Defining drive for Weeden

Posted by Vic Carucci on December 4, 2012 – 4:02 am

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

You’ve got questions and comments that you submit to the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages. Here’s what I have to say about what you have to say:

Dave – Good win Sunday. Brandon Weeden is showing good improvement and confidence, but still two interceptions. Defense is playing well.

There’s no ignoring the two interceptions, Dave, but I still think Weeden did more right than wrong in the Browns’ victory against the Raiders.

Besides breaking his own Browns rookie record with 364 passing yards, he had what might very well be the defining moment of his first NFL season in leading the Browns on that 94-yard drive to Trent Richardson’s winning touchdown run with 3:27 left.

Weeden showed tremendous poise and confidence in leading the Browns from deep in their own territory in an extremely hostile environment in Oakland. In completing five of six passes on the march, he made good reads and decisions. He also displayed his strength and toughness when he barreled up the middle for a first down on fourth-and-one. Most of all, he added the experience of successfully leading the offense in a critical situation, of being clutch when that was likely the only way the Browns would finally snap a 12-game road losing streak.

Yes, Weeden would like to have the interceptions back, especially because they wiped out red-zone opportunities. At times, he can trust his talented passing arm and ability to make plays at any time a little too much. But I wouldn’t want him to become so fearful of making mistakes that it would take away from his aggressiveness.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Weeden’s play Sunday was his willingness to stand tall in the pocket and wait until the last possible moment to release the ball. That’s what he did on his 54-yard connection with Mohamed Massaquoi, and he wound up taking a hard hit.

Luke – Love the fact that Pat Shurmur was more aggressive and more fired up! Energy is infectious! When you encourage a young team like he did after the game, it does nothing but HELP. Better play-calling and more aggressiveness was great on his part!!

I don’t know that Shurmur was more fired up than usual, Luke.

However, I do think it’s easier for any coach to show greater enthusiasm after a victory.

I also think he had one of his strongest coaching performances of the season. He definitely was aggressive, having the Browns twice go for it on fourth down (and convert both times). And his offensive game plan demonstrated that he clearly had a good feel for the Raiders’ pass coverage. Browns receivers consistently were wide open to catch passes, and that allowed them to add yards after the catch.

Shurmur also helped create room for Richardson’s decisive scoring run by having little Travis Benjamin enter the game on second-and-goal from the Oakland 3-yard line, a situation that normally calls for larger personnel, and putting him in motion. The Raiders’ defense had no choice but to honor the possibility of the speedy Benjamin getting the ball on an end-around, because that’s a play the Browns have run multiple times season.

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