BEREA - After hitting clay pigeons on stride, putting a football into the hands of receivers should be easy for Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden.
Weeden became famous for a "Sports Science" video in which he was asked to try to hit clay pigeons that flew just a few feet in front of him. He missed on many, but at one point he hit four of five.
"That was a timing deal. Like a slant," said Weeden, whom the Browns selected with the 22nd overall pick in the NFL draft. "The ball and clay pigeon kind of meet. I'm not going to lie. The first one I threw I missed by six feet. My timing was way off.
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Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden passes during practice at the Friday rookie camp in Berea.
"It was a lot tougher than I thought. I was actually nervous. They only had 100 clay pigeons. I was nervous that I wouldn't hit one."
A better gauge of Weeden's skills is what receivers have to say about him. The initial reviews after day one of rookie minicamp were impressive.
"He throws a good, hard ball," said receiver Travis Benjamin of the University of Miami. "Every time on the field I have to be anticipating him throwing the ball."
Running back Trent Richardson, the fourth overall pick in the draft, caught several short passes from Weeden. The two are expected to be a big part of the offense next season.
"Brandon has a strong arm," Richardson said. "I was about 3 yards away from him and he threw it hard. I had to put my hands up real fast. People talk about him playing baseball. I can see why he did play baseball."
Weeden was under coach Pat Shurmur's microscope. Having played in Oklahoma State's spread offense, Weeden isn't accustomed to taking snaps from under center and dropping back.
Shurmur worked on Weeden's footwork, but for the most part it didn't seem to be an issue.
"I thought he operated pretty well, especially for the first time through it," Shurmur said. "I saw all the same things we saw when we drafted him. Just like the rest of the guys, he's going to learn from some of the things we did today. He's working through it, and I think he'll do well."
Weeden took snaps from under center early in his junior season. He doesn't like to remember that experience.
"I ruptured a tendon in my thumb and just couldn't take a snap," Weeden said. "I fumbled a snap against Troy (State) with two minutes left and a lead. I don't want to talk about that. We stayed in the shotgun because of my thumb."
It's not like Weeden never took snaps from under center on a regular basis. He did it most of the time in his first two college seasons.
"I like being under center more because you can see everything that's going on and you get the ball immediately," he said. "Not that I don't like being in the shotgun, but if I had to pick one of the two, I like being under center."
Standard practice for rookie quarterbacks is to sit and learn, but Weeden isn't an average rookie at age 28. He's being asked to step in immediately, although Shurmur plans to conduct open competition for the job between Weeden and Colt McCoy.
Weeden hasn't had a chance to discuss the situation with McCoy.
"All of us that are here today plan on having a job," Weeden said. "Colt has been in the system for two years, so I'm going to ask him some questions. We'll learn together and compete.
"We're going to do whatever we can to help this team win games. Whether it's me or him - obviously I hope I'm the guy - I have to continue to keep learning. Let's see how things pan out."