Browns Analysis: First round picks Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson struggle in pro debuts

CLEVELAND - Before the game even began Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden found himself caught in trouble, stuck underneath the enormous American flag unfurled on the field while throwing the ball around during pregame.

It was a harbinger to what was ahead in the Browns' 17-16 loss to the Eagles.

In his pro debut, Weeden was trapped in a four-quarter nightmare, throwing four interceptions and completing just 12 of his 35 pass attempts for 118 yards.

"As an athlete, even though you wish they're gonna be all up, there are gonna be some downs," Weeden said.

The meager 5.1 quarterback rating Weeden finished with was on the wrong side of the spectrum.

Fellow first round rookie starter Trent Richardson also struggled to get going, totaling just 39 yards on 19 carries.

"As far as having that initial burst, I don't think it was at full stride. It's gonna get better. It's not going to take that long. Trust me," Richardson said.

The 5'9, 227-pound running back's longest run was nine yards but made a much bigger impact on Eagles safety Kurt Coleman, jarring his helmet off on contact.

"That's just how I play football," Richardson said.

It's the kind of smash-mouth style that will fit in well in the rock 'em, sock 'em AFC North. The next step for Richardson is more powerful runs like that and a taste of the end zone, something no one on the Browns offense got Sunday afternoon.

Linebacker D'Qwell Jackson was the only Brown to cross the pylon, celebrating with a flip after a pick-six that gave the Browns a 16-10 lead in the fourth quarter. All afternoon the Browns defense put the offense in good position, forcing five turnovers. But much like last season, the offense seemed allergic to the end zone, sending Phil Dawson out on drives starting just shy of midfield and at the Eagles' 43 and 22.
 
"Fortunately for me I've had games where I haven't played as well but I feel like I've given my team a chance to win but today I didn't feel like I really did that," Weeden said.

Missed receivers, overthrows and dropped passes plagued the stagnant offense. Playing the most scrutinized position on the field, Weeden's mistakes were magnified. Game one was one to forget but it's just the beginning for the 28-year-old.

"This one's in the past. It stings. It's gonna sting for a few days. But part of my makeup is I that I've got a short memory," Weeden said.

Forgetting is tough to do if you're a Browns fan. There are too many home opener losses in this new era to just shrug another one off, especially Sunday's heart-wrenching result.

The Browns start out 0-1 for the 13th time in 14 years but their rookies are one up in the NFL experience column. That can't hurt going forward.

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