CLEVELAND - Rob Chudzinski said the Browns coaching staff has been helping quarterback Brandon Weeden try to develop a quicker release.
The key word is "try." Peyton Manning tries to quicken his release, usually with positive results. Weeden, as is well known, isn't in Manning's class, which means he might never become quick on the release.
The topic was front and center Wednesday as the Browns returned to practice in preparation for Sunday's home game against the Detroit Lions. Both Chudzinski, the Browns coach, and Weeden believe he's improved in that important area.
"There are a million different ways, whether it's the design of the play, getting off the first progression faster, pre-snap reads as far as maybe eliminating half the field or seeing pressure and finding your back," Weeden said. "It just depends on the play. There are times you're going to have to sit back and hold it because you might have a double move or you might have a deeper progression route. That goes to the confidence I have in the guys up front."
Chudzinski believes he's seen a different player in Weeden since he was reinstated to a starting role after Brian Hoyer suffered a season-ending knee injury. That doesn't mean all the flaws Weeden had before Hoyer's injury will suddenly vanish into thin air, but there's always hope.
"I think it's been a learning experience for him," Chudzinski said. "He's grown from that experience. You look at being the starter, getting injured and having to sit and watch and then get thrown into the game where he didn't get a lot of practice time; getting booed; back and forth; and him ultimately making some big plays that helped us win that game. That's growth, and I think that he has a sense of confidence of what he's been able to do."
Weeden should get plenty of credit for his play in the 37-24 win over the Buffalo Bills a week ago. The Browns trailed 10-0 when Hoyer went down. Weeden entered before a crowd that was ready to boo his every mistake, not to mention the glare of a nationally-televised game.
Weeden was 13-of-24 for 197 yards and a 37-yard touchdown pass to Josh Gordon. He made some mistakes in holding the ball too long, but they can be partially excused because of the outcome.
Make no mistake about the fact that Weeden heard the booing. For the record he says he understood the reaction of the fans.
"Obviously, I heard them but I personally think we have the best fans in the National Football League," Weeden said. "This is some of the best people, the smartest football fans in the league and I get it. They get it, so obviously you don't want to hear those but I think if you can make a couple throws and put a couple drives together, hopefully you turn those into cheers and as a player that's what you want."
The way Weeden handled the fan adversity spoke volumes to Chudzinski, who now must find a way to keep the positive vibes created by three straight wins rolling.
"I thought it was impressive that he dealt with it the way he did," Chudzinski said. "He didn't listen to it. It didn't affect him at all during the game."
Both Weeden and Chudzinski need to keep the booing to a minimum in the future.