It’s not enough that the Cleveland Browns have handed over the reigns of the offense to a rookie quarterback. And it’s not enough they’re depending on a rookie running back who missed most of training camp after having his knee scoped to give the running game a boost.
On top of those items, the Browns open their season Sunday against a team bent on redemption, after a disastrously disappointing season last year.
What chance does Cleveland have Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles (1 pm Eastern, Fox)?
Five rookies are expected to start at quarterback on opening weekend of this NFL season. One of those is 28-year-old Brandon Weeden, the former Oklahoma State Cowboy who will start for the Brownies.
Pushing aside Colt McCoy, whom Cleveland just drafted two years ago, the Browns continue rotating quarterbacks like some of us go through underwear. Weeden will become the 18th QB to start for the Browns since they were were reborn 13 years ago.
Anybody with this franchise every hear of the concept of continuity?
Cleveland runs into an opponent Sunday that must be chomping at the bit to get this season started. Philly was supposed to go to the Super Bowl last year; instead they lost four of their first five games and never fully recovered. The Eagles sucked it up at the end and won their last four games to finish at 8-8, but that was far, far short of expectations.
This year the expectations may be even higher; but that talent is back, and combined with increased motivation, along with a little humble pie, Philly is a serious contender in the NFC, at minimum.
What’s Important: The Line, and How to Play It
As of earlier this week the Browns were getting eight or nine points as home dogs, depending on which NFL odds board you were perusing. As of Friday evening Cleveland could be gotten at +9.5 and even +10 at some NFL betting outlets.
Rookie quarterbacks are a crapshoot. Last year Carolina had success with Cam Newton and Cincy made the playoffs with Andy Dalton, but Jacksonville struggled with Blaine Gabbert, as did the Vikings with Christian Ponder. As for the Browns, we just don’t see the supporting cast necessary for immediate success.