The Browns went through another practice on Sunday in Berea, gearing up for their third preseason game. They play the Colts on Saturday night in Indianapolis. The first team offense has been efficient in their first two games with quarterback Brandon Weeden leading the charge.
Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner met with the media to discuss Weeden, the offense and other issues:
On Brandon Weeden: "I'm excited about what Brandon's been able to do. The thing that we've spent a lot of time working on is trying to find out the things that he does best, and combine them with the things our players do best. And a lot of the things that we do on the practice field, it's not experimental, but there's a process you go through to get everyone on the same page. Hopefully when we get everyone in the games, we feature all the things that our guys do best. Through the preseason action that Brandon's had, we've been able to do that. And we've had a lot of guys playing well. He's taken advantage of the way they've been playing."
On Turner's secret working with quarterbacks:
"To me, it starts with a system that's extremely sound. It's been proven over time. You go back to the ‘70s with (Don) Coryell, and just keep going through all the different people that have played in the system, whether it was me, Ernie Zampese, Mike Martz, it was the system that was very sound. My background in terms of teaching and the process you go through to get those guys to play, I think there's some things we believe in, and we try to keep it as simple as possible for the quarterback, and put the burden on some of the other players. I think it helps them sort through some of the things they need to work through."
On Weeden's ceiling in the NFL:
"That's so hard for me because, as I said when I first got here, it's based on the people behind him and how they're playing. There have been some really talented quarterbacks that have been put in a position where they didn't have very good players around them, and they've struggled. And then there have been some guys not as talented that have played at a real high level because they were surrounded by a great supporting cast. But the thing Brandon has done is make good decisions. He's extremely accurate with the ball and he's made some big throws up the field already, so those are the things you look and say those are positives we can build on."
On Weeden overcoming accuracy issues from last season:
"He was an accurate passer in college. When we watched him and when he got set and got his sights on someone and the guy was open, he didn't miss him very often, and that's what he's done here. And, again, I think it's about percentages, and if you're trying to throw the ball to guys you shouldn't be throwing to, you're not going to be real accurate. If you're making good decisions, and we're throwing the ball to the backs already, and I don't mind that; I like that, in fact, if you're still getting big plays up the field."
On Weeden's intangibles: "People always want to analyze that, and when a guy's playing well, his intangibles seem to be exaggerated. And when they're playing badly, they don't have intangibles. So, to me, it's about executing and going out to play at a high level. Those things take care of themselves. He's worked awfully hard at it. I think the guys enjoy playing with him. I think he does command their respect. Our players have a lot of confidence in Brandon."
On Weeden's supporting cast: "Well, like Brandon, like a lot of our team, we're extremely young. We see it on a daily basis out here (the practice field) the ups and downs of being young. I think you don't see a lot of those because we have not had extended periods of play. We've been out there and played a quarter and-a-half, or maybe a half of a game. But there are going to be inconsistencies with young players and we're going to have to fight through those things. We do have a talented group, and it's shown in our first two games, whether it's Jordan Cameron or Greg Little, or the guys you mentioned."
On Greg Little overcoming his drops issue:
"The first thing we did regarding last year, Scott (Turner, wide receivers coach) went through all the different plays and the second half of the season Greg had very few drops. The thing we like about Greg is there's no one out here that practices harder. He's going to give you everything he's got. He's a physical player. He's extremely competitive and he's caught the ball well for us."
On whether fans should be excited about what they're seeing on offense this preseason:
"I'm excited. Our players are excited. I hope our fans are excited. I'm a realist. You can only control what we're going against. We've played the Rams; we've played Detroit. They gave us more than what people think. Both teams blitzed us and we handled it real well. Both teams mixed their coverages and I thought we handled it well. It's not the regular season, so we just have to continue to prepare for the regular season. I don't think we're going to go out and complete 75 percent of our passes in the regular season, but we're doing it now, and that's something to build on."
On the loss of Dion Lewis and how it affects game planning:
"It was disappointing because Dion has come in and really worked hard, worked hard at catching the ball, worked hard at his pass protection. He was a guy I thought was going to give us some big plays, and I don't know whether he's out. I'd love to see him be able to come back, and I don't know that we know that yet, second half of the season or something like that. But we've got to be able to handle those things, and have a plan for someone else. We have guys who can handle that role. I don't know that we have a guy like Dion; we have some guys that can be pass protectors, or guys that can catch the ball coming out of the backfield. Ultimately, you'd like Trent (Richardson) to have some of that role, particularly in two-minute situations, end-of-the-game situations. We'd like him to fill that role because, as I said before, if you've got your best player on the sidelines, you're probably not taking advantage of all your guys. We can't wear Trent out but we have to be able to use him in similar situations."
