Quick Links

Browns' QB Weeden wobbles, won't fall down

201211041443530291008-p2.jpeg

Browns' QB Weeden wobbles, won't fall down

BEREA, Ohio (AP) Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden received a vote of confidence on Election Day from his coach.

He'd happily trade it for a win.

Although the rifle-armed rookie failed to lead Cleveland to a touchdown during a 25-15 loss to Baltimore on Sunday, Browns coach Pat Shurmur offered his unwavering support to the 29-year-old QB, whose first nine games in the NFL have included some moments of brilliance and others he'd love to have back.

As the Browns (2-7) headed into their bye week with a long list of problems, a quarterback controversy is not one of them.

``I do believe in him,'' Shurmur said Wednesday. ``He is our guy. It's not going to be perfect. It's not going to be perfect all the time.''

During a season in which rookie quarterbacks are making a major impact around the league, Weeden has yet to make a significant dent. He ranks behind fellow first-year starters Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Ryan Tannehill in many statistical categories and he trails them all in the thing that matters most - wins.

``I'm frustrated,'' Weeden said following practice. ``We've won two games. We've been in games when we've had a chance to win and we've come up short too many times. As a quarterback, that's frustrating. I feel like I need to do more to help this team win.''

Weeden still seemed upset about his uneven performance against the Ravens. He drove the Browns inside Baltimore's 20-yard line five times, but Cleveland couldn't get into the end zone and had to settle for five field goals from Phil Dawson in dropping its 10th straight game to one of its bitter AFC North enemies.

Weeden finished 20 of 37 for 176 yards and two interceptions, dropping his passer rating to 67.9 - the league's second-worst mark. He did throw one touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, but it was wiped out by an illegal formation penalty. It's been that kind of season for Weeden, who has had more passes dropped than any other quarterback but he has also missed his share of wide-open receivers.

There were chances for big plays against Baltimore, but Weeden didn't make them. On Cleveland's second series, he overthrew running back Chris Ogbonnaya (on a play that was nullified by a penalty) and later missed tight end Benjamin Watson, who was streaking uncovered down the field for what could have been a long TD.

They were mistakes, Weeden's mistakes and he took the blame for them.

``When the guys are open, you have to make the throws,'' he said. ``And when they're open, you have to be routine with those. When they're wide open, you have to be 100 percent. You know I missed Obi. That's a wide-open throw. I've gotta make that. I missed Ben on a crossing route. Simple throw. I've gotta make that.

``Stuff like that, that's the stuff that eats away at me more than anything. It's guys that bust their tail to get open and I'm not able to give them a chance.''

While Shurmur attempted to put a positive spin on things, Weeden may have regressed some. He wasn't as accurate as he needed to be, and when the Browns did venture into Baltimore's red zone, Weeden did not throw a single pass into the end zone, but rather used his ``checkdowns'' and threw short.

He finished 3 of 6 for 8 yards inside the 20.

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.

--

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

Ravens' Breshad Perriman eager to play Thursday, though decision up to coaches

Ravens' Breshad Perriman eager to play Thursday, though decision up to coaches

OWINGS MILLS – Wide receiver Breshad Perriman is eager to make his Ravens debut Thursday night against the Saints, saying he is fine physically, and not thinking about his knees during practice.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh has been coy about his plans for preseason playing time, but Harbaugh said Monday that he hoped Perriman would play.

After more than a year of dealing with knee injuries, Perriman is understandably pumped to see action.

“Very exciting,” said Perriman, after doing extra work after practice Tuesday. “I’ve been waiting for a long time. It’s finally coming.

“It’s up the coaches. I’m ready to go.”

Perriman was the Ravens first-round pick in 2015 (25th overall), but missed his entire rookie season with a partially-torn PCL in his right knee. Then Perriman suffered a partially torn ACL in his left knee in May, which kept him out of action until Aug. 18, when he was activated off the PUP list.

Perriman’s combination of size (6-foot-2, 218 pounds) and sprinter’s speed could make the Ravens a different-looking offensive team if he can stay healthy. In his final college season at Central Florida, Perriman averaged 20.9 yards per catch, had 1,044 yards receiving, and had nine touchdown catches.

The immediate plan is for Perriman to finally take the field Thursday, shed some rust, take a few hits, and gain more confidence heading into Week 1. Returning to practice has already given Perriman a better feel for working with starting quarterback Joe Flacco.

“Me and Joe getting the chemistry back,” Perriman said. “It’s real good.”

Perriman hopes his serious injuries are a thing of the past. And why he hasn’t been able to play, Perriman setbacks have made him a stronger person.

“When you go through all the stuff that I’ve been through, this year, and last year, it definitely makes you stronger mentally,” said Perriman. “You just can’t let things break you.”

MORE RAVENS: Ravens trim roster to 75, send RB to reserve PUP

Quick Links

Lorenzo Taliaferro goes to reserve PUP as Ravens trim roster to 75

Lorenzo Taliaferro goes to reserve PUP as Ravens trim roster to 75

OWINGS MILLS – Third-year running back Lorenzo Taliaferro was placed on the reserve PUP list, backup kicker Wil Lutz was waived, and offensive lineman Stephane Nembot and rookie defensive end Bronson Kaufusi were both placed on the injured list, the Ravens announced Tuesday.

Those four moves brought the Ravens down the 75-player active player limit by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline.

Taliaferro has not practiced during training camp, still recovering from a knee injury. Moving Taliaferro to the regular season PUP list means he will not be eligible to play until at least Week 7.

The Ravens have four other running backs on the 53-man roster – Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon, although Dixon will be out four to six weeks with a knee injury.

Putting Taliaferro on PUP gives him more time to recover, and more time for the Ravens to decide if he will have a future role with them.

Kaufusi broke his ankle during training camp, while Nembot’s injury has not been disclosed.

Lutz looked good as a kicker, but the Ravens have one of the league’s best in Justin Tucker, and Tucker recently signed a new contract. Perhaps Lutz will get an opportunity elsewhere.

MORE RAVENS: Fifth-round pick looks poised to help Ravens pass rush

Quick Links

Lutz, Nembot expected to be among four roster cuts Tuesday

Lutz, Nembot expected to be among four roster cuts Tuesday

OWINGS MILLS – Backup kicker Wil Lutz and offensive lineman Stephane Nembot are likely two of the four roster moves the Ravens will make to reach the 75-player limit by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline. Neither Lutz nor Nembot were at practice Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, the Ravens continued to deal with injuries as they prepared for Thursday’s preseason finale against the Saints in New Orleans. Left guard John Urschel was not at practice, along with running backs Kenneth Dixon and Lorenzo Taliaferro, tight ends Dennis Pitta and Maxx Williams, defensive backs Kendrick Lewis, Shareece Wright, and Jerraud Powers, linebackers Elvis Dumervil and Za’Darius Smith, and defensive tackle Brandon Williams. Wright and Dumervil were new absences.

The Ravens hope to have Pitta (fractured finger) and Maxx Williams (undisclosed injury) back at practice next week, as they prepare for the Sept. 11 regular-season opener against the Bills. The Ravens lost tight end Ben Watson to a season-ending Achilles injury on Saturday, and backup tight ends Darren Waller and Nick Boyle will both begin the regular season on the suspended list.

RELATED: FIFTH-ROUND PICK LOOKS POISED TO HELP RAVENS PASS RUSH