Weeden still has to like his chances

May, 18, 2013
5/18/13
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Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden told The Plain Dealer that he wasn't given any advance warning that the team was going to sign Brian Hoyer, and that he hasn't been told of Hoyer's role.

Weeden
"It's part of this business, and if you start worrying about it, that's too much to worry about," Weeden said. "That's my mentality going forward."

What you won't hear Weeden say -- but you know he has to be thinking -- is that he likes his chances of remaining the Browns' starting quarterback. The Browns didn't trade for Alex Smith, a former No. 1 overall pick who has led a team to the NFC Championship Game. Cleveland didn't draft a quarterback such as Geno Smith in the first round.

Instead, the Browns signed Jason Campbell and Hoyer, who is likely the last offseason addition for Cleveland that involves a quarterback. While Weeden understands why the Browns aren't going to hand over the starting quarterback job to him, he also knows he could have faced stiffer competition for it. Campbell and Hoyer are journeyman who combined to play for seven teams (including their latest stop with the Browns) since 2009.

Campbell is an upgrade at the No. 2 quarterback spot over Colt McCoy, and Hoyer is clearly better than Thad Lewis at No. 3. Still, Weeden has to be considered the favorite to line up under center Sept. 8 against the Miami Dolphins.

Many forget that Weeden threw for 3,385 yards last season, which was more than rookies Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill and Russell Wilson. Now, Weeden's strong arm should be better utilized in a vertical passing attack compared to Pat Shurmur's West Coast offense.

The Browns haven't endorsed Weeden as their starter yet, but they really haven't sent a message with any move that they're ready to replace him this season. Weeden doesn't seemed fazed by having to compete for the job.

"I realize I didn't play as well as I could've last year and I know the work I've put in personally," Weeden said. "I know how hard I've worked to become a better player off the field and training and whatever may be. I'm not worried about the other stuff. I'm confident in my abilities and I have a lot of confidence in the guys around me."

In the first update on the quarterback battle, the Canton Repository reported that Campbell "definitely had better sessions than Weeden" at minicamp. Of course, this is only May and Campbell was working against the second-string defense.

Browns coach Rob Chudzinski told The NFL Network this week that he's really positive about Weeden.

"He's taken a command of the offense," Chudzinski said. "He's shown from an arm strength and from an accuracy standpoint, he's made tremendous strides on footwork and getting the ball out quicker."

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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