Weeden not worried despite loss
BEREA – Brandon Weeden’s not worried, so he figures everyone else should chill out.
Relax. The games don’t really count yet.
Weeden struggled and Cleveland’s first-team offense sputtered during Saturday night’s exhibition loss to Indianapolis. Following positive performances in the Browns’ first two preseason games, Weeden’s bumpy outing brought out some here-we-go-again comments by his critics and renewed anxiety among Cleveland fans with the Sept. 8 season opener against Miami quickly approaching.
Weeden, though, isn’t uneasy.
“I don’t think there is any reason to push the panic button like a lot of people want to,” Weeden said Monday before practice. “But we’ve got to learn from it and we’ve got to get better. We’ve got to take the things that we didn’t do very well and correct them and get better come Thursday (at Chicago) and moving forward when we play Miami.”
Cleveland’s offense didn’t click against the Colts in a 27-6 loss.
After completing his first six passes, Weeden, who was so impressive in the Browns’ first two exhibitions, was off the mark on some easy throws and forced a couple passes that should have been intercepted. The Browns didn’t score on their first seven possessions, and coach Rob Chudzinski left his starters in for an extra series in the third quarter just so they could get a feel-good field goal.
There were dropped passes, two critical penalties, a fumble by wide receiver Greg Little and Weeden was often under pressure as Cleveland’s offensive line had a tough time with Indy’s quickness.
It didn’t look good, but Weeden said it wasn’t all bad and the Browns can learn from their mistakes.
“There were some things we missed, that’s going to be like that every game,” Weeden said. “We just couldn’t get any momentum going. It’s tough when you get in third-and-long situations, we made it tough on ourselves. Their defense played outstanding. Their coverage was great all night. I’ve watched the tape four times and all four times their coverage was really, really good.
“So, you gotta give credit where credit is due. They played well and we’ve got to play better.”
Indianapolis was a playoff team last season and is at a much higher level than St. Louis or Detroit, Cleveland’s first two preseason opponents.
The Colts may have brought the Browns back to earth, undressing them in the “dress rehearsal” for the regular season.
To Weeden, that’s not a bad thing.
“Sometimes you need that,” he said. “You need a little slap in the face to say ‘Listen, you’ve got to keep continuing to grind.’ It’s human nature to get a little ahead of yourself, but what better timing? It doesn’t count in the win-loss record for the regular season. We can correct all the mistakes we made, so we knew it was not going to be perfect all the time.
“It’s just impossible to play 20 games throughout the regular season, perfect games. It’s just not going to happen. We’d been pretty good the first two games. Now it’s just how do we deal with that adversity? How do we move on? It’ll be a big step for us.”
Weeden said Cleveland’s simplistic game plan may have contributed to the Browns not moving the chains.
And as for his “panic button” comment, Weeden said that if there is any negativity, it’s coming from outside Cleveland’s facility.
“The attitude in here has been great, so it’s not in this room,” he said. “We’re excited. We saw the mistakes, but they are all fixable. That one is behind us and now we’re looking forward to Chicago and that’s going to be here before we know it.”
On Sunday, Chudzinski said it’s possible Cleveland’s starters could play a few series this week against the Bears. Most NFL coaches resist putting their first-teamers on the field in the final preseason game to avoid any unnecessary injuries. But Chudzinski is more concerned that if his starters sit this week, there will be a 14-day gap between live action.
“That’s a decent amount of time without playing a game,” Chudzinski said. “That’s something that weighs into it.”
Other factors he’ll consider will be Cleveland’s choppy game in Indy as well as an inexperienced team that needs to grow. The best way to promote that is to play.
Weeden would welcome a chance to work out any kinks on the field against the Bears.
“If that’s what he wants to do, absolutely,” Weeden said. “I’m a creature of habit and I like to prepare and I like to not take a ton of time off and skip anything that I normally do. I like as many reps as I can get. I feel good where I am; I feel comfortable within the offense and as far as the preparation leading up to it.
“I feel good, but I wouldn’t mind playing a few series if that’s the direction he wants to go.”