The Browns' new regime wants Brandon Weeden to compete for the starting quarterback job, and he has accepted the challenge.
Weeden, the teamís incumbent starting quarterback, said heís ďabsolutelyĒ confident he can beat out any competition the organization acquires at the position this offseason.
ďI completely expect to be the starter,Ē Weeden said tonight before signing autographs during the Cleveland Auto Show at the I-X Center. ďThatís my mindset going in. Iím confident in my ability to be the guy, to lead this football team.Ē
CEO Joe Banner and coach Rob Chudzinski recently said at the NFL Scouting Combine that Weeden has potential, but his ability to prove himself as the teamís long-term answer at quarterback depends on how much he wants it. Weeden defended his work ethic last season and said heíll continue to keep pushing himself.
ďI worked tirelessly every single night, late throughout the night, week in and week out, so I canít really, Iím not sure really where theyíre going,Ē said Weeden, the 22nd overall pick in last yearís draft. ďI donít know the context of the question. If they said there was something there, but I worked my tail off last year. I busted my butt every single night and tried to get ready to play on Sundays.Ē
Weeden, 29, believes heíll benefit from competition.
ďThatís the way it should be,Ē Weeden said. ďI think thatís the way Iím going to approach it anyway. Iím going to challenge myself. I know what to expect. Iím not going to my first camp anymore. I kind of know how it all works as far as just the daily schedule, how everything works. So know itís all ball. I can dial it in and really get focused on what weíre trying to do. Iím going to have to learn a whole new offense. Thereís no time to sit back and relax. Itís full steam ahead once I get my hands on a playbook. Iím ready to get challenged. Theyíve already said theyíre going to challenge me, and as a player, thatís what I want.Ē
Weeden said he has yet to receive a playbook because of rules in the new collective bargaining agreement, but he plans on reporting to the Brownsí headquarters April 1 for the start of the teamís offseason training program.
Here is the full transcript from Weedenís interview with reporters:
Are you hearing the speculation? Does it bother you at all?: ďNo, itís just part of the offseason. Nobodyís playing any games and itís all rumors and itís just the way it is every year. But I donít listen to it. Guys, one I havenít had time to sit on the couch and watch it or listen to it. The only thing I really ever hear is my buddy asked me if somethingís going on. But I donít pay attention to it, not worried about it, Iím excited to be here this year and compete. Thatís kind of been my message all along. And I stand with it. This game, itís all about competing and [Chudzinski will] tell me the same thing. Weíre going to put the best players on the field and that goes for the quarterback position. Iíve got to show that Iíve improved to year two and thatís why Iíve been working my tail off these last few months.Ē
Youíve only been here a year, and youíre a first-round round pick. Are you surprised the Browns havenít endorsed you as their guy?: ďI think it goes back to a couple of things. Weíve got a new regime, you got different guys, so theyíre going to have to re-evaluate all the players in the building. I think it goes with everybody on the roster. And I also think, we only won five games last year. If we had won more games and had a lot more success offensively, we might not be in this situation. But thatís not the case. and again, Iím not discouraged by it, and you can probably tell by the tone my voice, of course, I donít have a voice, but you can tell Iím excited about the future.
