Brandon Weeden is running the first-team offense in Browns OTAs, but head coach Rob Chudzinski isn't ready to declare him the starter. Jason Campbell, who has been working with the second team, is still in the race.
"It's too early now to say anything," Chudzinski said after practice Thursday. "It just would not be smart to name a starter and all those things we've gone through before."
The Browns turned on the play clock when either Weeden or Campbell was in the huddle because offensive coordinator Norv Turner wants to run an up-tempo offense, and that means getting in and out of the huddle and to the line of scrimmage as quickly as possible. So far, Weeden is adapting well.
"We flipped on the play clock and kind of challenged ourselves to play faster," Weeden said. "If you're at the line of scrimmage, all you hear is, 'Let's go, let's go, let's go,' that's all that I hear and they just harp on it because it's tough on defenses.
"If you can get lined up and do your motions and stuff, it's tough for defenses to get lined up. That's where big plays come about and Norv is the main reason. That's his main focus right now is us learning this offense but doing it fast. It's helped us up to this point."
Weeden hit some throws and missed some Thursday. A deep pass intended for Travis Benjamin over the middle was picked off by safety Tashaun Gipson. He followed that by threading a pass to tight end Jordan Cameron on the left side and then hitting Benjamin on a pass to the right sideline.
Chudzinski was among those who in February seemed unsure about what he was getting in Weeden, the 22nd pick of the first round in 2012. Weeden was 5-10 as the starter. Chudzinski and CEO Joe Banner seemed to wonder how hard he would be willing to work and learn a new offense. Weeden was in Berea on the first day of the offseason conditioning program on April 1 hitting the weight room and the playbook.
"I think he's done a good job with that," Chudzinski said. "You get to know how he picks things up and how he translates it to decision making on the field. That's what we're looking at now.
"Obviously things are slowed down a little bit up front. You're not getting the total pass rush and it's not 100 percent guys going against each other."
Weeden said the offense the Browns use under Turner "makes more sense" than the West Coast offense he tried to pilot as a rookie last year. Weeden was under center more than any other quarterback in the league last year. Turner coached the San Diego Chargers in 2012. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was in the shotgun more than 75 percent of the time.
"There is a lot more up front (to learn) as far as formations and stuff, but once you get it, you can hear a play and kind of piece it together by the verbiage," Weeden said, "Plus, me and my wife have spent too many hours studying. It's been crazy. So it's been good. I've been comfortable with what we're doing and the guys are in the same boat."
The Browns have two more weeks of OTAs and then a minicamp in June. Weeden will continue working with the starters, Campbell with the second team and Thaddeus Lewis with the third group. It is mid-May. Campbell isn't worried about getting his chance.
"I'm just coming out and competing every day," Campbell said. "Honestly, I'm not caught up in that. The common goal is to win. If you get caught up in that, you can't go out and focus and get better. Ultimately, I do want to help but also compete and give my best. I'm still at a point in my career where I still have a lot of things in me."