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Weeden turns focus to improvements

Posted Jan 2, 2013

Despite a record-setting rookie season with the Browns, quarterback Brandon Weeden has turned his focus toward improving his skills for the future.

Quarterback Brandon Weeden set three team rookie records and was among the NFL’s rookie leaders in several statistical categories during his first season with the Cleveland Browns, but when asked to describe his debut year, he responded with three words: “not good enough.”

“We were in a bunch of games,” Weeden said. “We were in pretty much every game we played, had a chance to win. We weren’t able to win a majority of those, so I put that on me. As a quarterback, I think it’s my responsibility to do whatever it takes to get us the win.”

During his first NFL season, Weeden completed 297 of 517 attempts for 3,385 yards and 14 touchdowns against 17 interceptions in 15 starts. His five wins, 3,385 yards, and 364 yards in a win over Oakland were all Browns rookie records.

He threw for the 10th most passing yards in a single season in team history, and recorded four of the top five single-game passing yardage totals by a Browns rookie.

“There were some times when I played okay, but I’ve got to be more consistent throughout each game and throughout the season,” Weeden said. “If I’m able to do that, this team’s got a really good chance. This team has a lot of really good players in the locker room and I think if we all do one more thing, including myself, we’ve got a bright future in here.”

Through offseason work, Weeden is determined to make sure that “bright future” he spoke of happens.

“I was still seeing things for the first time, playing teams for the first time,” Weeden said. “I don’t know anything about these coordinators we’re going up against, what defenses they run, blitzes, stuff like that. I’m seeing stuff for the first time. I’m not going to say it’s going to be easy next year because it will never be easy, but I think, hopefully, moving forward, progress will be made. I’ve got to get better and it’s going to take a lot of hard work this offseason.

“I have confidence in my ability. Yeah, I didn’t play as well as I needed to all year. I didn’t expect to come in here year one and light this league on fire. It’s tough to do. I’m confident, moving forward, in my ability. I think I can do my part to make this team better, and, as a quarterback, that’s your main job anyway. I think the guys around me have confidence in me. We’re such a young team and we blossomed together. That’s the intriguing part.”

After watching the Browns’ young players -- including running back Trent Richardson, wide receivers Josh Gordon and Greg Little, and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz -- blossom together, Weeden said the goal for next year is the be one of the 12 teams that qualifies for postseason play.

“That’s our goal every year,” Weeden said. “I think every one of the 32 teams come into the year thinking that the first goal is to go to the playoffs. As far as us players, we put that expectation on ourselves. We want to play in the playoffs. There’s nothing better than playing added games that aren’t guaranteed.

“I’m not saying it’s playoffs or bust, but our goal is definitely to make the playoffs and I think we can do it. I truly think that this team has the capability of winning a lot of games next year. There’s a lot of solid leadership, veteran leadership, along with promising young players that can take us to the next step.”

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