Weeden had to be careful with Ravens All-Pro safety Ed Reed lurking in coverage. He had to weigh risk vs. reward, and instead of gambling and possibly getting picked off, Weeden chose the safer course. He knows that if he had thrown an interception in those situations, fans and critics would have been tougher on him than they already are.
"I'm in a lose-lose," he said. "So I check it down and hope to God that my backs can get a first down. If not, get a few yards and kick a field goal. But you've got to take shots. If they were there, if they were open, then I'll throw it. But they weren't open, so when guys aren't open, you can't force it, especially with No. 20 (Reed) back there. He's a game-changer."
Shurmur feels Weeden has made huge strides since throwing four picks in the season opener against Philadelphia. Weeden seems to be learning from his mistakes, and not repeating them.
A former quarterbacks coach, Shurmur says it can be tough for players to take criticism when things aren't going well. He said that's not a problem for Weeden.
"He handles it fine, in a way that promotes learning," Shurmur said. "He's very quick to say he made a mistake. That's where it's tough, when you have to convince a guy, 'Hey listen, this was wrong.' That's when it's hard for a player to get better, if he won't admit that he screwed the thing up."
Cleveland's bye came at a good time for Weeden and his teammates, many of whom are younger than him and could use a physical and mental vacation. It's a time for reflection, self-analysis and a chance to regroup before playing seven more games.
Weeden needs the break. There are still those who doubt him, vocal detractors who believe the Browns wasted a first-round pick on him and critics who feel Colt McCoy should be starting. Weeden has heard it all, and he's not surprised by any of it.
"When you're in a situation like I am, a first-round guy, starting quarterback, there's 31 other guys in this world that do what I do," he said. "We're all under the same microscope. So they're just like I am. They don't let it get to them. They don't let it bother them."
Has he blocked it out?
"Oh, yeah," he said. "I'm way over that. Way past that."
Weeden will spend a few days at home in Oklahoma, where he intends to play some golf and get away from the chill he's felt lately in Cleveland.
"75 and sunny, baby," he said.
NOTES: Browns RB Trent Richardson, who has rushed for more than 100 yards in the past two games, said he'll be even better once his rib injury has fully healed. "I haven't been at 100 percent yet so I'm waiting for that moment," he said. "When they heal — I don't know if it will be over this bye week — but whenever it do, it's going to be a whole other Trent." ... Browns K Phil Dawson and DT Phil Taylor were excused from practice by Shurmur. "The Phils are fine," he said.
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