First, the good: Following a three-and-out by the Lions on their opening drive, Weeden took over on the Browns' 28-yard line and threw a 12-yard bullet to Mohamed Massaquoi on first down. This was an uncommon sight last season in Cleveland. Weeden's second completion, two plays later, was a rope down the sideline to rookie wideout Travis Benjamin for 34 yards. That essentially never happened last season. Weeden displayed patience and vision on those two throws.
Then came Weeden's first professional gaffe. On a third-and-15 play in Lions territory, the 28-year-old rookie fell victim to Detroit's pass rush, losing the ball on a strip-sack and fumble recovery by defensive end Willie Young. Two drives later, Weeden's pass to receiver Greg Little was intercepted by Lions cornerback Bill Bentley. With his second turnover of the night, Weeden was done. He finished 3-for-9 passing and 62 yards with the pick.
The challenge in naming Weeden the starter before the preseason comes down to playing time. Weeden needs plenty of it, but the Browns aren't about to risk injury to the man they've tabbed their franchise passer.
In Weeden's brief introduction to the NFL, we saw a handful of rookie mistakes, along with a dash of the poise and arm strength that enticed the Browns' brass in the first place.