BEREA: Browns quarterback Pat Shurmur said he wants to name a starting quarterback “sooner than later,” and all signs are pointing to rookie Brandon Weeden being his choice.
Weeden, the 22nd overall pick in this year’s draft, continued to take the majority of the snaps with the first-team offense Wednesday during mandatory minicamp. Quarterback Colt McCoy worked with the first unit toward the end of practice, but the majority of his reps were with the second team.
However, it’s still a mystery when Shurmur will formally name the starter. It could be next week as organized team activities wrap up, during training camp or in the midst of the preseason schedule.
“I think once we’ve made a decision that’s the deal I think you want to try to [name a starter],” Shurmur said. “If you know that he’s going to be your guy, then make it happen, so everybody gets comfortable working with that guy all the time.
“Ideally, we’d have a starter now, right? Teams that are going into this offseason with a starter, that’s the most ideal situation. But when you have new players that you really like — that’s why you picked them — you just need to see them come in and do it before you make that move.”
Shurmur compared the Browns’ quarterback situation to the St. Louis Rams’ setup in 2010. Shurmur was the offensive coordinator of the Rams that year, when they drafted quarterback Sam Bradford No. 1 overall.
“Sam Bradford was playing it through, in my eyes, a lot like it’s happening here,” Shurmur said. “And we had A.J. Feeley that was there, a veteran quarterback, and they shared reps. There was times when A.J. started the drills. There was times when Sam started the drills. Then it was the beginning of training camp when we named Sam the starter, and he had a pretty good year his first year.”
Even though Shurmur said the Rams made their decision early in training camp, they started Feeley in their first two preseason games. In the second exhibition game, Feeley injured his right thumb against the Browns, and Bradford replaced him. Bradford then started the final two preseason games and was publicly named the Week 1 starter by then-Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo on Sept. 4, eight days before the regular-season opener.
Shurmur said Bradford would have been named the starter, even if Feeley didn’t hurt his thumb in Cleveland.
“That was the plan all along,” Shurmur said.
The Browns seem to be planning for Weeden to start in Week 1. Shurmur continues to acknowledge Weeden, 28, is headed in the right direction toward securing the job.
“I think I’ve seen what we expected from him,” Shurmur said. “I think he understands our concepts. I think he’s quickly getting a feel for his receivers. … He’s showing me that he understands how to play this game.”
Running backs ready
Brandon Jackson is determined to make up for lost time after missing the entire 2011 regular season with torn ligaments in his big toe, and Montario Hardesty views this year as a fresh start after dealing with injury problems of his own.
Shurmur said each of them will get chances to contribute during the upcoming season, even though the Browns recently drafted rookie running back Trent Richardson third overall.
“Well, I think guys that aren’t the starter — and let’s assume that Trent does [start] — guys that are in role-player positions need to be able to come in and carry the ball a few times a game,” Shurmur said. “They need to contribute on special teams and be ready to go. I think it’s rare now that a team has one back and he plays all the reps the whole year.”
Jackson can’t wait to return to action. He signed with the Browns last year after winning a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers. But he hurt his toe Aug. 19 in the Browns’ second preseason game against the Detroit Lions and was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 3. Jackson said the injury did not require surgery.
“It was very frustrating,” Jackson said. “I felt like I kind of failed them, and just coming up this year, I’ve got a lot of things that need to be done. I have a lot of goals that need to be met. I’m going to do whatever it takes to meet them.
“When you’re down a year coming off a Super Bowl and they expect you to do good things and you can’t, it hurts you. It humbles you, too, in a way. I’m just coming back strong and I’m ready.”
Hardesty did not play in six games last season as he dealt with a torn calf muscle in his right leg. The previous year, he tore the ACL in his left knee and missed his entire rookie season.
Now he’s hoping to hit the reset button.
“I am 100 percent healthy,” Hardesty said. “I am ready to compete. I think that is the biggest thing about this offseason — I was actually able to train and work. I couldn’t do that last year. I was still rehabbing stuff. I feel good now. It is almost like a renewed start.”
Offensive tackle Oniel Cousins missed practice. He was excused as he dealt with a family matter, a team spokesman said. … Kicker Jeff Wolfert returned to practice after missing Tuesday for personal reasons. … Defensive lineman Brian Schaefering (recovering from hernia surgery), fullback Eddie Williams (back) and offensive lineman Stanley Daniels (undisclosed) continued to sit out with injuries. … Strong safety T.J. Ward broke up a pass from quarterback Thaddeus Lewis to tight end Dan Gronkowski during a 7-on-7 session featuring third-and-5 scenarios. Ward’s play sealed the defense’s victory in the drill, and the offensive players paid the price by doing push-ups.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/browns.abj.