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Browns training camp snapshot: Chudzinski says QB race ‘close,’ Weeden confident; Richardson to play

By Nate Ulrich Published: August 13, 2013

The Browns held their 16th full-squad practice of training camp tonight. Below is a glance at what unfolded.

Storylines: After the final practice of training camp open to the public wrapped up this evening, Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said he’s not ready to name a starting quarterback, and he described the competition as a tight race, even though Brandon Weeden has taken every snap with the first-team offense throughout camp. “I think it’s still close and we’re finding out every game, and these games are important opportunities for guys to show what they can do,” Chudzinski said. Weeden impressed last week in the Browns’ 27-19 win over the St. Louis Rams in the preseason opener, completing 10-of-13 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown and posting a passer rating of 127.7. He’ll start again Thursday night when the Browns host the Detroit Lions, and Chudzinski said his plan is to play most of the starters until midway through the second quarter and possibly the entire first half. But Chudzinski also made it clear he wants to keep to pushing Weeden with second-string quarterback Jason Campbell and third-stringer quarterback Brian Hoyer working behind him on the depth chart. “I think we’ll see them more and get more time with them on the field, and there’s still three preseason games left out of the four,” Chudzinski said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done. We’ve got plenty of practice time as well. Every day is an evaluation and we’re looking at them every day. They each have done well and showed good things along the way.” Weeden, the 22nd overall pick in this year’s draft, believes he’ll secure the starting job if he continues to progress the way he has throughout camp. “I’m confident that I’m going to be [the starter],” Weeden said. “But I’ve got to prove it to the other guys, the guys upstairs that I am the guy. The only way I can do that is play well and keep continuing to get better.” Because the new regime and coaching staff didn’t draft him, Weeden knows he’s still in the process of earning trust. “I have to show these guys that I can play and show these guys that I can be the man,” Weeden said. “[It’s] just one more obstacle I’ve got to overcome, but I’ve just got to worry about what I can control.” Is there something Chudzinski has seen from Weeden that makes him question his top spot on the depth chart? “I don’t look at it like that,” Chudzinski said. “I think you look at maybe a day or a play or a throw or this or that, that maybe something you’d like to improve on, and you see it. You see the improvement with him. You see him make the corrections and you see the progress.” And if Chudzinski continues to see those things from Weeden, he will formally name him the starter for the upcoming season. … Starting running back Trent Richardson will make his NFL preseason debut Thursday against the Lions. “We’ll play Trent,” Chudzinski said. “We’ll get him a couple series, and then we’ll go from there.” Richardson missed all four preseason games last year as a rookie because he underwent surgery Aug. 9 to have a piece of loose cartilage removed from his left knee. He sat out last week against the Rams because the Browns were being cautious with him after he was kicked in the right shin, the same one in which he suffered a strained muscle during the spring. “I’m surprised like ya’ll,” Richardson said when told Chudzinski gave him the green light. “I’m happy, and I can’t wait to get up out there. … It’s a big relief. I want to play all the time, and I’m just real happy with the decision coach just made.” Richardson, who said he’s 100 percent healthy, believes he can benefit from playing Thursday. “I just want to get the timing down with the offensive line, game speed, game conditioning, just being in there with my team and just getting back in the groove,” Richardson said. … Second-string running back Montario Hardesty practiced today after suffering a dislocated right thumb during practice Monday, Chudzinski said. Hardesty wore padding or a soft cast on the thumb during practice. He did not speak to reporters. “We padded him up, and he was OK,” Chudzinski said. “He went out and did some individual drills in practice today, and we’ll see about him for next week.”

Position battles: Undrafted rookie Brandon Bogotay will be the only kicker who plays Thursday, Chudzinski said. Shayne Graham, a 12-year veteran, will take the night off. “It’s a pretty tight competition, and it really it’s a day-to-day thing,” Chudzinski said. “It just depends on the day. We’ll kick Brandon Bogotay in this game, only, just Brandon. So it’ll give him an opportunity. We’ll get a chance to see him perform in a situation where he has to kick them all.”

Highlights: In team drills, Weeden completed a deep touchdown to wide receiver Greg Little, who beat undrafted rookie cornerback Abdul Kanneh during the play. … Cornerback Buster Skrine leaped to breakup a pass along the sideline from Campbell to wide receiver Dominique Croom. … Hoyer connected with wide receiver Cordell Roberson for a deep touchdown despite coverage from Kanneh. … Browns owner Jimmy Haslam chatted with Glenville football coach Ted Ginn Sr. during practice. Ginn brought members of his team to watch the action.

Injuries: Fullback Brock Bolen (calf) and defensive end Hall Davis (hamstring) returned to practice. … Wide receiver David Nelson (knee), cornerback Leon McFadden (groin), offensive linemen Ryan Miller (concussion), Shawn Lauvao (left ankle) and Chris Faulk (knee) continued to sit out.

Wednesday’s schedule: Practice is closed to the public.

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