Browns want Weeden to cut down on interceptions

Browns want Weeden to cut down on interceptions

BEREA, Ohio (AP) 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.''

Point taken.

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 manor and mindset sometimes gets me in trouble. I'm not going to take that away from myself.

``I have to take care of the football. I have to cut down on them. I think guys that are aggressive like that, sometimes that's one category they unfortunately may have a couple more than they'd like. It's not good, but we're just being aggressive. Sometimes, making that aggressive throw, sometimes it catapults you and gets you momentum. You get a big throw and kind of spark a drive or something. I agree with him.''

The Browns' game before their bye was testament to Shurmur's evaluation of Weeden, who has completed 185 of 336 passes (55 percent) for 2,088 yards and nine touchdowns.

Weeden threw two interceptions during a 25-15 loss to Baltimore. Those miscues weren't particularly costly, but he failed to get the Browns into the end zone despite five possessions inside the Ravens' 20-yard line. There were some who theorized that Weeden played too cautiously in the red zone, perhaps because he was afraid to throw a pick with Ravens safety Ed Reed lurking.

Did the gunslinger get gun shy?

Weeden said he took what the Ravens gave him.

``If you go watch the tape, no one was open,'' he said. ``I made smart decisions down there. We were in the red zone and the balls I did throw, I did check down. Windows were small, but if I throw a pick there, you guys are asking me the same questions.

Weeden and Shurmur have discussed his decision making and interceptions, but it hasn't been a major point of emphasis during their talks.

``It's just common knowledge between the both of us, we know you can't turn the ball over,'' he said. ``It's in my forefront, but I don't let it get to the front of my mind, where I'm so paranoid about throwing interceptions that I don't take shots.''

Unable to work out a trade to move up and draft Robert Griffin III, the Browns selected Weeden with the No. 22 overall pick in April's draft. They ignored his age, dismissed the fact that he rarely took a snap under center in college and banked on him filling a position that has been unresolved for years.

Shurmur believes Weeden can become an ``outstanding player'' and to do that he needs ``to lead us to victories and don't throw interceptions.''

That will happen once Weeden starts making better choices.

``I've looked at all of those interceptions and there are times when he could've made better decisions,'' Shurmur said. ``There's, of course, things that have happened where a ball bounces off a guy's chest. So you look at all of those things. You don't want to play anxious football, but you also have to be smart.''

Last week, Banner said he and Haslam will use the rest of the season to decide if Weeden is indeed Cleveland's long-term answer at quarterback. If there wasn't enough pressure on Weeden already, Banner raised the heat level a few degrees.

Weeden, though, isn't sweating it. He's doesn't feel as if he's under fire.

``I would've expected him to say that,'' he said. ``They're taking over this organization and they're going to do the moves to help this team win and I obviously want to be the guy that they have a lot of confidence in going forward and I've got to play like it.

``I've got to go play well and keep the team growing and keep the team making better plays and let the rest kind of take care of itself.''

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NOTES: Browns RB Trent Richardson is still not 100 percent but the bye week helped his rib cartilage injury. Richardson is close with Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith, whose records he broke in high school. Richardson said they speak regularly and he has watched Smith on TV's ``Dancing With The Stars.'' Richardson said, ``He got moves, man.'' ... Browns TE Benjamin Watson was named the fourth captain for this week's game. .... Browns CB Joe Haden was limited in practice with an oblique injury but said he expects to play.

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Gilman's Cyrus Jones drafted by Patriots

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Gilman's Cyrus Jones drafted by Patriots

Baltimore native and former Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones was selected by the New England Patriots in the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday. A Gilman graduate, Jones was the Patriots first pick in the draft, at No. 60 overall.

At 5-10 and 197 pounds, Jones is ideally suited as a slot corner who could be challenged when matched up against taller receivers on the outside. But he has solid fundamentals and his proven ability as a return specialist adds to his value.

