Brandon Weeden had a fantastic preseason. So much so that we wrote last month that the Browns' second-year quarterback "looks like a completely different player under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner."
There's a reason preseason game are often referred to as meaningless: Through two games, Weeden was 18 of 25 for 229 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. In the regular-season opener against the Dolphins Sunday, the new Browns' offense looked a lot like the old one. Weeden completed 26 of 53 passes for 289 yards, a touchdown and 3 interceptions.
To put that in perspective, Weeden's 48.4 passer rating was second-worst in Week 1 behind Blaine Gabbert. But despite the poor showing, first-year coach Rob Chudzinski is sticking with his 29-year-old quarterback.
“I don't look at it as a leash,'' the coach said, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "These guys are developing players and they're learning how to play in this system and I expect us to keep getting better and improving.''
That "us" refers to the entire offense, which played a part in Weeden's struggles.
"The protection issues were there and that's something you have to contend with,'' Chudzinski said. "I thought Brandon had some ups and downs. I know there are some throws and some reads he'd like to have back. I think the one thing you saw yesterday, you saw his resiliency and toughness. If anybody had questions about that prior to this game, you look at the game and he's pretty tough and kept bouncing back.''
Weeden took six sacks -- and a beating -- against the Dolphins, and things won't get any easier this Sunday when the Browns face the Ravens. Weeden's seven months removed from a rookie campaign that included completing 57.4 percent of his passes for 3,385 yards, 14 TDs and 17 INTs. As a rookie, he never looked comfortable in Pat Shurmur's offense, and while the preseason offered some hope, Weeden still has a long way to go to get the Browns out of the AFC North cellar.
Silver lining: Thanks to the division's 0-4 start, Cleveland heads into Week 2 tied for first place. So there's that.