|Brandon Weeden is not guaranteed the starting job. The Browns will have a quarterback competition. (US Presswire)|
The writing has been on the wall for a few weeks now, but Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam confirmed at a press conference Friday that quarterback Brandon Weeden will be forced to battle to keep his starting job.
The Browns have made wholesale changes to their coaching staff, hiring a new head coach and offensive coordinator, in Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner, respectively. Turner said at his introductory press conference that he and Chudzinski would be tasked with improving Weeden. Still, Haslam didn't mince words when discussing the team's quarterback situation.
“Norv and Chud have been very open that they like a lot of what Brandon does,” Haslam said, via the Akron Beacon-Journal. “But we're going to have competition at that position. And I think competition makes us all better, and we'll see where that competition comes from.”
Haslam indicated that the team will be looking to sign players this offseason to fill some holes, though Cleveland won't be looking to make any major moves on the free agent market, opting instead to build from the ground up.
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“They're studying,” Haslam said. “I think we have a pretty good feel for what our needs are. They're going to look at free agency and they're going to look at the draft. I think we'll be selective in what we do in free agency but if there's some talent out there that matches our needs and it's at the right dollar level, then I think we'll probably make some moves. I don't think you'll see us make any big, splashy high-priced moves because I think we've said all along we're going to build through the draft.”
The Browns will have quarterbacks Colt McCoy and Thaddeus Lewis under contract next season, but of course there will be a focus on San Francisco backup quarterback Alex Smith, who is reportedly prepared to ask for his release at season's end. On Wednesday, Smith spoke longingly of his time playing under Turner.
“He gave you freedom as a quarterback to go out there and if you saw something to take risks, take shots and things like that,” Smith said. “He wasn't necessarily so rigid that you couldn't do that. It was fun to play in that system because you felt like there were plays out there. I loved it."
It doesn't seem too far off that Smith and Turner could be reunited in Cleveland.
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