Weeden, Browns showing signs of spunk in preseason

Posted Aug. 17, 2012 @ 9:24 p.m.
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BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Brandon Weeden won't let a 2-0 record as Cleveland's starting quarterback take his breath away.

A hard hit to the chest did that.

"I feel good," Weeden said Friday after a brisk walkthrough.

So do the Browns, who are brimming with confidence following a 35-10 win Thursday at Green Bay over a team expected to be a Super Bowl contender.

Weeden and coach Pat Shurmur both cautioned it's only the preseason. There is a load of work to do, yet it was evident both are pleased with the progress.

"To be able to go into a storied football environment and win a game — it's a preseason game, I get that — that's an important thing," Shurmur said. "I saw a lot of young guys playing fast, playing hard and enjoying the experience."

Still, Shurmur was far from satisfied.

"There were a few gimmes in the game or layups so to speak," he said, "that we didn't take advantage of."

Fewer dropped passes and better reads by Weeden would have helped, so Shurmur spent half of the light practice working on mistakes. Among those participating after missing the win with injuries were receivers Mohammed Massaquoi and Travis Benjamin.

RB Trent Richardson, picked No. 3 overall, remains out after left knee surgery on Aug. 9. Montario Hardesty started in Richardson's place and fumbled on the Browns' first play, leading to a Green Bay touchdown.

The Browns and Hardesty quickly bounced back. So did Weeden a little later, after getting hit hard by unblocked CB Brandian Ross on a blitz.

"I was surprised," Weeden said. "I just lost my breath. I tried to call the next play in the huddle and couldn't even spit out a word. My offensive line was laughing at me. I was hurting there for a second, but I feel 100 percent healthy."

DB Trevin Wade, taken from the game on a cart, took part in practice, though a few didn't take the field due to what Shurmur termed "game soreness."

While Weeden's development continues to be the main focus of training camp, the overall play on defense is a key reason why the Browns are a preseason 2-0 for the first time since 2005. The Browns have forced six turnovers already.

"Our defensive coaches have done a nice job of emphasizing that when the ball is in the air, don't deflect it, pick it," Shurmur said. "We've recovered fumbles and there's nothing more devastating than obviously sacking the quarterback or turning the ball over."

Weeden went 12-for-20 passing for 118 yards and did not have a turnover — much better than his 3-for-9 with a fumble and interception in Detroit for his debut.

"I got 40 plays in and got into some rhythm," he said. "My second quarter was better than my first. Everybody was criticizing me for 15 plays (the previous week). I read my Twitter. Some of it is comical."

Weeden said that just as he didn't get down after the Detroit game, the 28-year-old is not feeling cocky after beating the Packers, either.

"Regardless how old I am, it's still a big jump (from college)," he said. "We're still trying to get better at the fundamentals, the basics."

Shurmur said Weeden's progress is obvious, though a good measuring stick will come next Friday against Philadelphia. The Eagles use a similar defensive scheme as the Lions. Weeden will have a chance to show if he has fixed the flaws he had against Detroit's defense.

The other trick to the Eagles game is this: Don't expect to see a lot on either side, as the two teams will meet again to open the regular season Sept. 9.

"You just want to see steady improvement," Shurmur said. "I think I saw that from him."

NOTES: LBs James-Michael Johnson, Craig Robertson, L.J. Fort and Ben Jacobs drew praise from Shurmur. They are battling for two open spots. Chris Gocong is out for the season and Scott Fujita faces a three-game suspension to start the season. ... FB Brad Smelley played some tight end in Green Bay. Shurmur said the rookie could get more looks there. ... The roster must be cut to 75 on Aug. 27. The final cut to 53 is due Aug. 31.

 

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