though he’s a rookie, which you need because sooner or later, you’re standing out there in the middle of the field. It’s the crowd, the opponent and you’ve got to make a play and there’s just got to be something in you down deep that’s going to help you do that. I think I see that.”
In addition to the veteran presence, Shurmur has seen Weeden’s competitiveness on and off the field. Part of that competitiveness comes to the surface when Weeden makes a mistake and learns from it.
“You don’t want to play anxious because that will help you make more mistakes,” Shurmur said. “You want to play fast, but if you make a mistake, it’s very important you admit it because if you don’t admit it, you can’t correct it. Then, you correct it, you forget about it and you move on fast. That’s the important thing when you’re working with a player, that that process works continuously. You don’t want a player that’s going to reel.”