Browns coach Pat Shurmur sent his message loud and clear this morning when asked what he wants to see from rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden in the final seven games of the season.
“Don’t throw interceptions,” Shurmur said during his news conference. “Done. End of story.”
Only Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has thrown more interceptions than Weeden this season. Romo has been picked off 13 times. Weeden, San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel have thrown 12 interceptions apiece.
Weeden and the Browns (2-7) will visit Romo and the Cowboys (4-5) Sunday.
“The essence of a quarterback is you have to be a good decision maker, and you have to decide when it’s important to try to be aggressive with a throw and then it’s also important to then, of course, be smart with the football,” Shurmur said. “I’ve looked at all those interceptions and there were times when [Weeden] could have made better decisions. There’s, of course, things that happen where a ball bounces off a guy’s chest, so you look at all those things. You don’t want to play anxious football, but you also have to be smart. And I think that’s something that we all have to come to grips with.”
Shurmur still believes Weeden can become an exceptional NFL quarterback. Weeden has completed 185-of-336 passes (55.1 percent) for 2,088 yards and nine touchdowns with 12 interceptions. His passer rating is 67.9.
“I think he’s got a chance to be an outstanding player,” Shurmur said. “I don’t think there’s any question about it. That’s it. He’s got to lead us to victories and don’t throw as many interceptions.”
Shurmur also has respect for Romo, who has completed 230-of-344 passes (66.9 percent) for 2,603 yards and 12 touchdowns with 13 interceptions for a passer rating of 85.2.
“The game is never over when he’s got the ball in his hand,” Shurmur said. “He’s got outstanding weapons to throw the football to.”
Shurmur was asked if rookie running back Trent Richardson is healthier following the Browns’ bye. Richardson has been playing through a rib cartilage injury since Oct. 14.
“He says he is,” Shurmur said. “I haven’t like punched him in the ribs or anything, but he’s gonna be out there practicing. He said he feels good.”
Cornerback Dimitri Patterson (ankle) is the only Browns player who missed practice today. He has sat out the past four games. ... Tight end Benjamin Watson will serve as the Browns' fourth game captain Sunday, Shurmur said. … Shurmur said wide receiver Greg Little called him late last week and asked if he could address the team Monday. Little met with former NBA All-Star Alonzo Mourning in Miami during the bye week and was moved by Mourning’s advice about the importance of sacrifice for the sake of winning. Little relayed the message to his teammates when they returned from the break. “I thought his comments were very insightful, and I was glad that he did it,” Shurmur said. … Wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi has continued to practice even though he limped off the field late in the fourth quarter of the Browns’ 25-15 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 4. Massaquoi missed the previous five games with an injured hamstring. “We’ll see where we’re at with Mo as far as getting him back,” Shurmur said.