Chudzinski considers changing quarterbacks

Published 1:26 am Tuesday, October 22, 2013

BEREA (AP) — Brandon Weeden showered and dressed alone in one corner of Cleveland’s locker room. A day after his brutal performance in Green Bay, he was still a starting quarterback.

Barely. And a shaky one at that.

Weeden’s job has never been more unstable after Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said Monday that he’s considering a change at quarterback and could start backup Jason Campbell this week against the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs.

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Chudzinski planned to discuss a possible switch with his staff, and didn’t seem to be leaning in either direction.

“We’ll basically put the guys at all positions who’ll give us the best opportunity to win,” Chudzinski said.

Weeden’s second straight poor outing has Cleveland fans clamoring for a change, but Chudzinski noted there are other problems — penalties, defensive breakdowns and dropped passes among them — to fix or the Browns (3-4) will be in danger of letting a once-promising season slip away.

Making his fourth start this season, Weeden completed just 17 of 42 passes for 149 yards with a touchdown and interception against the Packers.

He made some common mistakes: locking onto receivers, forcing passes into tight coverage and trying another ill-advised underhanded flip in the fourth quarter.

It wasn’t pretty, but unlike last week, when Chudzinski effusively supported Weeden following a loss at home to Detroit, the coach was more noncommittal.

“It’s not all Brandon and that’s the first thing you have to look at as you look at the tape and see,” Chudzinski said.

“There’s some execution errors and issues with other guys. Brandon needs to play better, but we all need to play better around him. We’ll go through that process, talking about that, and come up with the plan that gives us the best chance to win.”

Weeden only returned to the starting lineup two weeks ago after Brian Hoyer, who led the Browns to wins over Minnesota and Cincinnati, suffered a season-ending knee injury on Oct. 3 against Buffalo.

Weeden came off the bench and rallied the Browns to a victory over the Bills, and the 30-year-old seemed to finally have some momentum in his second NFL season.

But he’s lost it all in the past two games, and linebacker D’Qwell Jackson believes Weeden has been shaken by the pressure.

“I’d be lying if I said he wasn’t,” Jackson said. “I’m pretty sure he is. You try to block out the noise and can’t avoid it. It comes with the territory. It comes with being in this league. It’s a big-boy league.

“You’ve got to take the good with the bad. People are going to love him when he plays well and people are going to try to run him out of Cleveland if he doesn’t.

“And that goes for all of us. It comes with the territory, especially playing in Cleveland.”

An hour after Chudzinski’s news conference, a national report said the Browns will stick with Weeden. However, a team spokesman said “the truth” was that Chudzinski had not yet decided on his quarterback situation.

Despite Weeden’s ragged play, Chudzinski still feels the second-year QB has the backing of his teammates, who understand that they all need to play better.

“I think that our guys are looking at themselves, and we have plenty of places and plenty of opportunity to get better,” he said. “By no means is it one guy, and it certainly wasn’t a perfect game by anybody.

“Those guys know and I can guarantee that we’re going to put the best guys out there and the guys that give us the best chance to win. That’s what we’ll always do.”

Weeden does have the support of several teammates. Tight end Jordan Cameron said he’ll abide by whatever decision is made, but that he trusts Weeden.

“I have confidence in Brandon, 100 percent confidence,” he said. “He’s a tough guy. He’ll hang in there, and whoever they pick will be ready to play. I just have confidence in whoever they choose and I’m backing whatever their decision is.”

NOTES: Browns LB Quentin Groves expects to play this week after re-injuring his right ankle. Groves missed three games with a sprained ankle. … Chudzinski bemoaned Cleveland’s 12 penalties on Sunday. He said the team will send the hit by S Tashaun Gipson on Packers TE Jermichael Finley to the league office for interpretation. Gipson was flagged for unnecessary roughness and referee Jeff Triplette said Gipson led with his helmet. “From my standpoint and looking at it, I felt like he led with his shoulder,” he said. “We’ll submit it so we can coach our guys better.” … The Browns claimed rookie DB Jordan Poyer off waivers from Philadelphia and waived DB Julian Posey. A seventh-round draft pick, Poyer appeared in three games and made two tackles on defense and one on special teams.


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