Browns say "premature" to name Weeden starting QB


Browns say "premature" to name Weeden starting QB

BEREA, Ohio (AP) Norv Turner will call plays for the Browns' next season. It's not yet certain who will run them.

First-year Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said Wednesday that ``it's premature'' to name Brandon Weeden as Cleveland's starting quarterback in 2013.

At a press conference to introduce Turner, San Diego's former coach as his offensive coordinator, Chudzinski would not commit to Weeden, who had an uneven rookie season after he was drafted in the first round last year. Chudzinski is keeping his options open, which doesn't mean he's opposed to Weeden keeping his job.

But Chudzinski wasn't involved in the process to select Weeden and it only makes sense that he will do his own evaluation before making decisions on any players. Cleveland could opt to sign a quarterback in free agency, draft another one - they pick sixth overall - stick with Weeden or promote backup Colt McCoy.

There's time and Chudzinski intends to use it. He's been too busy hiring his assistants to judge what he's inheriting, which is why he won't pencil Weeden in as the starter.

It's too early to be sure of anything.

``That's premature to say any of that,'' he said. ``Until we all get together, we get the staff set, we get a chance to sit down and talk through personnel and everybody's on the same page with those things. You don't know watching tape necessarily how guys are. Sometimes guys will get out there and they get into the system and maybe it's a better fit. Maybe you see some things that you didn't see from tape, whether its game tape or practice tape so you just never know.''

Weeden won't be handed anything by Cleveland's new regime and Chudzinski, who was hired as Cleveland's sixth coach since 1999 on Jan. 11, isn't rushing into such an important decision. The Browns have opened the season with a new starting quarterback in each of the past five years.

Weeden, who was part of a talented rookie class that included Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Ryan Tannehill, was equally promising and perplexing in 2012.

The 29-year-old passed for 3,385 yards but completed only 57 percent of his throws in Cleveland's West Coast system. He had 14 touchdowns, 17 interceptions and his 72.6 rating was 29th among the league's 32 starters.

Turner will also coach Cleveland's quarterbacks and is looking forward to working with Weeden, who made 15 starts before missing Cleveland's finale at Pittsburgh with a sprained shoulder. Like Chudzinski, Turner would not offer a strong opinion - positive or negative - on Weeden, but said he's got some intangibles to build upon.

``I look at things where I know he has to improve and needs to get better to do the things we want him to do, but I think he has a lot of the skill set that we're looking for,'' Turner said. ``Again, this is early in terms of an evaluation, but he does have a big arm and he can throw the ball up the field.''

Turner wasn't modest in predicting he can get the most out of Weeden's potential.

``There's a lot of guys that I've been with that I think have had their best seasons while I was coaching them,'' he said.

As far as play-calling duties, Chudzinski was happy to hand them over to Turner, who he said has been ``one of the best play callers in the league for a long time.'' They worked together in San Diego - Chudzinski coached the Chargers tight ends under Turner - and already have a trusting relationship.

Chudzinski said having someone with Turner's vast NFL experience is a huge plus, particularly for a rookie head coach.

``One of the things you want to do as a head coach is recognize the people that are around you and the talents that they have,'' Chudzinski said. ``With Norv here, there's no doubt in my mind he'll do a great job as the play caller. I'll still be involved. The way that we've done this is from a game-planning standpoint and on game day when I was with Norv when we we're in San Diego together is that everybody's really involved through the whole process.''

After he was fired by the Chargers, Turner went on vacation in Hawaii with his wife, Nancy. It was a chance to unwind and plan the next phase of a coaching career spanning nearly four decades.

Turner said Chudzinski made a convincing sales pitch to join the Browns, who had one of the league's youngest rosters last season.

``He really got to me,'' Turner said. ``The youth of the team was extremely exciting to me and it looked like a great opportunity. We share a philosophy in terms of offensive football and the way you play football. You want to be a team that the fans love to watch. You have to be able to score points, you have to be able to make explosive plays, big plays, you have to be a team that plays fast, plays hard, plays physical.''

Turner became familiar with many of Cleveland's players when the Chargers were beaten by the Browns 7-6 in October. It's when he got his first look at running back Trent Richardson, who scored the game's only TD on a 26-yard, tackle-breaking run.

``An impressive, young player,'' Turner said. ``I've been fortunate through most of my stops to be with outstanding running backs, great running backs. Guys who have characteristics like a Trent. I've been fortunate to be able to coach five backs that have led the NFL in rushing. That experience will help me in terms of understanding what we need to do.''

Quick Links

5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

Here are five plays or moments from the Wizards' 109-102 win over the Pacers on Saturday night that are worth revisiting... 

1. The Wizards took care of business against the Pacers on Saturday night and in doing so earned an important advantage in the playoff race. They won the season series and therefore own a tiebreaker for playoff seeding and currently that would mean home court advantage in the first round if the playoffs began today.

The Wizards took control early and part of that effort were five first-half assists by Bradley Beal. He ended up with 19 points, but some of his best plays were passes.

