He’s absorbed punishing hits from defenders. He’s endured more than his share of criticism from Cleveland fans for his poor play.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden has taken a lot this season.
On Friday, he accepted the blame.
Weeden, who lost his starting job earlier this week, offered no excuses for the ragged performances that cost him his job. Speaking for the first time since he was benched by coach Rob Chudzinski in favor of Jason Campbell, Weeden said he hasn’t lost confidence in his abilities and hopes to get another chance to start.
“I’ll take full responsibility,” he said. “I’m never going to be a guy that’s going to point the finger. I had plenty of opportunities to make plays. There are some throws that I’d love to have back. Unfortunately you don’t get them back. That falls on me. I’ll take 100 percent of the responsibility, and when I get an opportunity, I’m going to do what I can to fix those mistakes.
“All is good when you’re playing well, and all is bad when you’re playing bad. That’s just the way it is when you play this position.”
Weeden’s season has been a personal disappointment and a letdown for the Browns, who hoped he would develop into the franchise quarterback that has eluded the team since its expansion rebirth.
Weeden lost his first two starts and then sat out two games with a sprained right thumb. He lost his job, but then came off the bench to rally the Browns to a win over Buffalo when Brian Hoyer sustained a season-ending knee injury. He struggled in losses to Detroit and Green Bay, outings in which he overthrew receivers, missed open targets and twice flipped the ball underhanded when scrambling from pressure.
Because he’s not starting this week at Kansas City, Weeden wasn’t required to speak with the media. But following Friday’s practice, he stood in front of his locker and answered some stinging questions.
“I’m not going to stand back and hide and sulk,” he said. “I’m going to confront the situation head on. That’s the right way to do it. That’s the professional way to do it. I like to think of myself as a pro. I take full responsibility of my effort. Whether it’s good, bad, indifferent, I take full responsibility of how I play, and I’m not afraid to answer any tough questions.”
Browns tight end Jordan Cameron said Weeden’s selfless attitude was appreciated by everyone in Cleveland’s locker room.
“He’s very mentally tough, and that’s what a quarterback should be,” said Cameron. “It’s awesome that he’s a standup guy. You’ve got to respect that. He’s in here. He’s studying. He’s playing and he’s still the same old Brandon.”
Weeden went 0-4 as a starter and ranks at or near the bottom in several statistical categories, including completion percentage. It hasn’t gone the way he envisioned, but the former first-round draft pick is choosing to stay positive.
At this point, it’s all he can do. Plus, with the way quarterbacks have going down with injuries around the league, Weeden knows it’s possible his number could be called again. Soon, and maybe even against the unbeaten Chiefs (7-0).
And, if he gets another shot — and he hopes it’s with the Browns — Weeden wants to make the most of it.
“This league is crazy,” he said. “Whether it’s this Sunday, four Sundays down the road or at the end of December, I’ll be ready.”
Despite being targeted by a vocal portion of Cleveland fans who have been clamoring for weeks to see him benched, Weeden said he enjoys playing for the Browns, who selected him with the No. 22 overall pick last year. With the trading deadline on Tuesday, he knows there’s always the chance he’ll be dealt, but he’d like to stay and maybe get another crack at starting.
“I love it here,” he said. “I think this team is on the rise. We’re doing some good things and I’m excited about the group we have. I love this town.”
An avid golfer, Weeden said one of his friends offered a golfing analogy to describe a season that has included more than its share of bogeys.
“One of my good buddies said, ‘Brandon, all you’ve done is you’ve hit four tee balls straight right. Now you’ve just got to go up and overcorrect and turn them to the left.’ That’s what it is,” Weeden said. “You don’t want to put any more pressure on yourself than is already there. I know this town, this team, this organization is counting on us as quarterbacks. We want to do everything in our power to make all of us look good and win games.
“That’s our goal. I hope I get another shot. I’m champing at the bit.”
Coach Rob Chudzinski is happy with Campbell’s preparation for the Chiefs, who have one of the league’s top defenses. “This game, it’s not just all about Jason,” Chudzinski said. “He just needs to go and be himself and do the things that he can do.” ... Browns DE Billy Winn thinks he’ll be able to play Sunday after missing four games with a calf injury. ... OLB Quentin Groves didn’t practice because of a sprained ankle. ... Browns LB Eric Martin was fined $7,875 by the league for a hit out of bounds last week against Green Bay.