On the backup running backs who are healthy:
"I think Brandon (Jackson) has done an awfully good job. He'd be a guy on the teams I've been on that would be very competitive in terms of being the second guy and he probably would have a played a lot as a starter in some of the places I've been. So, I'm excited about Brandon. And Chris (Ogbonnaya), he can do a lot of things, and he's played third-down back. It's hard losing the guys we've lost, but we have a plan and we're working those other guys."
On Garrett Gilkey:
"One of the things that has really impressed me about being here is that I've worked with George Warhop before, with Mark Sullivan, and a couple of coaches I haven't worked with, including my son, but I think that this offensive staff has done a great job of coaching whoever is there, and getting guys ready. What George and Mike have done with these young offensive linemen is tough because you take a guy like Gilkey and, all of a sudden, eight plays into the game and he's starting at right guard against Detroit who, those guys I know it was preseason, but those two guys were bringing it and they were playing hard and they're a good defensive front. So Gilkey has made more progress. He's made a lot of progress in a short period of time. He has a long way to go but he does give you some hope in terms of depth and a guy that eventually will be a player."
On Rob Chudzinski's characterization of the QB competition as close:
"I think Chud was being extremely honest with you. I do believe that Jason (Campbell) has played at a high-enough level to say that it is close. How you phrase it, I don't think that matters. I think you're heading in the direction we want to be. I really believe, first of all, Chud's done an unbelievable job with this entire football team, in terms of letting them know exactly what we want them to get done, how we're going to get that done and where we're headed. He explained his plan to the quarterbacks from the start, he's stuck with it. It's not an issue in that building; it's an issue outside the building, but I don't think anyone is worried about when an announcement is going to be made. I think we've gotten great production from all three quarterbacks. Whatever the plan is that we've put together, it seems to be working."
On Josh Gordon's situation:
"We've spent a lot of time thinking about it. Everything we do during the offseason, preseason is to get ready for the 16 regular-season games. We're starting our plan about what we're going to do. I think we have some real good ideas in how we're going to make up for that loss in those two games. We've got to play the games and we've got a plan to go out and be as successful as we can be. We have guys; we just have to move them around and play them a little differently."
On Travis Benjamin:
"I think he's had an outstanding camp. He's played all three positions. Obviously, the work he does in the kicking game is big, but when you get him out there one-on-one, he's tough to handle."
On Josh Gordon:
"He's had a really good camp. During training camp, there are things that come out, and one person sees something one way, and another sees something another way. I don't know that people understand what we're trying to get done in every drill when we're working. I think Josh has done what we've asked him to do. He's improved. He's fought through some nagging injuries. He's fought through some problems where he's really tired, and I think he's improved. He made a couple plays the other night that he hasn't been making. He needs to continue to be able to finish plays and make plays on the ball, and use his body, but he's improved in that area."
On whether he's seen the loafing sportswriters have seen in Gordon:
"I don't think it's fair to use that word if you don't know what we're doing. It does make for a good article; it does give whoever wrote it some good attention. I don't think it's fair really digging in and saying what we're doing, what we're trying to accomplish in that drill, why wasn't this going on. You don't know the medical situation and all that. I'm happy with what Josh is doing."
On Brandon Weeden throwing the deep ball:
"He's got a strong-enough arm to throw it deep. It's hard because we go out there from the first snap in practice, from individual to the end it's about two hours, and they're just running, running and running. They have to run a lot in the game but they don't really run as much in the game. Sometimes on the deep balls, it's harder to gauge the accuracy. I think Brandon is going to be a great deep-ball thrower."
On mechanics translating to the game:
"It's been a process. What happens when you are by yourself working on it, like the driving range, everything is smooth. Then you get out there and it's the real deal and then, when Brandon starts thinking too much, he slows down. When he is really confident and sure in what he's doing, he's going a lot faster, his setups are faster, and the ball is going out quicker. It's a matter of him being experienced with everything we're doing, so there's not indecision and he's done a good job of getting the ball out fast when he is really sure of what we are doing."
On how Weeden is doing with progressions in the new system:
"I think he's done really good. He's had some tough plays in the preseason. He's gotten to the third or fourth receiver. He's made good decisions. He's throwing the ball well. If he can play a couple games and not have an interception, or not have a ball that should've been intercepted, I think you're making progress."
