As expected, Quarterback Brandon Weeden will start Sunday when the Browns (4-7) host the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9), coach Rob Chudzinski announced this morning during a news conference.
Quarterback Jason Campbell has started the past four games, but he has yet to be cleared to practice after suffering a concussion this past weekend in a 27-11 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Campbell hasn’t been ruled out yet, but Chudzinski said he probably wouldn’t be active against the Jaguars. Chudzinski also said, at this point, the team is not considering placing Campbell, who’s also dealing with bruised ribs, on injured reserve.
The Browns officially signed quarterback Alex Tanney off the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad after he passed a physical. Tanney practiced today and will likely serve as Weeden’s backup.
Weeden, who’s 0-4 as a starter this season and 5-14 in his career, was benched a month ago in favor of Campbell after consecutive poor performances against the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers. Drafted 22nd overall last year by the previous regime, Weeden said he embraces another chance to prove himself.
“I want to be out there as much as possible with these guys preparing and going through the weekly process of going out and playing a game,” Weeden said. “I’m excited about it. See if we can get back on track and win a couple games.”
Browns fans booed Weeden this past weekend when he replaced Campbell. Weeden insisted he has tuned out the negativity.
“It is what it is,” Weeden said. “I’ve been through a lot. I’d like to think I’m mature enough to handle all that stuff, but I learned a long time ago you can only control so much. Before I even throw a pass, or we have a trick play and the trick play didn’t work and I have to throw it away and I still get booed, you have to laugh it off and use that as positive reinforcement, use it as ammo to go out and play well.”
After everything Weeden has been through, does he want to remain with the Browns beyond this season?
“I’m a Cleveland Brown,” Weeden said. “I think for the next five weeks, I’m a Cleveland Brown. After that, whatever happens is out of my control. I’m excited. This is one of the best teams I’ve ever been on as far as just the group of guys in this locker room, the atmosphere we have going on, the friendships we have and the camaraderie, it’s great. I’m going to enjoy every minute of it as long as I’m here, and then if they tell me to beat it, then we’ll see. Right now, my main focus is the Cleveland Browns and winning this Sunday.”
Chudzinski said the team will have a package of plays for Tanney in the event he must play Sunday.
When asked if he would be ready Sunday if he had to play, Tanney said, “I would like to think so, yeah. Still got a lot of learning to do, but we’ll see.”
Tanney said he kind of regrets doing the YouTube trick-shot video that went viral two years ago and made him famous because people assume it’s the only reason he’s in the NFL.
“I like to think that I’m here because of the skills on the field, not throwing into garbage cans,” Tanney said.
Comments in review
Strong safety T.J. Ward said he doesn’t regret the comments he made after the game Sunday about the offense’s need to stop committing turnovers. The Browns had four turnovers against the Steelers and eight in the past two games.
Ward, though, said the defense is also accountable.
“I don’t regret what I said,” Ward said. “I said what I meant at that time. I was frustrated, of course, but if it happened again, I probably would say the same thing. It’s the truth, it’s how I felt and it was no negative tone toward anybody but the entire team. That’s where I was coming from. Me, myself, personally, special teams, offense, defense, we’re not winning games as a whole, and that’s where I came from with that statement.
“But I did say we’re not creating as many turnovers as well, I have complete faith in the offense and what they’re doing, and that was the entire interview. But only a little bit got captured. So that’s what I guess got focused on, but it’s all about winning here. I love my teammates. They’re doing a great job. We just can’t turn the ball over, and we’ll win games.”
Chudzinski said he urged the team to stick together Monday after reading Ward’s postgame comments.
Cornerback Buster Skrine (bruised ribs) and tight end MarQueis Gray (hamstring) returned to practice today.
In addition to Campbell, inside linebackers Craig Robertson (sprained knee) and Tank Carder (sprained shoulder) sat out practice. Robertson said it would be a game-time decision whether he plays Sunday, and Carder said he doesn’t know yet whether he’ll be ready Sunday. Both of them expressed confidence in rookie Darius Eubanks’ ability to fill in if needed.