Reporting Daryl Ruiter
BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Critics be damned.
It’s Brandon Weeden or bust.
That was the message head coach Rob Chudzinski and Weeden’s teammates delivered Wednesday as the team began preparations for Sunday’s game at Green Bay.
“We definitely think he’s the guy that can lead us this year to the playoffs,” left tackle Joe Thomas said.
Despite last week’s 31-17 loss to Detroit that saw Weeden make one of the most ridiculous throws you’ll ever see with 4:36 to play and only trailing by 7, the Browns’ confidence in Weeden isn’t the least bit shaken.
“We’re not worried about Brandon or whatever happened during that game,” running back Willis McGahee said. “We all lost as a team. He didn’t lose the game for us. There are certain aspects of the game that we all could’ve done better at. It’s just the fact that everybody’s pointing at that interception he threw. But that’s part of the game.
“We’ve got his back. So no worries over here.”
It’s not all on Weeden either.
The defense gave up 24 second half points and squandered a 10-point halftime lead. Yet it’s Weeden who continues to take the brunt of the criticism – much to the dismay of linebacker Quentin Groves.
“He has been under so much scrutiny that any little thing he does wrong everyone wants to jump on his back about it,” Groves said. “I love the way he has handled it and he presents himself. Things in this game happen he is trying to be a playmaker and make the best play possible.”
While his teammates rallied around him Wednesday, Weeden has tuned out the negativity among fans and media. Not even a Craigslist ad from a frustrated fan or his interception being shown on every network on a loop has bothered him.
“It’s no different than any other week,” Weeden said. “It’s part of playing the position. I have very good earmuffs on, went out and got about the best ones I could. You can’t listen to it.
“All I care about is what goes on inside this building. If the guys in this building have my back and I have theirs, and we’re all on the same page, it really doesn’t matter what else is being said.”
Weeden has even steered clear of Twitter where fans have been tweeting venom and vitriol at him regularly. He hasn’t tweeted since July 14 and he deleted the app from his phone.
“The easy ones are social media, which has turned into a joke,” Weeden said. “Watch movies with the wife or whatever, but just don’t listen to it. I’ve been through ups and downs enough.
“And I’d like to say that I’m mature enough to not listen to what a 7-year old kid has to tell me about how to play quarterback or whatever it may be. I’m not concerned with it. I’m concerned with helping this team win games.”
Weeden added that fellow quarterbacks around the league sent messages of encouragement following the game that saw him become a punchline after the backhanded flip that was picked off and ultimately sealed the loss to Detroit.
Chudzinski said Wednesday that Weeden has responded well to the criticism that has come internally via meetings and film study with coaches.
“I like his attitude,” Chudzinski said. “He’s taking responsibility and accountability as we all are. It’s not just about one player. It’s the team and as coaches we’re going to do a better job.”
Part of that includes tweaking their game plan this week at Green Bay.
“We’re going to do everything we can to put him in the best possible position to succeed and then he has to produce,” Chudzinski said. “We’ll do some things from a scheme standpoint to do the things he does really well and adjust some of the things we’re doing.”
The Browns are 3-3 on the season and just 1 game back in the AFC North but they are a perfect 6-0 heading into halftime with the lead.
Weeden, who is 0-3 this season and 5-13 overall as a starter, is under tremendous pressure this year to convince the front office that didn’t draft him No. 22 overall in 2012 that they don’t need to sell the farm to draft a quarterback next May.
They already traded running back Trent Richardson for a first round pick to help position themselves to move up if needed.
“I don’t know many other guys that are having to go through that situation,” Weeden said. “But when you play the quarterback position at any level, those are the questions you’ve got to answer. Winning is a cure all. If you can win games, that cures everything.
“I need to do my part to be more consistent to help this team in whatever way possible.”
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