Reporting Daryl Ruiter
BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – As the fourth string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, Thaddeus Lewis is a virtual unknown.
Like any quarterback, Lewis dreams of starting one day in the NFL.
Until then, he’s content to sit back and learn in Cleveland with the Browns under Pat Shurmur and Brad Childress.
“You obviously have to think like that, because if you don’t then you’re here for the wrong reason,” Lewis said. “Everybody has aspirations of being a starter. So whenever that time comes, whenever I’m presented with that situation, I have to take advantage of the situation. Now, I’m not the starter [but I have] to prepare myself to be the starter in every way, shape, form, and fashion.
“You have to build yourself up to that position and that’s what I’m trying to do now.”
Lewis, who enters his third NFL season, is entrenched for the moment as the fourth quarterback on the Browns’ depth chart.
Depending on how things play out, he could move up.
“You never know,” Lewis said. “My whole thing is just to continue to develop as a quarterback that belongs in this league and take advantage of the opportunities you do get.”
Those opportunities are limited in practice as well as the preseason.
Lewis played the fourth quarter at Detroit and completed 5-of-8 passes for 90 yards and the team put 9 points on the board with him under center as the Browns rallied to win their preseason opener 19-17.
“The opportunities that present itself are right now in August,” Lewis said. “I worry about the things that are important right now and try to take strides and whatever is in front of you later on down the road, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
While the game doesn’t count in the overall standings, the win has meaning for Lewis.
“You always have to take pride when it comes to you having the opportunity to help you team win along with 10 other guys on the field,” Lewis said. “We did a great job of coming together playing as a unit and leaving it all out on the field. So I was proud of myself as well as proud of the other guys that were on the field with me.”
Childress was able to see Lewis in a game for the first time and was very impressed considering how little work he actually gets on the practice field.
“For a guy that has limited turns he did an exceptional job,” Childress said. “I think he’s grown out here. If your a backup quarterback, if your second or third, you’re not going to get a lot of reps and you’ve got to be able to put game plans into play without taking a lot of turns.
“Whether it was orchestrating the the 2-minute drill there or just playing at the end of that game. He had a great presence about him.”
The former Duke Blue Devil was signed by the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2010. Shurmur liked what he saw in St. Louis from him and as a result, the Browns claimed him off of waivers in early September of 2011.
Lewis feels much more comfortable within the system this season.
“I would say it’s a 180,” Lewis said. “You take that whole half-turn for the simple fact that you had a OTA. We had an offseason program to come in and get acclimated to the system. Obviously, this was a system I ran my rookie year [which helps].”
Should he continue to play well, it could make the decision whether or not to part with Colt McCoy much easier for the Browns.
Historically, the Browns go through quarterbacks like water during the season which is why the team isn’t in a hurry to show McCoy, who at least has starting NFL experience behind Wallace, the door.
If Lewis keeps working as hard as he has and takes advantage of his August opportunities, he too will get some starting experience.