Banner was more complimentary Saturday at the combine. Have they told you anything?: ďNo, our interactionís been minimal just because of all the league policies and thereís so many rules that are out there. So, no, we havenít sat down and had any talks.Ē
Chudzinski and Banner seemed to question your work ethic. Why would they make remarks like that?: ďI have no idea. No, I donít have any idea. I worked tirelessly every single night, late throughout the night, week in and week out, so I canít really, Iím not sure really where theyíre going. I donít know the context of the question. If they said there was something there, but I worked my tail off last year. I busted my butt every single night and tried to get ready to play on Sundays.Ē
Chudzinski and Banner said they see potential in you but he must earn job. It seemed like they wanted to put the pressure on and challenge you. How do you react?: ďThatís the way it should be. I think thatís the way Iím going to approach it anyway. Iím going to challenge myself. I know what to expect. Iím not going to my first camp anymore. I kind of know how it all works as far as just the daily schedule, how everything works. So know itís all ball. I can dial it in and really get focused on what weíre trying to do. Iím going to have to learn a whole new offense. Thereís no time to sit back and relax. Itís full steam ahead once I get my hands on a playbook. Iím ready to get challenged. Theyíve already said theyíre going to challenge me, and as a player, thatís what I want.Ē
Do you think a true quarterback competition bring out the best in you? Do you think you can benefit from it?: ďAbsolutely. As a competitor, you want compete. Whether I was a quarterback, a receiver, a safety, whatever, you want competition there Ďcause one it makes you a better player. It also makes the team better. So Iím welcome to it. If we had won 10 or 11 games, it probably wouldnít be the case. But we didnít. We won five, and itís my job to get better in year two. Itís my job to make this football team a better football team starting Week 1.Ē
You havenít had a chance to obtain the new playbook yet?: ďYeah, thereís too many rules. Thereís limitations. Iím not sure when exactly they can send them out, so itíll be a little while.Ē
How excited are you to be in a vertical offense, which maybe is better suited to how you play?: ďYeah, thatís what we did at Oklahoma State. We threw the ball down the field. Just playing against [San Diego Chargers quarterback] Philip Rivers last year, they were in the shotgun a lot. They do five-step drops under center. They do a lot of stuff to fit the skill sets of the guys they have around them, and I think my skill set is throwing the football down the field, throwing the ball and giving our receivers a chance to make plays vertically. So Iím excited about that. Itís going to be a lot of fun.Ē
Do you expect to be the starter next season?: ďI completely expect to be the starter. Thatís my mindset going in. Iím confident in my ability to be the guy, to lead this football team. I think everybody Iíve talked to thatís a veteran in this league, they say your biggest jump is from year one to year two. One, you know what to expect. But also, this is a tough league and you face so much adversity in year because everybody youíre playing against is so good. So I know what to expect now. I know everybodyís going to be good. I kind of have an idea of the teams in our division what they do defensively and stuff like that. I expect completely to be better this year than I was last year.Ē
Was former Browns coach Pat Shurmurís West Coast offense a bad fit for you? Is new Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turnerís vertical, downfield passing game a better fit?: ďNo, I can't say that because that was my first year to play in that offense so I can't really say that it didn't fit me well. But I don't have the answer one way or the other. We tried to dial up plays that fit me well, fit receivers well and tried to do what we could to score points and we just didn't get completely there as an offense. We never really felt like we were rolling for four quarters. I told you guys that a lot last year. But what do I know about this offense? The people I've talked to, I've talked to Troy Aikman, and Bernie [Kosar has] played in it, and guys like that have had a lot of success in it. It's not only quarterback friendly, but they put a lot on the quarterback. They expect a lot out of the quarterback and they want you to be in full. As a quarterback, that's what you want. You want to be decisive, and feel like when you're making a throw, you're confident in everything you're doing.Ē
Were you able to audible last year?: ďIt just depended on the situation. We tried to get to a position where we played so fast but we didn't really have to. We tried to play at a tempo and a speed that enabled us to not have to think at the line of scrimmage, just go play. So they didn't really ask me to do it all that much.Ē
Are you confident you can beat out anybody they bring in?: ďAbsolutely.Ē
Is playing out of the shotgun formation ideal for you?: ďWell, I mean, that's what I've done my entire career. In college, I was primarily a shotgun quarterback, and last year I saw someone tweeted me that I was below the average but I think whatever. If I'm under center every snap, I've got to find a way to get it done. Regardless of whether I'm under center or behind center in the shotgun, I've got to find a way to get it done regardless. But yeah, I do feel extremely in the shotgun.Ē
Will you be here April 1?: ďYeah, I'll be here.Ē