The way Brandon Weeden sees it, nothing's changed. He's still Cleveland's starter.
And he plans to keep it that way.
Sure, Weeden was aware the Browns worked out several top college quarterbacks leading into April's draft, but the team didn't pick one. He's also mindful that veteran Jason Campbell can beat him out if he's not on his game. Weeden also knows there are those who doubt he'll be an NFL success.
It's up to him to prove them wrong.
"I want to be the guy,'' he said.
Weeden spoke Thursday after the Browns wrapped up their third and final day of organized team activities (OTAs), where all eyes were on the second-year QB, coming off an uneven rookie season. During a 10-minute session with reporters, Weeden talked about his improvement, his growing confidence in coach Rob Chudzinski's offense and his comfort in working with new coordinator Norv Turner.
As for the draft, Weeden said he didn't worry about whether the Browns would take a quarterback to challenge or replace him.
"I didn't really read into it one way or the other,'' he said. "I wasn't too concerned with it. I was up here the days before the draft and the days after preparing just like I have every other day. That was probably my least concern. I was worried about this team getting better and getting back to work.''
Weeden, who passed for 3,385 yards with 14 touchdowns and 17 interceptions last season, has been working hard on his craft.
He's spent extra time in the weight room, and these days, evenings at the Weeden household include he and his wife, Melanie, breaking down film and the Browns' playbook. Weeden says he's a very different quarterback than the one who was handed a starting job before camp last year.
"I know how to relate to guys,'' he said. "As far as an offense, even though we're in Day 3 now versus Day 3 last year, I'm way ahead of the curve. This offense kind of makes more sense to start with. There's a lot more up front as far as formations and stuff. But once you get it, you can hear a play and kind of piece it together by the verbiage, plus me and my wife have spent too many hours studying. It's been crazy.
"I've been comfortable with what we're doing and the guys are in the same boat.''
Weeden believes he's showing Cleveland's new coaching staff that he can be a franchise QB, the one to finally end more than a decade of turmoil at the game's most important position. The Browns have had a different quarterback start the opener in each of the past five seasons, and they agreed to terms with Brian Hoyer on Thursday.
With every throw, every meeting, every interview, Weeden is trying to impress his bosses.
"I hope they see not only what I do out here, but how I'm handling myself working and doing all of those other things,'' he said. "This means a lot to me. This is my job and I take it seriously. I want to be the guy. I want to build off last year. We're going to be a better football team, and I want to be a part of it.''
Weeden said he was sharper in the two days leading up to the one practice open to media members this week. He made several nice throws, including a long TD to newly acquired slot receiver Davone Bess, who seems to catch everything thrown his way.
However, Weeden missed a few targets, had a pass intended for Josh Gordon intercepted by Tashaun Gipson and star cornerback Joe Haden broke up some throws.
"My third day wasn't as good as my first two,'' Weeden he said. "I told Joe (Haden), `You got me today, but I won the first two.' Today, completion-wise wasn't what it was the first two days. We weren't functioning like we were on offense. But the first two days, we were flying around, making a bunch of plays. Not that we didn't today, but guys are understanding it.
"We're playing fast.''
The Browns are trying to pick up the tempo this season. Chudzinski wants his team in attack mode on both sides of the ball and Weeden said as he barks out the cadence he can hear coaches voicing urgency.
"If you're at the line of scrimmage all you hear is, "Let's go! Let's go! Let's go!'' he said. "That's all that I hear and they just harp on it because it's tough on defenses.''
The Browns signed Campbell to a two-year contract in March, bringing in the eight-year pro not only as protection behind Weeden but a challenger for the No. 1 spot. Campbell sidestepped a direct question about what whether he's been promised a legitimate shot at starting.
He and Weeden get along well and are simply trying to improve.
"You can't have any egos in this business,'' Campbell said. "I've been in this for nine years and I understand that you have to put those things to the side. Brandon's a great guy. He carries himself in a real good way. He has a positive attitude. That's something we both try to implement to each other, just come out here and work hard.''
