Philadelphia Eagles rookie quarterback Nick Foles outplayed Cleveland Browns rookie Brandon Weeden on Friday night, and it wasn’t all that close.
Weeden struggled against the Eagles
Weeden fumbled twice while completing just 9 of his 20 pass attempts. Weeden also did not appear to be on the same page as his No. 1 receiver, completing just one of fourpasses aimed at Greg Little. Both Weeden and Little were visibly frustrated on the field due to their miscommunications on two of the incompletions.
The issue with Weeden was handling Philadelphia’s pass rush, which brought consistent pressure and forced Weeden into multiple mistakes.
Foles, on the other hand, exceeded expectations and likely made Andy Reid feel very comfortable about his quarterback situation. Foles was expected to be Philly’s third string quarterback behind Mike Vick and Mike Kafka, but could now push Kafka for the backup job.
Against the Browns Foles looked poised under pressure, especially for a rookie, and completed 12 of 19 passes for 146 yards.
Cleveland Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson is expected to return to the practice field next week, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Richardson underwent arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this month, but the team is hopeful that he will be ready by opening weekend. In the meantime, Montario Hardesty has been handling the first-team duties, and has been backed up by veteran Brandon Jackson.
Cleveland Browns 4th-round pick Travis Benjamin has reportedly been getting some first-team reps in three-receivers sets.
Benjamin is vastly undersized (5’10”, 175 pounds) but may be the faster receiver on the Browns roster. So while he probably won’t be taking many balls away from Greg Little or Mohamed Massaquoi, he could be used as a deep threat (and as a decoy). The Browns were lacking any sort of downfield passing attack in 2011, so the addition of Benjamin could add a new dimension to the offense.
The Cleveland Browns have already settled on Brandon Weeden as their starter, but his preseason debut was less than impressive. Fortunately Game 2 went a little more smoothly. After the game Weededn stated “It was definitely an upgrade for me over last week. I just wanted to go out and get better, and I think I did that.”
While Weeden did improve, he still struggled under pressure. One play nearly lead to disaster for Weeden when the collapsing pocket forced him to fire a pass across the middle right into the arms of A.J. Hawk, who failed to corral the errant throw.
Overall, this was definitely a step in the right direction for Weeden, but by no means should Browns fans expect a Cam Newton or Andy Dalton like rookie season from their signal caller.
In 2010, the Cleveland Browns were briefly a dangerous team, upsetting the Saints and Patriots in consecutive weeks and taking the Jets into overtime. That was at the height of Peyton Hillis’ success in Cleveland, as he averaged over 130 total yards per game during that stretch.
The 2012 Browns offense should look similar to the 2010 version, with Trent Richardson playing the starring role.
Like Hillis, Richardson is a powerful downhill runner and can also contribute as a receiver out of the backfield. That combination should make him a workhorse from day one. He’ll be running behind an offensive line which features four returning starters, including Joe Thomas and Alex Mack, which should help ease his transition to the next level.
Considering the lack of playmakers in Cleveland, anything less than a 1,200 yard season would be a disappointment for Richardson.
Check out our full review of the Browns 2012 draft class.