Brandon Weeden’s most vivid recollection of his NFL debut was an embarrassing sack.
And it came before the opening kickoff.
As he was warming up to face the Philadelphia Eagles a year ago, Cleveland’s then-rookie quarterback got trapped under a giant American flag being unfurled and carried onto the field.
“I kind of keep my eyes open for those kinds of things now,” Weeden said with a laugh, recalling the moment. “It started bad and I just didn’t play well.”
Weeden threw four interceptions, posted a meager 5.1 rating and had Browns fans mourning that the club ended up with the former minor league baseball player and not Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III as their QB. Despite Weeden’s poor performance, the Browns only lost 17-16 to an Eagles team that fell far short of expectations.
Weeden said much of his first pro game was a blur — literally.
“It was fast, I remember,” he said Tuesday as the Browns prepared for their season opener on Sunday against Miami. “That defense was fast. It didn’t go well, but as bad as we played, we still had a chance to win and obviously we weren’t able to do it.”
Weeden is hoping for a better result this week as the Browns begin yet another era, this one under first-year coach Rob Chudzinski.
Only a month from turning 30, Weeden looks and feels like a different player as he enters his second season. Last year was tough, but he thinks the experience made him tougher and therefore more prepared to handle anything — defensive fronts, blitzes or criticism — that comes his way this season.
“I think I’ve gotten better,” he said. “It comes with reps. It comes with experience and it comes with seeing things for several times because in that Philly game, it was so fast because it was my first time in the fire and you kind of get better each time you get reps and I’m excited. I’m excited about starting Year 2.”