Weeden said Campbell's familiarity with Chudzinski's offense has been helpful to both QBs, and he's being pushed by Campbell.
"That's the way it should be,'' he said.
But Weeden's goal is to separate from Campbell and emerge as the starter.
"I'm approaching it that way. I'm approaching it that I'm going to take the next step and be that guy,'' he said. "And if I were to do it any other way, I would be doing a disservice to myself and also this team.''
The way Brandon Weeden sees it, nothing's changed. He's still Cleveland's starter.
'Twice as Nice'
When it comes to the 3A State Tournament and Oklahoma City, the Verdigris High School basketball teams are a household name.
Head coaches Randy Upshaw and Mike Buntin lead their programs back to the 'Capitol City' this week for a chance to hoist the coveted 3A state championship on Saturday night at the Big House.
Cards fly into 3A State Tournament
Verdigris junior guard Cade Upshaw lives for March Madness.
The 5-foot-10 sharp-shooter overcame a sluggish performance in a loss to Tahlequah Sequoyah to bounce back for a 20-point outing in the Cardinals’ 72-42 win over Antlers Saturday evening in the Class 3A Area Tournament at Checotah Event Center.
CLASS 4A AREA TOURNEY: Vinita eliminates Inola
Vinita used an 18-point third quarter — highlighted by the sophomore leadership of Carsyn Spurgeon — and converted 21-of-34 free throws to notch a 61-55 win over the Inola Lady Longhorns Saturday night in the Class 4A Area Tournament.
‘Soaring to State’
In the hometown of Carrie Underwood, Verdigris senior point guard Baileigh O’Dell proved to be Oklahoma’s ‘Basketball Idol’ in Class 3A Girls Basketball.
The 5-foot-8 floor general put the No. 4-ranked Lady Cardinals on her shoulders and carried Verdigris back to the the state tournament with the 53-40 win over No. 5 Tahlequah Sequoyah Friday night in the Area Championship at the Checotah Event Center.
CLASS 4A AREA TOURNEY: Stilwell advances to State
A jam-packed, vocal crowd — aided by the control of several Claremore Police officers — witnessed Stilwell’s come-from-behind 57-51 win over Harrah Saturday night in the must-win game of the Class 4A Area Tournament at the Claremore High School Gymnasium.
MLB: Furcal mounting comeback with Miami Marlins
Coming off surgery to his throwing elbow, Rafael Furcal showed the Miami Marlins he can still deliver a sales pitch.
After sitting out the 2013 season, the 36-year-old infielder met last fall with Marlins executives Mike Hill and Dan Jennings and convinced them he could be their second baseman this year.
NFL: Redskins, Cowboys released from salary cap jail
When the Washington Redskins were placed in salary cap jail by the NFL, Kedric Golston had to say goodbye to his best friend on the team.
For the past two years, the Redskins and Dallas Cowboys - otherwise rivals to the bitter end in the NFC East - have been constrained by a much-disputed ruling limiting how much money they could spend on players.
NFL: Jets release WR Santonio Holmes after 4 seasons
Tone Time is over for the New York Jets.
The Jets parted ways with wide receiver Santonio Holmes on Monday, cutting the talented but injury-plagued playmaker after four seasons.
The move, which had been expected, saves the Jets $8.25 million, which Holmes was due to make as his base salary this season. He was also scheduled to have a $10.75 million cap number, a lofty total for a one-time Super Bowl MVP who has struggled with injuries and inconsistency the last two seasons.
NFL: Seattle re-signs DE Michael Bennett
Free agent defensive end Michael Bennett is returning to Seattle after agreeing to a multi-year deal with the Super Bowl champion Seahawks.
Terms of the contract were not immediately available on Monday. Bennett was considered one of the top free agents in the NFL after a breakout season with the Seahawks where he led the team in sacks and proved a versatile option as a defensive end and defensive tackle.
High School Basketball State Tournament Brackets
The Oklahoma High School Basketball State Tournaments will get under way this week in Oklahoma City and the Tulsa-Metro Area.
Below is a listing of the Class 3A-6A State Tournament Pairings.
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- 'Twice as Nice'