December 18, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
31°F
 

Brandon Weeden’s playing status up in air for Browns

BEREA — Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden reported to the Browns’ training facility as scheduled Monday morning.

The rest of his week will depend on how quickly he recovers from his first concussion in the NFL.

“Brandon is fine and he was here today,” Cleveland coach Pat Shurmur said. “Of course, we all know there is a very strict protocol to follow when it comes to concussions. He’s going through the process and we’ll know way more on Wednesday.

“Since we’ve got to go through the process, I’m not making any predictions whether he’ll play Sunday (in Oakland) at this point.”

Weeden was injured Sunday in the Browns’ 20-14 home victory over Pittsburgh. After being hit by Steelers linebacker Jason Worilds on a third-down incompletion, his head snapped backward into the left knee of Cleveland tackle Joe Thomas.

As per NFL rules, Weeden will not be permitted to speak with the media until he is medically cleared to practice. His wife Melanie did offer a small update on her Twitter account, saying, “(Brandon) is doing very well today.”

Backup quarterback Colt McCoy replaced Weeden for the final two series against Pittsburgh — he handed the ball off to Trent Richardson on all six snaps — and is in line to start against the Raiders.

In three years with the Browns, McCoy has compiled a 74.5 passer rating, 20 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, a .584 completion percentage and a 6-15 record.

First-round draft pick Weeden has a 70.9 passer rating, 12 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, a .559 completion percentage and a 3-8 record.

“If Colt goes in, I expect him to function fine and help us win games,” Shurmur said. “Colt has handled his situation this year in a very professional way, so I don’t see any reason why that would change.
“Our quarterbacks’ styles are pretty similar, so we’ll put our plan together and go from there.”

McCoy, who made his season debut against the Steelers, hasn’t thrown a pass in a game that counts since Dec. 8, 2011 at Pittsburgh.

That fateful Thursday Night Football matchup saw McCoy get knocked out on a vicious hit by Steelers linebacker James Harrison, but later return to the game — prompting the NFL to immediately toughen its post-concussion protocol.

Shurmur said Weeden will remain the starter if he is healthy, but the second-year coach added McCoy now has a much better grasp of his offensive scheme than he did last season.

“I’ve watched Colt function through the offseason and I’ve seen him in practice, and he just knows way more about how our offense runs,” Shurmur said. “He has gotten very little work with our (first-team offense) in practice, but I think that’s fair to say about all the backup quarterbacks around the league.”

While McCoy’s 2011 season ended prematurely because of his concussion, there is no indication Weeden’s situation is anywhere near as serious.

But as a result of the Browns’ handling of McCoy’s brain trauma last year, the league will make certain they follow its new policy before clearing his successor.

“Each player is different and each situation this time of year is different,” Shurmur said. “We’ll just have to see.”

Still celebrating

Cornerback Sheldon Brown was among many Browns players still basking in the glow of their first win over Pittsburgh since Dec. 10, 2009.

“It makes things a little better going to work for the next week,” said Brown, who made four tackles and an interception. “We have never been bullied since I’ve been here in Cleveland, but it’s nice to finally say we beat the Steelers.”

The only Browns who were on the team for their last victory over Pittsburgh were wide receiver Joshua Cribbs, kicker Phil Dawson, punter Reggie Hodges, linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, center Alex Mack, linebacker Kaluka Maiava, wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin, Thomas and safety Ray Ventrone.

Shurmur, who also earned his initial triumph over the Steelers, said he didn’t “want to overstate it because it was only one football game.” But he made it clear he understood why it was so important to the organization and the city.

“We’re all aware of the rivalry and history of the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers,” said Shurmur, a Michigan native. “Let’s also not forget the Pittsburgh Steelers are an outstanding team from an outstanding organization. I have a lot of respect for them, and maybe we got over a little hurdle there by beating an outstanding opponent.”

Banner day

Browns CEO Joe Banner said it was “ultimately my call” to cancel the inflatable white flag giveaway Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

All fans were scheduled to receive the souvenir as part of a Ticketmaster promotion — purportedly to counter the Steelers’ infamous Terrible Towels — before it was scrapped Saturday afternoon.

“You could argue that was a Browns logo on a white background or you could argue that was a flag of surrender,” Banner said. “In the end, you have to deal with the reality of the situation. The last thing we wanted to do was have anybody think we’re sending a message like that (surrendering). It seemed like it just made sense to not go ahead with that plan.”

Extra points

Shurmur said rookie Josh Cooper was a healthy scratch against Pittsburgh because Massaquoi was “in my opinion, truly healthy for the first time in a long time.” Massaquoi had three catches for 27 yards and showed no signs of the hamstring injury that has plagued him since early October. The fourth-year pro turned 26 years old Saturday.

 Tight end Jordan Cameron scored his first NFL touchdown in the win over the Steelers, catching a 5-yard pass from Weeden. He kept the football from the play and said he would present it to his 3-year-old son Tristan.
Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.