Philadelphia Eagles Officially Facing Cleveland Browns Rookie QB Brandon Weeden in Week 1

By Bryn Swartz

The Philadelphia Eagles now know officially that they will be facing rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden when they face the Cleveland Browns in week 1 of the 2012 NFL season.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer, Browns head coach Pat Shurmur has named Weeden the starting quarterback heading into the 2012 season.

Weeden, who turns 29 years old in October, was the oldest first round draft pick in NFL history. He beat out Colt McCoy, the Browns’ starter for the previous two seasons, who had just a 6-15 record in two seasons and a 74.5 passer rating.

The highly anticipated training camp battle between Weeden and McCoy never happened, according to McCoy.

“I haven’t taken any snaps with first group,” McCoy told Cabot. “I thought coming in it would be a competition.”

There has been unconfirmed speculation that McCoy could be traded to another team before the start of the season. However, it’s very unlikely that he could be given a starting job. I had written that the Eagles should sign McCoy as their backup, but that isn’t going to happen and at this point, I am comfortable with third-year quarterback Mike Kafka as the backup to Michael Vick.

Weeden will become the third rookie quarterback to start in week one as he joins Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts and Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins. This is the first time since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 that three rookie quarterbacks will start in the first week of the season, according to ESPN’s NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill could become the fourth, as the first round draft pick is engaged in a highly competitive three-way battle with veterans David Garrard and Matt Moore for the role of starting quarterback. Garrard currently leads the battle.

For Weeden and the Browns, they will face the Eagles in week one, in a game that will likely not be a pleasant start to Weeden’s career. The Browns had one of the worst offenses in the league last season, although they did bolster their team tremendously in the offseason by adding stud rookie running back Trent Richardson with the fourth overall pick in the draft and wide receiver Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft.

But they’re still likely to be overmatched by the Eagles, who still finished with the league’s tenth ranked scoring defense last year despite a rookie defensive coordinator, Juan Castillo, who had not coached the defensive side of the ball in more than two decades.

The Eagles ranked first in the NFL in sacks this season, and defensive line coach Jim Washburn has already stated that the Eagles should fire him if the defensive line is not improved this season. With Pro Bowl defensive ends Trent Cole and Jason Babin, and quality defensive tackles in Cullen Jenkins, Fletcher Cox, and Derek Landri, expect Weeden to spend a lot of time on his back in week one.

The Eagles also added two-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans in an offseason trade with the Houston Texans, and they still have Pro Bowl cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

That will be a lot for the Browns weak wide receiving corps to deal with.

While Weeden definitely has the potential for a short but successful career in the NFL, don’t expect it to start on a bright note.

This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for the Philadelphia Eagles and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.

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