Brandon Weeden is not a player that lacks confidence. From the first time he spoke after the draft, to training camp to post game comments, Weeden never seemed to doubt his ability. When he spoke to the media on Monday morning, that confidence was on display again. Earlier in the day, head coach Rob Chudzinski confirmed that Weeden is going to take the first-team reps in training camp. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise as the Browns need to know what they have in the second year QB. For Weeden, the announcement doesn’t change his approach to camp or how he prepares.
“My main focus is becoming a better player—becoming a leader on this team,” said Weeden.
In order to do that, Weeden knows that there are parts of his game that he needs to improve upon. For Brandon, those improvements start with improved mechanics and footwork that new head coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner want to see from him. Weeden said that he has been working nonstop on those mechanics.
With the improved footwork comes the ability to see the field quicker and get the ball out of his hand faster.
“Speeding it up mentally,” Weeden said. “That’s all I focused on for the last six weeks.”
Part of Weeden’s off season training included throwing to a familiar target in wide receiver Greg Little. Little joined Weeden in Oklahoma along with Josh Cooper and other NFL wide receivers and training camp hopefuls.
“Three really hard days of work,” he said of the time spent with his wide receviers. “I threw until I couldn’t throw anymore, and he ran until he couldn’t run anymore. We got a lot of work in. It was good having Greg come in.”
Of course, having a year under his belt in the NFL certainly doesn’t hurt his confidence. Weeden comes to training camp this season with a understanding of how fast the NFL game is and what it takes to prepare for not just a game, but a season. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy may have been confident in his physical abilities when he stepped off the plane last year, but now he is confident in his ability to play the game at the NFL level.
“I feel like a completely different player,” Weeden said of his year-over-year growth. “Knowing what to expect. Coming in last year, I didn’t know anybody in the locker room, I didn’t know the routine. There were so many unknowns. Now I’ve been in it for a year. I know how the weekly routine goes—I’ve got myself into a routine. I’m going to play with confidence. I’m going to go out there and I’m not going to be timid. I’m going to go out there and play hard and leave it on the line and take the chances I did. I’m going to throw the ball in tight windows and trust my arm.”
Hopefully for the Browns, the young players around Weeden feel the same. The team, and particularly the offense is still very young. Last season the Browns had a rookie or second year player lead them in just about every significant statistical category on offense. The season could hinge on what kind of leap that young core takes in year two. According to Weeden, they are ready for the challenge.
“I can sense that guys are hungry,” he said. “Offensively and defensively combined, I think the way that things went last year, we weren’t very excited. We all knew we left a lot of things on the table, we weren’t able to close the games that we should have. With that being said, I think guys know what to expect. Whether it’s Travis (Benjamin), Josh (Gordon), myself, Trent (Richardson) or Mitch (Schwartz) there were a lot of young guys on that team that were right there first time against the Philadelphia Eagles. I expect everybody to come and be excited for what we have in store. I think we have a good football team. I’m excited about the pieces we have in place.”
Training camp opens for Weeden and his teammates on Thursday.
(Photo: Rick Grayshock, WFNY)