Since trading away Trent Richardson, the Browns — run game be damned — have been among the more fascinating stories in the NFL, winners of two straight against two 2012 playoff teams, one of them coming on the road.
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But it has been Brian Hoyer, and not the injured Weeden, who has led them there. The return of Josh Gordon clearly has boosted the passing game, but there is a sense that Hoyer, and not Weeden, has had something of a magic touch in the victories.
Despite that, Weeden said he still expects to start at some point, per the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
"I’m treating it like this is still my football team," he said. "I’m still involved in the offense. I’m not discouraged.''
Not this week, Brandon. Despite Weeden being cleared medically following his thumb injury, head coach Rob Chudzinski has said that Hoyer will start in Thursday's game against the Buffalo Bills at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.
The atmosphere should be strong for the (mostly) nationally televised primetime game, and the Browns will have a legit chance to win and improve to over .500 after the five-game mark for the first time since 2001.
But back to Weeden a moment. He clearly has lost his grip of the team, despite his beliefs. Is he a man in denial?
"I’m not going to feel sorry for myself and start sulking and pouting,'' Weeden said. "That's just not the way I go about it. I've still got a lot of confidence in my ability and I’m not discouraged. I think I played better this year and my confidence is still high.''
Weeden still thinks he has a chance, and as his own injury — and the fact that Hoyer has bounced around for years, and might have caught lightning in a bottle — proves that he could get a shot again to captain the ship. And from there, who knows?
"That's my mindset,'' Weeden said. "I can’t approach it any other way. If I did, I’d be doing a disservice to myself and doing a disservice to this offense. I’m going to work just as hard as I did in the off-season to win the job. I’m going to keep continuing to work just as hard now as I did week one and week two and go from there.''
But it's clear that it will take a bad turn for the Browns to turn back to Weeden. He, Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner have talked privately about his demotion, and the fact that Weeden didn't feel like discussing it this week likely means he didn't love what he heard.
So is it Weeden's team now? Only if he has an ownership stake we're not privy to.
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