Reporting Daryl Ruiter
DETROIT (92.3 The Fan) – With Trent Richardson down and out for the bulk of the preseason, all eyes turn to the Cleveland Browns’ other first round draft pick – quarterback Brandon Weeden.
Weeden and the Browns will kick off the preseason Friday night at Ford Field in Detroit against the Lions.
After being selected No. 22 overall, expectations are high for Weeden to help turn around an offense that scored a paltry 218 points a season ago.
To the surprise of no one, other than Colt McCoy, he was named the starter on Monday after winning the “competition.”
“I’m excited about it,” Weeden said. “I’ve really put in a lot of work, a lot of studying. I think I’ve come a long way.
“My job is to get this team better to start winning games on Friday.”
Weeden likes taking chances and letting it fly. He’s shown that during the first 2 weeks of camp but the Browns’ secondary has been up to the challenge.
But coach Pat Shurmur isn’t looking for Weeden to light up Motown, just be efficient.
“Well let’s remember now, he’s a rookie and so this will be his first NFL contest,” Shurmur said. “So we’re looking for him to go out there and execute, and be generally efficient. And then take a lead of that huddle, and direct us into the end zone.”
After spending 2 minicamps, OTA’s and two weeks of training camp throwing against the Browns secondary, Weeden is anxious to see some fresh competition.
“Practice is great, you’ve got to do it,” Weeden said. “But as a player you love schlepping the pads on, playing in front of people, and going out and it actually meaning something with points on the board.”
Scoring would be a nice change of pace for an offense that ranked 30th in scoring (averaging 13.6 points per game) and 28th in red zone efficiency (13 touchdowns in 31 trips inside the 20).
Weeden is expected to be pulled after the first quarter depending on the amount of snaps he gets.
“My main goal is to go out, and however long I play be 100 percent on my responsibility,” Weeden said. “No missed assignments on my part. And I think it’s going to be fast, guys will be flying around, it’s going to be fun. It’ll be nice to get hit a couple times.”
He’ll get it too.
Not so much from the Lions secondary but their defensive line led by Ndamukong Suh.
Weeden was fortunate enough to avoid him while at Oklahoma State. He hopes to be just as lucky Friday.
“He’s a good player,” Weeden said. “He’s tough in the middle and very athletic, very active. And, like I said, he’s a really good player.”
One of the criticisms of Weeden on scouting reports leading up to the draft was his ability – or lack of – to handle pressure in the pocket.
“I think you always like a test right off the bat to kind of get a feel for what you’re in for,” Weeden said. “I think this defensive line is very active. They’ve got guys who can rush the passer, and that’s good for me. I think as a player you want to face guys early on that can give you a feel for what you’re going to feel week in and week out.
“So it’s a good starter.”