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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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With Ravens winning, T-shirt look fits John Harbaugh to a tee

With Ravens winning, T-shirt look fits John Harbaugh to a tee

The Ravens are unbeaten (3-0), including their last two victories with coach John Harbaugh wearing a gray T-shirt on the sidelines. The casual look has been good to Harbaugh, who had never worn a t-shirt on the sidelines until this season.

Does that mean Harbaugh will stick with the T-shirt look until the Ravens lose? Harbaugh said Monday that he wasn’t sure, because he was not superstitious.

“I’m superstitious about not being superstitious,” said Harbaugh. “I think it’s really important not to be superstitious.”

Harbaugh said that Ravens equipment manager Tommy Wood would have the gray T-shirt washed and ready if Harbaugh wanted to wear it for Sunday’s upcoming home game against the Raiders (2-1).

“He (Wood) said, ‘We’re saving this one,’’’ Harbaugh said. “So it will be laundered up and ready to go next week, I guess.”

If the Ravens keep winning, and the weather turns cold, Harbaugh knows wearing a T-shirt on the sidelines could be a problem. He laughed when asked if he would consider wearing a T-shirt Dec. 12 for the Ravens’ game at New England.

“I don’t like being cold,” Harbaugh said. “If that T-shirt can stretch and fit over a parka or something like that, then we might have a chance.”

MORE RAVENS: Jernigan becoming consistent force for Ravens

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Fantasy Football: Week 4 Waiver Wire

Fantasy Football: Week 4 Waiver Wire

Three weeks of the NFL Fantasy Football season are in the books. The fourth comes with a twist: Here come the bye weeks. Now, here come the free agent options.

QUARTERBACKS

— Because Aaron Rodgers is on a bye or you don't love Eli Manning at the Vikings

1. Joe Flacco, Baltimore – No amazing street options this week, but Flacco has some hope with a home matchup against a Raiders defense allowing the fourth-most points to fantasy QBs. Maybe angry Steve Smith will show and carry the day.

2. Dak Prescott, Dallas – The Cowboys face a 49ers defense that allowed six touchdown passes over the last two weeks. Trusting a rookie to produce two weeks in a row is historically dicey, but maybe Prescott, who put up good points against Chicago in Week 3, can do just that.

3. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia – The impressive rookie cannot help owners in Week 3 with Philadelphia off, but Wentz looks more and more like a viable quarterback-by-committee option.

Others: Trevor Siemian (at Bucs), Brian Hoyer (vs. Lions)

— You can drop Tyrod Taylor - Until Sammy Watkins is active AND truly healthy, the Bills don't have enough weapons to make owners feel good using Taylor.

RUNNING BACKS

— Because Eddie Lacy and the Eagles options are off and Jeremy Langford's ankle situation has you spooked and somebody grabbed Cameron Artis-Payne already

1. Jordan Howard, Chicago – Faces a Lions defense that has allowed 115.5 rush yards over the last two games and does with Jeremy Langford expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain. Owners can spend at least 1/3 of their auction budget and more for those in RB hell. Good chance Howard, who had 92 total yards on 13 touches in Week 3, keeps the job if he produces.

2. Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore – This goes out for those seeking depth. Dixon is due back soon from a preseason injury. When he does, the rookie should move quickly into the mix and then some for a backfield not getting the job done. At all.

3. Dwayne Washington, Detroit – Chicago has allowed at least one rushing TD in every game this season. Washington received 10 carries in his expanded role last week.

Others for Week 4: Orleans Darkwa, NY Giants; Kenyan Drake, Miami; Jay Ajayi, Miami

Others for stashing purposes: Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia; Dion Lewis, New England

WIDE RECEIVERS

— Because no Jordy Nelson or Jordan Matthews this week and injuries to Sammy Watkins an Willie Snead are not cool, man

1. Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland – The new "Slash" and the Browns best weapon. Crazy to think the Redskins could consider having Josh Norman shadow shadow the QB-turned-WR around. That Pryor will be given a shot to make plays with hands, feet and arm is the real intrigue.

2. Michael Thomas, New Orleans – No Willie Snead, no problem for the Saints on Monday night. San Diego has allowed 410 yards to fantasy receivers the last two weeks.

3. Jamison Crowder, Washington – The Redskins have plenty of playmaking receivers and it's time to realize Crowder is one of them. Touchdowns in back-to-back weeks, Kirk Cousins trusts him an he leads Washington in receptions and targets.

Others: Cole Beasley, Dallas (PPR), Quincy Enuwna, NY Jets; Steve Smith, Baltimore; Adam Humphries, Tampa Bay; Chris Hogan, New England; 

TIGHT ENDS

— Because you can't trust Rob Gronkowski will really play and Zach Ertz, Jared Cook are on a bye.

1. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota – The connection with Sam Bradford looks legit. Went 7-70-1 against Carolina after finding the end zone the previous week.

2. Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay – In the Bucs first game without Austin Seferian-Jenkins meant lots of work for Brate. Ten targets is something. Catching five of those throws for 46 yards and touchdown is something else.

Others: Zach Miller, Chicago; Hunter Henry, Tennessee

DEFENSES 

— Because you stream this position

Likely available options in Week 4 – Redskins (vs. Browns), Jets (vs. Seahawks)