On this one, he executed a perfect pick-and-roll with Marcin Gortat:


2. This was another pretty pass to Gortat. Tomas Satoransky, who had 12 points and eight assists, fed Gortat with a nice reach-around pass on a play that featured some impressive ball movement overall:

3. This was a great moment. The Wizards had a member of the military surprise his niece on the court. She literally did not see it coming:


4. These last two plays are dunks by Kelly Oubre, Jr., who finished with 16 points. On this play, he cut through the and threw down with authority:

5. This dunk was set up by a beautiful pass from Ramon Sessions. It traveled about three-quarters of the court and Oubre did the rest:

The Wizards now have three days off before their next game as they sit fourth in the Eastern Conference. Things are trending positive for the Wizards as the playoff race heats up.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Quick Links

Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

The Washington Wizards beat the Indiana Pacers 109-102 on Saturday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Important victory: Saturday night's game between the Wizards and Pacers had several layers of playoff implications on the line and it was Washington who rose to the occasion and showed the urgency commensurate for the stakes.

By beating the Pacers, the Wizards locked up the season series between the teams, two games to one. That gives them the tiebreaker for playoff seeding if the teams finish the regular season with the same record. That could very well prove paramount. As of now, the Wizards and Pacers have the same record (40-30) with 12 games to go.

The season series advantage means the Wizards are above the Pacers in the standings despite having the same record. They moved into fourth place in the East with the win and the Cavs slotted back into third. There will likely be a lot more movement as these next few weeks play out, but the Wizards now hold an important edge over the Pacers.

The win also pushed the Wizards to 14-8 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. Wall could return this coming week or the week after and the Wizards have more than stayed afloat during his absence.

The Wizards' magic number to make the playoffs is now just five. 


Sato went off: The Wizards jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter mostly thanks to a hot start from Tomas Satoransky, who scored the Wizards' first five points and had 10 by the end of the first quarter.

Satoransky's floater was automatic. He dropped in several in the lane from all different angles. Satoransky was practicing the same shots, floaters off each foot, the day before in practice and it paid off.

It was a well-rounded night for Satoransky. In addition to his 12 points, he also had eight assists and five rebounds, including this one to find Marcin Gortat for the dunk:

Gortat came up big: Speaking of Gortat, the Wizards' big man had one of his best games of the season. He poured in 18 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists a steal and a block. Gortat shot 6-for-8, consistently having his way on the block.

The Pacers were without two of their best big men in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis and Gortat took advantage of that. He was way too much for Al Jefferson.

The Pacers tried to roll with small-ball lineups using Trevor Booker and Thaddeus Young as their big men, but it didn't work. Gortat was too big for them and his teammates did a great job finding him for open looks.

Gortat's 18 points were his most since Jan. 3 when he had a season-high 21 against the Knicks. Lately, Gortat has seen his minutes dwindle with the increased role for Ian Mahinmi, so Saturday night must have felt good for the Polish Machine.


Bojan held in check: Bojan Bogdanovic, who spent part of last season with the Wizards, was a major factor in the first two matchups between Washington and the Pacers this season. He had 20 points in one game and 29 in another, each time getting hot from three.

The Wizards, though, made some adjustments in this one and held Bo Buckets in check. He didn't make his first shot until nearly the midway point of the second quarter and it was only because Kelly Oubre, Jr. (16 points, 18 minutes) lost his balance. Oubre stumbled backward, giving Bogdanovic a split second to get off an open three. That was the only shot he hit in the first half as he began the game 1-for-4.

Oubre did a good job harrassing Bogdanovic and not giving him space on the premiter. Otto Porter (eight points) and Bradley Beal (19 points) did as well. Both Porter and Beal stripped the ball out of Bogdanovic's hands early in the third quarter. Midway through the third, Bogdanovic got past Porter only to be called for an offensive foul on a collision with Gortat. All in all, it was a frustrating night for Bogdanovic, who had 11 points, three below his season average.

Bogdanovic is a very good shooter and when he's hot can alter games. But when you take his shots away, there's not much else he can do to hurt you. The Wizards did a good job taking away his strengths and making others beat them. Not having to focus on Turner and Sabonis certainly helped. 

Sessions is still in the rotation: It turns out those five games for Ramon Sessions over the course of his second 10-day contract weren't just an audition. Now that he has been signed for the rest of the season, Sessions is still getting the nod over Tim Frazier as the backup point guard.

Sessions logged 18 minutes and even played alongside Satoransky and Jodie Meeks in the fourth quarter. The Wizards had a sizable lead and head coach Scott Brooks decided to experiment with his lineups. That is something to keep in mind for when Wall comes back. Once he does, Sessions will be the third point guard and likely rarely see the court. But if they see something they like about him at shooting guard, that could open the door for more playing time possibilities.

Up next: The Wizards have three off-days before their next game. That will be on Wednesday when they head to San Antonio to face the Spurs. Tipoff is at 9:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Pregame coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. with Wizards HangTime.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!