So you thought Andrew Luck vs. RGIII was the marquee rookie matchup to watch this weekend? Think again.
Okay, maybe that joke goes a little too far, but nevertheless, for a big pre-season and rookie fan like myself, the Eagles vs. Browns game on Friday night was a very important and intriguing one. Nick Foles started in place of the injured Mike Vick, and Brandon Weeden and the Browns continued to try to find ways to make progress.
Long story short, it was a long night for the Browns and their fans. Weeden completed just nine of his 20 passes, was sacked three times, and fumbled twice. He seems to really be struggling with the speed of the NFL, unlike many of his rookie quarterback peers. Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Foles, Ryan Tannehill, and Russell Wilson all appear to be capable of starting in the NFL right now while the 28 year old Weeden looks lost in the transition. He’s making some plays, but they are few and far in between.
The Eagles took a 24-3 lead into the fourth quarter before Colt McCoy got the Browns off the touchdown schnide with a pass to Evan Moore in the early portion of the fourth quarter, but it was a dismal outing for the Browns otherwise. The major bright spot was rookie Josh Gordon, who appears to be making some strides. He caught three passes for 50 yards on four targets.
Still, it’s pretty baffling how much further ahead some of these other rookie quarterbacks are than Weeden. I realize just like anyone else that Weeden is a rookie and he’s playing on a team that is, shall we say, in transition. Having a stud running back like Trent Richardson is sure to help out, but how much can he really control? The Browns are going to have to be a run first, pass second team in 2012, which I think they would prefer anyways.
You have to look at Nick Foles’ performance last night and be impressed. The rookie completed 12 of 19 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns, though he did force a throw into double coverage that was picked by Joe Haden.
Obviously these two young passers have a lot to learn about the game, but it seems they are on different paths as of right now. Weeden seems to have a long way to go, especially when his teammates are so far behind as well. The Browns really struggled in all three phases of the game last night, having a punt blocked and registering no sacks, getting shredded by the Eagles’ backup QB duo of Foles and Trent Edwards.
We keep waiting for the Browns to pick up the pace and start to show signs of improvements, but those improvements might be subtle all season long, through what could be a tough year for Cleveland fans.