When the Cleveland Browns made quarterback Brandon Weeden a first round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the reactions were mixed across the board. Projections for his rookie season were all over the place, but few of them had him really improving and making the Browns a more dynamic offensive team as a whole. That burden was to fall on running back Trent Richardson, not Weeden.
But Weeden has been getting better each week. He might not always exceed his yardage total or throw more touchdowns/less interceptions, but he's clearly improved game-to-game. After allowing the close loss to the Baltimore Ravens – a game that few gave them a chance to even keep close – to settle, SB Nation's Dawgs By Nature took a look at four reasons why fans should be optimistic. One of them was Weeden and his improvements to the offense:
The third reason: the Browns' offense looks so much more threatening than it was a year ago. For anyone who is still calling for Colt McCoy ... well, I'll just laugh and chalk it up to the fact that you didn't pay attention to or don't remember a single game in 2011. We've seen progress from Brandon Weeden each week.
The next step for Weeden? They say the best thing that the Browns can do is find a better way to script the offense in the first quarter, to get Weeden off to a stronger start, so he's not always playing from behind. One particular stat they note is an average of 1.6 points scored in the first quarter over the course of last season, which is patently low.
On Sunday, the Browns will take on the New York Giants, a team who seems to thrive on late scoring bursts, so a first quarter lead certainly wouldn't mean guaranteed smooth sailing. Either way, the Giants have a tough defense with a strong defensive line, so getting Weeden out to a strong start could be huge for their young and inexperienced offense.