Browns coach Rob Chudzinski officially named Brandon Weeden the team’s starting quarterback this morning during a news conference.
“Brandon has earned this job, and that's extremely important to me that he did,” Chudzinski said “He's gained my complete trust. He's gained his teammates' complete trust and this organization's trust. We're all behind him and we all will be there to support him.”
Chudzinski broke the news to Weeden on Monday.
"I feel like I've worked my tail off from during the offseason, this spring, throughout OTAs and up until this point," Weeden said. "So, yeah, it's rewarding."
Weeden took all the first-team reps throughout training camp, but Chudzinski said last week the competition between Weeden and Jason Campbell was “still close.” Chudzinski said what he really meant by that comment was that all three quarterbacks – Weeden, Campbell and Brian Hoyer – have progressed and he’s comfortable with all of them.
"Responding to the challenge is an accurate way to say how he's been all along," Chudzinski said of Weeden. "He's taken every day as an opportunity to show what he can do and to improve his trade. That's what he's done, and I've been pleased with that part of it very much so. He's shown up and he's produced in the games in the preseason so far."
Chudzinski said Jason Campbell will be the team’s No. 2 quarterback. Chudzinski said he doubts the team would enter the regular season with only two quarterbacks because he's pleased with all of them.
Browns running back Trent Richardson said Weeden, the 22nd overall pick in last year's draft, has displayed a better mindset and leadership this summer than last.
"I think I can see him taking us to the next level," Richardson said.
Browns running back Dion Lewis will likely be placed on season-ending injured reserve after undergoing surgery on his fractured left fibula Monday, Chudzinski said.
Chudzinski also ruled out rookie outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo (bruised lung) for the third preseason game Saturday at the Indianapolis Colts.
Chudzinski said defensive end Desmond Bryant is having back spasms, but we "don't expect it to be anything serious at all." And cornerback Trevin Wade sprained the AC joint in his right shoulder, Chudzinski said.
Guard Shawn Lauvao is hopeful he'll be back early in season after suffering a high left ankle sprain during practice Aug. 5 and undergoing arthoscopic surgery Aug. 9. Lauvao said ligaments and bone were cleaned out during the surgery.
"It sucks that it happened," Lauvao said. "But I'm just working my way to come back."
Like Lauvao, guard Jason Pinkston was in an walking boot. Pinkston suffered a high right ankle sprain Aug. 15 against the Detroit Lions. He said the timetable for his return is about four weeks.
"A little frustrated," Pinkston said. "But it happens. Injuries happen in the game. It's a physical game. It's just another step in the road."
With Lauvao and Pinkston sidelined, the Browns traded defensive end Brian Sanford to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for John Moffitt on Monday. He'll compete with rookie Garrett Gilkey and veteran backup tackle Oniel Cousins to start at right guard.
"I'm excited I get the opportunity to compete for a starting job," Moffitt said. "That's what I want to do. I consider myself a ballplayer, and I always want to be playing the game. So I'm really happy to be here."
Moffitt said he expressed interested in the spring about being traded by the Seahawks because he didn't think he was in a fair competition for the starting right guard job with J.R. Sweezy. Moffitt said he views Cleveland as a fresh start on and off the field.
In the aftermath of the trade, Gilkey is no longer considered the favorite to start at right guard in the early stages of the regular season.
"If anything, it's just more motivation to just keep getting better," Gilkey said.
Plan for Colts
Chudzinski intends to start the same players against the Colts who'll start in the regular season. But he also said the jobs at right guard, cornerback, kicker and punter are the exceptions because they're still up for grabs.