BEREA, Ohio -- Brandon Weeden knows there is only one way to prove to the Cleveland Browns' new regime that he is their quarterback of the future. It's not about throwing for 4,000 yards. It's not about improving his completion percentage or decreasing the amount of batted passes.
"It all goes back to wins and losses," said Weeden, who went 5-9 as a starter last season. "If you win games, it takes care of everything. I don’t think about the future, to be very honest. I know I have to play well. Wherever I’m at, if you don’t play well, they’re going to find somebody to take your spot. If I can do that, it’s all a non-story anyway."
Weeden was the 22nd overall pick in the 2012 draft, but no one who had a say in that decision remains. There's a new decision-maker in Joe Banner, a new general manager in Mike Lombardi and a new coach in Rob Chudzinski.
The pressure is on Weeden because he may only be given this season to convince them that he is a franchise quarterback.
Even though team officials have yet to officially name Weeden the starter, offensive coordinator Norv Turner said last week that the team is getting Weeden ready to be the starter. Lombardi, who had been critical of Weeden during his time as an NFL Network analyst, was even complimentary of Weeden recently, saying the 29-year-old quarterback has "gotten better at everything they've asked him to do."
Last season, Weeden threw for 3,385 yards, which was more than fellow rookies Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson. He completed 57.4 percent of this passes, which was better than Andrew Luck. And he threw 14 touchdown passes, which was more than Ryan Tannehill.
"No one wants to talk about that," Weeden said. "At the same time, it goes back to winning games. If we had won eight to nine games, none of the talk would ever happen. As a quarterback, I understand. I have to do my part in those games to find a way to win."
Weeden watched every game and every play from last season. He saw a quarterback who wasn't consistent enough. He also saw a quarterback who came up short in some the most critical parts of the game.
In the red zone, Weeden threw five touchdowns, the fewest for a quarterback with at least 40 pass attempts inside the 20-yard line. No one other than Weeden had fewer than eight touchdowns. In the final two minutes of the game, Weeden completed 10 of 22 passes (45 percent) with one touchdown and two interceptions.
"There were times last year when we weren’t good in those situations and that’s why we lost games," Weeden said. "We didn’t make enough plays down the stretch and that’s why we had five wins."