On Weeden throwing the ball too hard:
"I think he does sometimes throw the ball harder than he needs to. It's really not to me on the deeper balls; it's sometimes on the underneath ball, the shorter balls. But I think that's natural for a guy who hasn't played a lot in this league. I don't see any of the negatives. I see a lot of positives in terms of where he's going."
On the offense being inconsistent in practice, and looking better in games, whether the Browns defense is that good:
"There is a combination of a lot of things. First of all, when you're in practice, we've been going against our defense since April. There are things that we may do and sometimes we get a big play on them because of it. There's things they recognize and sit on a route or take something away that we think we can get in a regular game. I think we're going to be a real good defensive team. From what I've seen, we've played two real good quarterbacks and their results have been mixed, like you guys see out here, when our offense is going against the defense. I think it's been really competitive and it's been good on both sides of the ball."
On what Trent Richardson has to offer in the offense, physically:
"He's really rolling right now. I'm impressed as to what I have seen in practice. I thought the plays he had in the game, he was outstanding. He's a guy that defenses have to give their thinking to stopping. To have a player like Trent, it helps everyone else."
On any undrafted free-agent receivers playing well:
"We have a young group of guys. I will go back to coaching with George (Warhop) and Mike (Sullivan), and I think Scott (Turner) has done a real good job with those young receivers. We've played more of those guys that what I'm comfortable doing, or used to doing, and they have responded. They've all made plays in games. They are competitive. When we get down and have to make those decisions, there are guys that have a chance to play here, to be practice-squad players, or to play on other teams."
On the play of WR Cordell Roberson:
"He's a big-bodied guy that can go get the ball and I think that he's had a good camp. Like most young guys, he's had some inconsistencies in terms of learning a new system, but when he knows what to do he's been really good."
On the back end of the WR competition:
"I think that it's really tight and the thing that happens is that a number of those guys have had injuries, and that's the hardest thing. When guys step in they get a chance and they've been successful when they play, so now you have to sort it out in terms of what you see, the upside of where they are going and then their ability, is an issue."
On utilizing another guard during the preseason:
"It's hard and I've been through it. The last couple of years I was in San Diego I think that we started 19 different offensive linemen, or something like that. It's really hard for them to get that feeling of working together every down. Obviously on the left side we're fortunate with the center, left guard and left tackle that have played together and understand how to play. (Mitchell) Schwartz has had an outstanding camp. We have to get someone at right guard and get some consistency in terms of repetition in there. We know what our options are so we just have some work to do."
On the return of Jason Pinkston and Shawn Lauvao:
"It sounds to me like they'll both be back soon enough to matter. That's one thing I learned a long time ago, when a guy is hurt and he's out for six weeks, and you're like, ‘Oh my gosh. What are we going to do?' And then you realize that he'll be back for Week 3. So, it's a long, long season."
On whether the team can cover for a fifth starter with four established ones:
"Oh, the guy's got to go play and he's got to hold up, and people will game plan against him but I think that we can make the partial run and we can be ready when the season starts."
On Chris Ogbonnaya's transition to fullback:
"Obie's been outstanding. I'm not asking him to be doing the things that he shouldn't be doing. He gets to the target fast, he's competitive, so he's going to fight it. We can't have him going out and blocking 270-pound linebackers; we just have to be smart in terms of how we use him and then game plan."
On possibly placing Garrett Gilkey on the left side of the line:
"I think that we're solid on the left side and I'd like for it to stay solid there. Those are things that we have talked about, but it's not ultimately my decision. I have opinions on it but if you have three guys next to each other and they're solid, and have been together that's a pretty good deal."
On whether RB Montario Hardesty fits into the discussion of guards being back soon enough to matter:
"I think that they all do. With every team, all that you have to do is pick up the paper or look at a Web site, and every team is going through this and it's part of training camp now. It seems to be a bigger part than others. You have to have a plan. Can we keep this guy? Some guys end up going on IR. Can we keep this guy until Oct. 1, and he'll be ready when you need him? There's a lot of things that go through everyone's minds when you're making that decision. I know that they're working hard upstairs to come up with the best 53-man roster we can, and those are a lot of issues that no one is going to know for a couple of weeks."
On the injury to Miami's TE Dustin Keller:
"Yeah. It seems as if each game someone is losing somebody."
On the improvement of TE Jordan Cameron:
"He's getting better, and everyone got excited about the three catches; I got excited about the way he played inside in pass protection and run. He's improving in that area and that's the area he needs to improve the most. I think that he's shown in both games that he's going to be able to make big plays. If we can get rolling in terms of the running game and our wideouts making plays, my experience is that the tight end gets a lot of single coverage and he's a guy that's going to take advantage of that single coverage."