July 2, 2016

Partly cloudy

Browns QB Brandon Weeden focusing on getting better, not speculation surrounding his starting job

BEREA — Unlike many fans and media, quarterback Brandon Weeden says he isn’t consumed by the constant speculation surrounding the most high-profile position in Northeast Ohio sports.

“I don’t listen to it,” Weeden said Thursday following the last practice of the first week of organized team activities. “It’s not really my concern. I’m here now and my concern now is going and watching the film today and getting better.

“If I worried about all that other stuff, there is no way I could function.”

Weeden spent the first week of OTAs taking the repetitions with the first team. He acknowledged Thursday wasn’t the most efficient day for him and the offense, but said they lit it up the first two days.

“I told (cornerback) Joe (Haden), ‘You got me today, but I won the first two,’” Weeden said. “Today, completion-wise wasn’t what we were the first two days. The first two days, we were flying around. We were making a bunch of plays.”

Veteran Jason Campbell was signed in free agency to push Weeden, with a chance of supplanting him as the starter. He’s taken the snaps with the second team throughout the offseason.

“We will continue along that way, it’s just too early right now to be able to say anything,” coach Rob Chudzinski said. “It wouldn’t be smart to name a starter and all those types of things that we have gone through before.”

Weeden started 15 games as a rookie, winning five games and throwing for 3,385 yards. He threw 17 interceptions, 14 touchdowns and posted a 72.6 passer rating that ranked 29th in the NFL.

The arrival of a new front office and coaching staff created doubt about his future, then the Browns were linked publicly with just about every high-, medium or low-profile quarterback that did or didn’t hit the market. The Browns also worked out the big names in the draft, before passing on them all.

Weeden was asked if he took not drafting his successor as a vote of confidence.

“I didn’t really read into it one way or the other,” he said. “I wasn’t really concerned with it one way or the other. I was up here the days before the draft and the days after preparing just like I have every other day.”

Weeden believes he’ll be the guy under center when the season starts.

“I’m approaching it that way,” he said. “I’m approaching it that I’m going to take the next step and be that guy. And if I were to do it any other way, I would be doing a disservice to myself and also this team.”

He was asked if the coaching staff believes he’s the guy to lead the team.

“I hope so. I hope they see not only what I’m doing out here, but the way I’m handling myself and working and spending time studying and doing all of those things,” he said. “This means a lot to me. This is my job. I take it seriously. I want to be the guy. I want to build off of last year. I think we’re going to be a better football team in a lot of ways and I want to be a part of it and prove to them that I am that guy to make this team better.”

Weeden said he hasn’t played golf or gone out to dinner. He spends his nights at home studying the playbook with his wife.

Receiver Josh Gordon has seen growth in his quarterback.

“He’s a lot more comfortable,” Gordon said. “I think he’s really getting into his groove and feeling more at ease.”