Jones finished this past season with 37 tackles and two interceptions for the Crimson Tide and 108 tackles, seven interceptions and 25 passes defensed over three seasons as a defensive back.

RELATED: RAVENS TRADE DOWN TWICE, STEER CLEAR OF JACK, SPENCE

Jones, who began his collegiate career as a receiver before moving to cornerback as a sophomore, led the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision this past year and set an Alabama single-season record with four punt return touchdowns.

“Returning is a specialized thing,” Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said earlier this month when discussing Jones. “A lot of guys can’t do it, especially punts. It’s very hard to catch punts. So the guys that can do it and are good at it, I mean, that’s additional value for sure.”

The Ravens were interested in Jones, and he impressed them at their local pro day, but now the Baltimore native is headed to New England of all places. 

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Five things to know about Ravens third-round pick Kaufusi

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Five things to know about Ravens third-round pick Kaufusi

OWINGS MILLS - Herre are five  things to know about Ravens third-round pick, BYU defensive end – rush linebacker Bronson Kaufusi. 

1. Kaufusi had 20 sacks, 11 tackles for losses this year. 

2. Kaufusi is already 24 years old. A native of Prova, Utah he went on a two-year church mission to New Zealand. 

“I don’t feel like my age is an issue, and it hasn’t seemed to be an issue for the NFL teams I’ve talked to,” Kaufusi told the Salt Lake Tribune. “Whoever can make plays is going to play, and get the job done. To me, it doesn’t matter how old you are. This is serious stuff. The best players are going to play. It is not a big concern for me.”

3.  Kaufusi’s father, Steve Kaufusi, played for the Eagles (1988-90). 

4.  His car is a 1990 Ford Explorer. Might be time to upgrade. 

5. Kaufusi led the nation with four blocked kicks. Expect the Ravens to use his 6-foot-6 height on special teams. He played soccer and basketball growing up with helped his footwork.

RELATED: RAVENS TRADE DOWN TWICE, STEER CLEAR OF JACK, SPENCE

Ravens trade down twice, steer clear of Jack, Spence

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Ravens trade down twice, steer clear of Jack, Spence

The Ravens passed on drafting linebacker Myles Jack and outside linebacker Noah Spence on Friday, trading back twice early in the second round with two of the top remaining defensive players still available to them.

Steering clear of Jack and Spence leaves the Ravens open to second-guessing, but it’s clear the Ravens had issues with both of them. Jack is dealing with a knee injury and Spence has been dogged by off-field concerns.

Jack was considered a top-10 talent and was frequently linked to the Ravens in the first round in many mock drafts. But concerns over Jack’s knee – which he exacerbated when he said before the draft that he might ultimately need microfracture surgery – sent Jack tumbling all the way out of the first round. Many teams were concerned with the condition of Jack’s knee, but passing on a player considered to be one of the top defensive talents in the draft when healthy is definitely a gamble.

RELATED: RAVENS TAKE PASS RUSHER CORREA WITH SECOND-ROUND PICK

The Ravens dealt their No. 36 pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who promptly selected Jack, the versatile linebacker from UCLA. The Ravens, who moved to the No. 38 spot, picked up a fifth-round pick in the deal.

Then before their pick at No. 38, the Ravens traded down again, dealing that pick to the Dolphins for the No. 42 pick and a fourth-round pick.

Spence was selected at No. 39 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Jaguars, who selected defensive back Jalen Ramsey one pick before the Ravens in the first round, wind up with both Ramsey and Jack, who two weeks ago were both considered top-10 players.

As for Spence, who made a predraft visit to the Ravens, he was dismissed from Ohio State after failed drug tests and ended his career at Eastern Kentucky, where he had 11 ½ sacks last season.

Both Jack and Spence seemed to fit the mold of what the Ravens were looking for, but it’s obvious that the Ravens also had enough reservation to look elsewhere.

MORE RAVENS: RAVENS TRADE DOWN TWICE, MOVE FROM NO. 36, TO NO. 38, TO NO. 42