Is Third Time a Charm?

For the third time in the 2013 NFL season, Brandon Weeden was named the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. The last two times ended in disaster. Will the third time finally be the charm?

BEREA, Ohio--There's an old saying, the third time's the charm.

For Brandon Weeden and the Browns they're hoping that's true.

Weeden will start Sunday against the Jaguars as Rob Chudzinski named him the starter Wednesday. Although, Jason Campbell has not been ruled out, he has not passed the NFL's protocol for concussions.

"That's kind of the roll of being a backup quarterback," Weeden said. "You never know when your number is going to be called. I'm excited about the opportunity."

Ironically, Weeden referred to himself a couple of times as the backup quarterback during the interview.

"Yeah, I'm the starter this week and that's all that matters," he said. "I started the season as the starter and obviously, there's been a lot of ups and downs with injuries and stuff like that. This week, I'm starting against Jacksonville and that's the way I'm approaching it."

Weeden started the first two games of the season and then sprained his throwing hand thumb late against the Ravens. Brian Hoyer started the next three games before tearing his ACL. Weeden regained the starting job agains the Lions and Packers before being replaced by Campbell.

Campbell started the next three games before suffering a concussion last Sunday against the Steelers. Weeden replaced him and was 13-of-30 for 209 yards with a touchdown and interception. His rating was 64.4.

Weeden did say he was excited for the chance to play again.

"Absolutely. Absolutely," he said. "I want to be out there as much as possible with these guys preparing and going through the weekly process of going out and playing a game. I'm excited about it. See if we can get back on track and win a couple games."

On the season, Weeden is 0-4 in the games he has started. He has the lowest rating of any Browns quarterback this season with a 66.0 rating. He has completed just 51.5 percent of his passes and has six touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Despite that, Weeden was asked if the season has shaken his confidence level.

"No, It didn't," he said. "I think it's good your'e so wrapped up each week and it happened so fast and you're wrapped up in preparing (for the next game). I'm still extremely confident. Obviously, I've never been through this circumstance and situation before. Again, I've got a lot of people around me and there for me and I think people around me are feeling worse and really approaching me. Like I tell them all the time, listen,I have to fight through this and see what kind of man I am and see what kind of person I am to persevere throughout a lot of this adversity. It won't be the last time . When i'm done playing and something else happens in life, it won't be the first time and going through this will help me have a leg up on it."

Chudzinski has been impressed with the way Weeden has handled the ups and downs of the season.

"He's done a good job (handling it)," he said. "He's kept his head in it and been a professional threw it all. I think he has handled it very well. He has stayed into it in case an opportunity comes up and he's getting an opportunity."

Weeden was greeted with boos from the fans when he entered the games with the Steelers, but Chudzinski knows that can be turned around quickly.

"That can change quickly with performance," he said. "The most important thing is he has the backing by his teammates and they support him, but Brandon needs to play well."

Weeden was asked what kind of a reception he will get.

"If we win, it will be good," he said. "If we're doing well, it will be good. We just have to go out and control what we can control and tune out all the noise whether it's outside this building, in the stadium, or people outside good, bad, all that. Just focus on what we can control and go out and execute and play well."

Weeden said he has learned to tune the boos out.

"I tune it out," he said. "I have way more to worry about in the huddle getting guys organized and lined up. I didn't hear many boos when I threw the touchdown pass to Josh (Gordon). You just have to go out and play well. You can't control it. You just have to focus on what you can control.

"It is what it is," he said. "I've been through a lot. I'd like to think I'm mature enough to handle all that stuff, but I learned a long time ago you can only control so much. Before I even throw a pass, or we have a trick play and the trick play didn't work and I have to throw it away and I still get booed, you have to laugh it off and use that as positive reinforcement, use it as ammo to go out and play well."

Weeden says he has a great support system that helps him deal with the ups and downs in the NFL.

"It's pretty simple for me I don't listen to outside noise," he said. "(I've) gotten rid of twitter and all that junk. I don't need five-year old kids telling me how to play the quarterback position, so it's made it really easy. It hasn't been an issue. I've got great support in this locker room. Great support from family and friends back home. My wife has been has been remarkable, so it's not a distraction for me. It's the farthest thing from a distraction for me. I don't get tied up in it.My main focus is getting better. I've only played 20 games in this league and I've got a long ways to go to continue to get better."

Whether he admits it or not, Weeden knows he's getting another chance to show what he can do, whether with the Browns or another NFL team.

