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With the 22nd pick in the NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns drafted Oklahoma State quarterback, Brandon Weeden. Weeden, the oldest rookie in this years draft at 28 years old, was named the starting quarterback in their first preseason matchup against the Detroit Lions.
Weeden completed 3-of-9 passes for 62 yards, threw one interception, and fumbled in his NFL debut. Weeden was left short handed after wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi left the game with a concussion. In addition, the Browns were without their rookie running back, Trent Richardson, who underwent knee surgery earlier in the week.
Although Weeden struggled, he still helped his team earn a 19-17 victory over the Detroit Lions. It was definitely not the start Weeden or the Browns wanted to witness, especially with the play of back-up quarterback, Colt McCoy. McCoy completed 6-of-8 passes for 88 yards and also had one rush for 20 yards. The only way McCoy could rise and become the starting quarterback come week one of the regular season is if he continues to outplay Weeden, and Weedon continues to struggle.
The Detroit Lions are coming off their best year, finishing with a winning record for the first time since the 2000 NFL season. In addition, the 10-6 Lions made the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 NFL season. A large part of their success came from the potent offensive duo of quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
Stafford threw for a career high 5,038 yards, 3rd best in the NFL behind Drew Brees and Tom Brady. Stafford threw 41 touchdowns, also 3rd best in the league last season. As for his number one receiver, Johnson led all wide receivers with 1,681 yards and was 2nd in the league with 16 touchdowns.
Stafford and Johnson connected twice against the Browns Friday night for 36 yards. Detroit running backs Joique Bell and Keiland Williams both played great games. Bell carried the ball 16 times for 89 yards. Williams carried the ball 9 times for 71 yards and one touchdown. Both running backs are fighting to earn a third-string position on the depth chart.
Sadly enough, this past offseason may have brought more attention to the Lions than last years’ successful season. Last year’s first round pick, Nick Fairley, was arrested twice, and running back Mikel Leshoure was arrested twice and suspended for 2 games in the upcoming season. Cornerback Aaron Berry was also arrested twice. Offensive tackle Johnny Culbreath was arrested, while wideout Titus Young and safety Louis Delmas were involved in an altercation during team workouts.
Ndamukong Suh was pulled over for speeding going 91 mph in a 55 mph speed zone. As a result of their trouble off the field, Aaron Berry was cut and Johnny Culbreath was waived. Nick Fairley could possibly be the next suspended player. (Why would he be the next suspended player? – Please add some more details to this.)
The Lions must overcome their reckless offseason and become more disciplined in order to continue to take strides in the right direction. Detroit will be back in action Friday, August 17 against the Baltimore Ravens. As for the Browns, Weeden will have another shot to prove himself NFL ready against a weak Green Bay Packers secondary on Thursday, August 16.
Image Courtesy of The Official Cleveland Browns