The numbers aren’t good, at least not good enough. Brandon Weeden doesn’t need anyone to tell him that.
The Browns rookie quarterback doesn’t have to scan his statistics to know he has to play better. He’s well aware that he’s thrown too many interceptions, won too few games and has yet to convince Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam and new CEO Joe Banner that he’s the franchise’s future.
Weeden understands he must improve. Just don’t bother bringing it up.
“I’m not a moron,” he said.
Following a bye week to rest his arm, relax his body and mentally block out the bad stuff from the season’s first nine games, Weeden said Wednesday that he’s determined to play at a higher level and lead the Browns to some victories in their last seven games.
Maybe because he’s 29, Weeden isn’t always viewed as a rookie, which may explain some of the criticism about his game.
“I think lost in all of this is that I’m a rookie,” he said. “I’m still playing teams for the first time. I’m still seeing things for the first time. I’m making a lot of mistakes that I’m making for the first time. I’m trying not to repeat them. But I’m not a nine or 10-year veteran.
“Some people might lose track of that sometimes. But it is what it is. I’ve got to play better. I’ve got to do my part to help this team win.”
And taking better care of the football should be his top priority.
Before practice, Browns coach Pat Shurmur made it clear there is one aspect of Weeden’s game that needs immediate attention.
“Don’t throw interceptions,” he said. “Done. End story. I want to be right to the point.”
Weeden has thrown 12 interceptions, tied for the NFL’s second-highest total. The only QB to throw more picks is Dallas’ Tony Romo, who will match up against Weeden on Sunday when the Browns (2-7) visit the Cowboys (4-5) looking to end an 11-game road losing streak.
Weeden concurred with Shurmur’s candid and curt assessment that he needs to be smart with the football.
“That’s kind of been my priority since I played Pee-Wee football,” Weeden said. “We never want to throw interceptions. My aggressive manner and mindset sometimes gets me in trouble.”