Cleveland Browns: Cody Kessler and the debuts of rookie QBs
By Thomas Moore
Brandon Weeden: Sept. 9, 2012, vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Brandon Weeden gave Browns fans a taste of what was to come on opening day of 2012 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
More from Dawg Pound Daily
- 3 Cleveland Browns players who don’t deserve another season in 2023
- How the Browns could maximize Nick Chubb in 2023
- Can Deshaun Watson get to Patrick Mahomes level for Cleveland Browns?
- 3 Cleveland Browns who should see an expanded role in 2023 and 1 who should not
- Is Marcus Davenport on the Browns radar in 2023?
Weeden threw four interceptions, led the Browns offense to just over 200 total yards and finished the game with a passer rating of 5.1 as Cleveland dropped another home opener.
The Browns could have pulled the game out, however, if linebacker L.J. Fort held onto a game-winning interception late in the fourth quarter, or if the defense had not given up more than 450 yards to the Eagles.
Cleveland had one final chance to win the game, but Weeden’s final interception killed the team’s final drive. Weeden finished the game completing just 12 of his 35 pass attempts for 118 yards in addition to the four interceptions.
Little did fans know it that day, but Weeden’s poor performance had set the Browns on a path that would lead them to making the biggest draft mistake in franchise history.
Johnny Manziel: Dec. 14, 2014, vs. Cincinnati Bengals
As bad as Spergon Wynn, Brandon Weeden and some of the other quarterbacks have been in their debuts over the years, nothing will ever top the disaster that was Johnny Manziel.
With a once-promising 2014 season unraveling and facing pressure from the front office, then-head coach Mike Pettine made the mistake of turning the team over to Manziel for a home game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
In a 30-0 loss to the Bengals that was worse than the score indicated:
Manziel finished the game just 10-of-18 for 80 yards (32 of which came on one pass and run to Josh Gordon), with two interceptions and three sacks.
The Browns were just one-of-10 on third down, only had five first downs all game – two of them came on penalties – and amassed 107 yards of total offense.
The shutout was the first time the Browns did not score since Nov. 16, 2009 against Baltimore.
The game was a preview of Manziel as an NFL quarterback – unprepared, a never-ending string of three-and-outs, an inability to put points on the board – if the Browns had simply released Manziel after the game it would have the greatest move by then-general manager Ray Farmer.
Next: Cody Kessler facing impossible task
So what does that mean for Kessler?
“I know my time with him here, but I have never had to coach him in a game. This will be the first opportunity for him, but I am not going to stress about it that way if we know we prepare right,” head coach Hue Jackson said this week. “That just gives him the opportunity to play well. That does not mean he will play well. It means it gives him the opportunity to play well. His teammates and what we try to do with him will be the deciding factors in how well he plays.
“I feel good about what we are doing. We just have to keep stringing those days together and then let’s go to Miami and see what we can get done.”