BEREA: When a reporter described the latest performance of Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden as a “clunker,” it didn’t take long for coach Pat Shurmur to respond.
“That’s a good word,” Shurmur said Monday during his news conference.
After showing progress through the second quarter of the season, Weeden took a big step backward Sunday in the Browns’ 25-15 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. He completed 20-of-37 passes (54 percent) for 176 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
“Obviously I missed some guys,” Weeden said after the game. “I missed some throws I’d like to have back. But that’s going to happen. Sometimes you’re not going to have your best stuff and you’ve got to find a way to win. We found a way to get a lead, no matter how bad or how good I was playing, and we just weren’t able to finish them off.”
One of the main culprits in the failure to prevail was the offense’s lack of efficiency in the red zone. The Browns (2-7) settled for a field goal on all five trips inside the Ravens’ 20-yard line, and Shurmur suggested Weeden missed some opportunities that could have resulted in touchdowns.
“[There were] a couple [plays] that we could have been a little bit more heroic or aggressive with,” Shurmur said. “Then there are plays throughout the game, not just the red zone, that I wish we would have executed better.”
This season, the Browns are ranked 31st in the NFL in red-zone efficiency (33.3 percent), scoring six touchdowns in 18 trips. Weeden, the 22nd overall pick in this year’s draft, has thrown only three touchdown passes in the red zone.
When Shurmur gambled by going for it instead of punting on fourth-and-2 from the Browns’ 28-yard line, Weeden overthrew Greg Little on a slant route and the pass fell incomplete with 3:50 left in the fourth quarter.
“There were five receivers in the route, so we’ve gotta do a better job,” Shurmur said when asked if Weeden made a bad throw.
Weeden is ranked 32nd in the league in fourth-quarter passing with a rating of 63.2.
“[His fourth-quarter numbers] need to be better, especially in a situation where we need to come back,” Shurmur said. “We need to improve there.”
So what’s next?
“We look at the film based on the progressions and where the ball should have gone and the rhythm and the feet and all that stuff,” Shurmur said. “You look at it and try to improve on it. … We want to get more completions, we want to score touchdowns and win games.”
Traveling with Browns
The Browns will be the subject of a new Travel Channel series titled NFL Road Tested: The Cleveland Browns. It will premiere at 10 p.m. Dec. 4.
Travel Channel has partnered with NFL Films and RIVR Media to create the series. Dee Haslam, wife of Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, is the CEO and founder of RIVR Media.
The show will use behind-the-scenes footage to outline what it takes for an entire NFL team to travel from city to city during the regular season. Episodes will focus on weeks leading up to the Browns’ games against the New York Giants, Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Shurmur said he’ll ask the league to review three calls against the Browns: rookie wide receiver Josh Gordon’s pass-interference penalty in the first quarter; Gordon’s unnecessary-roughness penalty on a crack-back block in the third quarter and strong safety T.J. Ward’s roughing-the-passer penalty in the fourth quarter.
After watching film, middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson still doesn’t think Ward should have been penalized on second-and-8 at the Ravens’ 42 with 7:35 remaining. The Ravens (6-2) scored the go-ahead touchdown six plays later.
“From where the ref was, if you watch on film, [Ravens quarterback Joe] Flacco’s head bobbles a little bit, which if he wasn’t directly in front of the play, you would assume he got hit in his head,” Jackson said. “T.J. was clearly going for the ball in my opinion. You don’t want to say that one call made the difference in the game, but it’s just unfortunate he called it at that time.”
Wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi played Sunday for the first time since he suffered a hamstring injury Sept. 23, but he limped off the field with about four minutes left. “He did not re-injure it,” Shurmur said. “But he was less than 100 percent.” … Tight end Jordan Cameron said the players are still angry about falling to the Ravens. “If you’re content with losing, you should get out of the business,” Cameron said. “So I think everyone’s pretty mad right now and angry and frustrated, and I think that’s good because we want to get better and progress each week.”
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com.browns.abj