Weeden utilizes tight ends

Posted Dec 5, 2012

Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden has learned how to utilize the tight end after not having one to throw to at Oklahoma State University.

When the Cleveland Browns needed a touchdown to make it a two-score game late in the fourth quarter of their 20-17 victory over the Oakland Raiders last Sunday, they put the ball in the hands of quarterback Brandon Weeden and the rookie engineered a 94-yard drive that Trent Richardson finished with a three-yard scoring run.

However, before Richardson got a chance to run on the final four plays of the drive, Weeden utilized a weapon he did not have at Oklahoma State to move the ball up the field, the tight ends.

Second-year tight end Jordan Cameron caught two passes for 30 yards on the drive, including a 23-yard reception that moved the Browns from Oakland’s 42-yard line to the 19 with 4:36 remaining in regulation. Earlier in the possession, veteran Benjamin Watson caught a 22-yarder that moved the Browns from their own 24 to the 46-yard line.

Weeden said the tight ends are flourishing in the Browns’ offense “because they are freaks.”

“Ben Watson, obviously, he’s been in the league for a long time,” Weeden said. “He’s unbelievable. Matchups on linebackers, running shallow crossing routes, running deep crossing routes, the guy is unbelievable. It doesn’t look like he’s moving as fast as he is, but he’s pulling away from guys. He’s great.

“Jordan Cameron, I would say most guys would say he’s probably the most athletic guy in the locker room. The guy is a mismatch. He did a lot of underneath stuff. You can throw it in a 10-foot radius and the guy’s going to catch it. You have to get him involved. I didn’t have those at Oklahoma State, so I’m just now learning how to use those. They are a nice asset for a quarterback, especially those two guys. They have been outstanding all season long.”

Weeden said he has gotten more comfortable throwing a shallow crossing route to the tight ends, as well as the wide receivers, like first-year pass-catcher, Josh Gordon.

“That’s a feeling route,” Weeden said. “You’ve got to get comfortable with personnel, as far as who’s running. You’ve got Josh coming across and Ben and they’re two different types of targets. There’s different rules that they have, so it’s just getting on the same page as them. It’s been a good route for us. We’ve had a lot of success with it. You get those two guys in space, watch out because they can do some damage.”

On the season, Cameron has 16 catches for 182 yards, an average of 11.4 yards per reception, and a touchdown.

Over the last two weeks, Cameron has four catches for 42 yards and one touchdown. He scored a five-yard touchdown pass in the Browns’ 20-14 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and his only receptions against the Raiders came on that final scoring drive.

“We envisioned him to be a playmaker in the passing game and then, be able to block well enough where we can play him on all three downs,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. “That’s how we envisioned him -- to be a starting tight end in our offense. We use two tight ends and two receivers quite a bit, so you’ll see him in there a lot with Ben. We have packages where we use him alone with three receivers and then, he can go in and fill in anywhere in the tight end position. He’s gotten a lot of good work this year and he’s showing up in terms of his production as a receiver, which is what we brought him here to do.”

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