BEREA—Pat Shurmur said Wednesday before the second day of practice at Browns minicamp that he wants to name a starting quarterback “sooner than later.”
It is presumed that Shurmur will name first-round draft choice Brandon Weeden the starter over Colt McCoy or Seneca Wallace, as early as the start of training camp in late July.
“Sooner rather than later, if we know who the guy is, we’ll make it happen,” Shurmur said.
However, when Shurmur was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach with the Rams, the Rams didn’t name Sam Bradford the starting quarterback until eight days before the first regular season game. Bradford, who was the first overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, was named the starter on Sept. 4, 2012 to face the Cardinals on Sept. 12.
Bradford started all 16 games for the Rams as a rookie, completing 60 percent of his passes and throwing for 3,512 yards with 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He had a quarterback rating of 76.5.
Bradford didn’t start until the third preseason game of 2010 against the Patriots after A.J. Feeley was injured in the second preseason game, ironically, against the Browns.
The Browns used the 22nd overall pick in the first round on Weeden and being a 28-year old rookie, the Browns have implied they expect Weeden to be their starter, but have said there is open competition at the position.
Weeden was asked if he felt like the starter after taking the first reps at the minicamp with the starters on the first two days of minicamp.
“Not yet, just because nothing is formal,” Weeden said. “We’re still two months out until we play our first preseason game. No, not yet. I’m still working my tail off just to get better and keep learning.”
Shurmur has been very complimentary of Weeden’s development thus far.
“He’s shown me he knows how to play this game.”
Shurmur said he has seen in Weeden what he was expecting.
“I think we are seeing what we saw prior to drafting him and he is doing a good job of learning what we do,” Shurmur said. “How we call plays, progressions and what we ask him to do, I think he’s done a good job. No, it’s pretty much what we thought.”
Weeden says he’s glad there’s time between now and training camp.
“Being a rookie, I think you like this time to get comfortable with what you are doing,” Weeden said. “As a competitor and as a football player, you want to throw the pads on. Even though not so much for me because I don’t hit or I’m not getting hit in minicamp, I think anytime you see flying bullets from our position with pads on and all of the chaos is going on around you, you get more comfortable. I think that’s what gets you ready to play games.”
Weeden said he does feel that he’s absorbing the offense.
“Yeah, I’m getting more comfortable with what we are doing, but I still have a long ways to go,” Weeden said. “I think, like I said, the other guys have a lot more experience under their belts as far as game reps and practice reps, whatever it may be. I’ve got some catching up to do, so I think that’s just my main focus right now. I’m not worried about it. Like I said, we still have two months that I can continue to work.”
Shurmur said the coaching staff is not holding anything back in terms of installing the offense.
“I think philosophically you install the offense for all of the players and the benefit of the way we are doing it now is you are getting a chance to install it, add to it and then go back and repeat it,” Shurmur said. “I think he is like every other player on offense. There are things he has to learn and the more he hears it, the better he will get.”
Shurmur said the coaches were not thinking of moving DL Ahtyba Rubin around with DL Phil Taylor injured. He also indicated that rookie DLs John Hughes and Billy Winn would battle with DL Scott Paxson for the starting job.
“That’s why we drafted them,” Shurmur said.
Shurmur said that OL Jason Pinkston came into the off-season program in better shape and he is pleased with his progress.
“I have seen a guy who is very focused, very detailed about his preparation,” Shurmur said. “He also, prior to the offseason program phase of things, did a nice job of getting himself in better shape than he was last year. I just see a guy who knows a little bit more about what he is doing and I think that will help him be better next fall.”