"I'm a Cleveland Brown," he said. "I think for the next five weeks, I'm a Cleveland Brown. After that, whatever happens is out of my control. I'm excited. this is one of the best teams I've ever been on as far as just the group of guys in this locker room, the atmosphere we have going on, the friendships we have and the camaraderie, it's great. I'm going to enjoy every minute of it as long as I'm here, and then if they tell me to beat it, then we'll see. right now, my main focus is the Cleveland Browns and winning this Sunday."


Ward Stands Firm: DB T.J. Ward said he doesn't back down from his statements after Sunday's loss to the Steelers, regarding the turnovers of the offense.

"I don't regret what I said," Ward said. "It's a fact. I wasn't calling anyone out. It was a whole team statement, but it was the truth. There was no negative to any individual but (it was directed) to the whole team.

"I did say we're not creating turnovers (as a defense), but what was reported was about the (offensive) turnovers.

"I wasn't pointing fingers," he said. "We are a family."

Ward's contract is up after this season and he says he hopes to stay with the Browns.

"I've been here four years," Ward said. "I'm a Cleveland Brown. I will definitely give the Browns the first shot, but it's up to (the Browns)."

Ward said his focus is to finish the season strong.

"When we need to talk, we'll talk."

Tanney's Ready: Newly signed QB Alex Tanney practiced for the first time with the Browns Wednesday. With the possibility that QB Jason Campbell won't be cleared to play by Sunday, Tanney would be one play away from playing in his first NFL regular season game.

"You never know what can happen," Tanney said.

Chudzinski said the coaches will scale down some plays for him.

"We'lll have a package for him," Chudzinski said. "But typically the terminology is the biggest hurdle for quarterbacks to overcome."

Tanney gained recognition for making a YouTube video throwing trick passes. He said he almost wished he hadn't made it.

"Kind of. A lot of people have the idea I wouldn't be in this position (if not for the video)," he said. "What was it? the third question before it was brought up."

Chudzinski was asked if he had seen the trick video. He said he's heard about it but added,

"I'm hoping he can throw to the receivers.

Chudzinski said the Browns looked at a number of quarterbacks before signing Tanney, but didn't disclose the names.

Local Guys: The Jaguars have three offensive players with ties to Northeast Ohio. WR Cecil Shorts III is the Jaguars' leading receiver. He played his high school football at Collinwood and collegiately at Mount Union. He has 58 receptions for 700 yards and one touchdown. QB Ricky Stanzi played at Lake Catholic before playing his college ball at Iowa. Stanzi has not played in the regular season and backs up QB Chad Henne and QB Blaine Gabbert. TE Danny Noble is from Elyria and played his college ball at Toledo. He has just one catch but it was a big one as he caught a 62-yard touchdown pass.

Jaguars coach Gus Bradley talked about Noble in a conference call.

"Danny is one of the cool stories and for him to spark us," Bradley said. "He's done very well in moving up on the active roster in the last couple of weeks."

Shorts is excited to come back to Cleveland.

"It's a dream come true to come home and play in front of your friends and family," Shorts said on a conference call. "It is surreal to be able to come back home and play."

Shorts said he grew up a true Cleveland and Ohio fan.

"I grew up a Browns, Indians and Cavaliers fan," he said. "My Dad taught me growing up to hate the Pittsburgh and Michigan."

Chudzinski said Shorts is a very productive receiver.

"He's a very good wide receiver and is very versatile," Chudzinski said. "He's a play maker and has been very productive for them."

New Guys: The Browns added TE Andre Smith and Tanney to the active roster and released WR Brian Tyms and OL Patrick Lewis. Chudzinski said Smith is a blocking tight end and they plan on using him to bolster the line.

"We've had (MarQueis) Gray battling some injuries and Andre Smith is a good football player and a very good blocker," he said. "That's one of the areas we want to improve on."

Gray, Skrine Back at Practice: CB Buster Skrine (ribs) and TE MarQueis Gray (hamstring) practiced Wednesday. LB Craig Robertson (knee), LB Tank Carder (shoulder) and QB Jason Campbell (concussion) did not practice.

"When you get the chance, it's tough to get injured," Carder said. "But, in the NFL, it's inevitable you're going to get hurt sometime."

Most likely, Robertson and Carder will be game-time decisions. If neither can play, LB Darius Eubanks will likely start opposite LB D'Qwell Jackson.

"It was encouraging to see him come in and play (last week)," Chudzinski said.

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