News

Print
RSS

Weeden to start against Jags

Posted Nov 27, 2013

Quarterback Brandon Weeden will start for the Cleveland Browns in Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

With Jason Campbell still going through the NFL’s concussion protocol as a result of a high hit in Sunday’s 27-11 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns coach Rob Chudzinski named Brandon Weeden the starting quarterback for this week’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Although Chudzinski said “Campbell is feeling better,” he remains “doubtful” for the game.

“Weeden will start the game,” Chudzinski said. “We’ll rally around him in order to get ready for Jacksonville, and we’ll be ready for that opportunity as we work through this week, Thanksgiving week.”

Weeden has started four of the seven games in which he has played this season. Despite suffering an injury to his right thumb in the 14-6 loss at Baltimore on Sept. 15, and being removed from the starting lineup after a loss at Green Bay on Oct. 20, Chudzinski said Weeden has remained “a professional” through all of the changes.

“He’s done a good job,” Chudzinski said. “He’s really kept his head into it. He’s been a professional through it all. Those are the things that are difficult as you go through your career, and I think he’s handled them very well. It’s put him in a position where he stayed into it and was going to be ready for his opportunity if it came up, and it’s come up.”

Being called upon at a moment’s notice is something Weeden has grown accustomed to since becoming the backup ahead of the Oct. 27 game at Kansas City. When Campbell suffered rib injuries in a 24-18 win over Baltimore on Nov. 3 and last week against the Steelers, Weeden came on in relief.

“You never know when your number’s going to get called, and I’m excited about the opportunity,” Weeden said. “Absolutely, I want to be out there as much as possible with these guys preparing and going through the weekly process of going out and playing a game. I’m excited about it and we’ll see if we can get back on track and win a couple games.

“Being a backup quarterback, you have to prepare like you’re going to play, and fortunately, I did that every week, and my number was called a couple times and I played in a tough situation in Pittsburgh. Last week, I prepared like I was going to play and when I came into the game, the terminology and stuff wasn’t foreign to me.”

While waiting behind Campbell, Weeden said he focused on developing himself as a player, and had the support necessary to do so.

“It’s proving to everybody that I’ll continue to grow, continue to be a better player, learning from mistakes and doing things better, week-in and week-out,” Weeden said. “This is a tough position to play, and I think you’ve got to understand and make a correction on things you can fix, continue to grow each week and become a better player. If you do that, hopefully, other people are on board.

“I’ve got great support in this locker room, great support from family and friends back home. My wife (Melanie) has been with me. It’s not a distraction for me. It’s the farthest thing from a distraction because I don’t get tied up in it. My main focus is getting better. I’ve played 20 games in this league, and I’ve got a long way to go. I’ve got to get better.”

Having battled his way through injuries and a performance-based position change, Weeden said the experiences he’s had during the 2013 season will help him on and off the football field.

“I think people around me are feeling worse and approaching me,” Weeden said. “I tell them all the same thing, ‘Hey, listen. I’ve got to fight through it, see what kind of man I am, see what kind of person I am to persevere through a lot of adversity. It won’t be the last time. When I’m done playing and something else happens in life, it won’t be the first time, and going through this will definitely help me have a leg up on it.”

ADDING A TIGHT END

In addition to signing quarterback Alex Tanney Tuesday, the Browns added some depth at tight end in the form of Andre Smith, who turned 39 catches into 438 yards and seven touchdowns at Virginia Tech.

“Andre Smith is a good football player, a very good blocker,” Chudzinski said. “That’s one of the areas we want to improve on.”

INJURY UPDATES

Browns defensive back Buster Skrine (ribs) returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, but linebackers Tank Carder (shoulder) and Craig Robertson (knee) were not able to participate.

Robertson was injured in the first half at Cincinnati, and Carder, Robertson’s replacement, was hurt in Sunday’s loss to the Steelers. In Carder’s place, Darius Eubanks was inserted into the lineup and registered three total tackles.

“I really thought he stepped in and did a nice job,” Chudzinski said of Eubanks. “There’s obviously some things that he can improve on, that we can correct, but it was encouraging to see him come in, understand what he needed to do and played well in that position.”