Brandon Weeden must earn QB job
CLEVELAND -- Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden is being handed a new playbook, helmet and uniform this weekend.
The Cleveland Browns don't intend to give him the starting job.
At least not yet.
Coach Pat Shurmur made it clear again during a conference call Thursday in advance of the team's rookie minicamp that Weeden will have to beat out Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace to be the team's starting QB next season.
"We don't give anybody anything," Shurmur said. "They have got to earn it in our eyes."
Weeden, the Oklahoma State quarterback selected No. 22 overall by the Browns, and Alabama running back Trent Richardson, who was taken third, will be among 37 players the Browns will have at their three-day camp in Berea, Ohio. Shurmur wasn't able to hold a rookie camp last season because of the NFL lockout and is looking forward for the chance to coach young players.
"I am looking to see guys compete," Shurmur said. "I am looking to see guys that will show us why we drafted them, that they have the ability to learn and then have the ability to then go out and do it on the field."
Although the Browns haven't anointed Weeden their starter, it's safe to assume the 28-year-old will replace McCoy behind center. The Browns wouldn't have selected Weeden, a former minor league baseball player, in the first round if they didn't intend to put him on the field immediately.
Shurmur was adamant that there will be a competition and that there are no favorites.
He plans to explain that to Weeden and all the other new players before they take the field.
"We drafted these players for a reason," Shurmur said. "We drafted them with the idea that they could come in and start or until they start, could be effective role players. But, they have to come here and do it. By doing it, that's when we talk about competing. That's where they are at and they understand that.
"They have been competing as athletes since they were very young boys. They don't expect anything will be given to them because that was the case when they went to college as well. I am sure they all will look at this as this is just another step in their football careers."
Shurmur said Richardson will take part in all the on-field activities and won't be slowed by the minor knee surgery he had after helping the Crimson Tide win the national championship.
Shurmur said he's looking forward to seeing Weeden "executing as a quarterback" and will be able to see him throw to former Oklahoma State teammate Josh Cooper, a wide receiver and one of 15 undrafted free agents signed by the Browns on Wednesday. Shurmur described Cooper as being similar to Danny Amendola, whom he coached in St. Louis.
The Browns' rookies underwent physicals and an orientation program on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the agents for third-round pick John Hughes, a defensive tackle from Cincinnati, and fourth-round pick James-Michael Johnson, a linebacker from Nevada, said on Twitter that their clients have signed deals with the Browns.
A team spokesman said the deals were not completed.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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