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Brandon Weeden needs patience of Cleveland Browns

In terms of NFL beginnings, Brandon Weeden's first showing at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns was statistically significant. Not in a good way.

According to league research, Weeden's 5.1 passer rating in Sunday's 17-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles was the lowest mark for a rookie debut since at least 1960.


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How does one generate a 5.1 rating? It's not easy, but 12 completions in 35 attempts for 118 yards with four interceptions will get you there.

"I take a lot of pride in playing better than that," Weeden told Bud Shaw of The Plain Dealer. "... The outcome wasn't what I wanted, but I wasn't overwhelmed."

He looked it. In a game that saw the 28-year-old rookie swept below an unfurling American flag the size of Utah during the national anthem -- Weeden was lost below the red, white and blue cloth for what seemed like an hour -- he never seemed to find himself.

So what's next? With the Cincinnati Bengals on tap, there's already peanut-gallery rumblings of Colt McCoy being re-inserted into the starting role. If that happens, if Weeden doesn't finish the season, it would mark the 13th time in 14 seasons the Browns' opening day starter didn't play through the campaign -- and that's really been the problem in Cleveland all along.

A rookie passer struggling isn't a novel idea. Sticking with one through the rough-and-tumble early days -- that's a rarity in today's NFL. These quarterbacks are rushed, ruined and thrown onto the scrap heap. The Browns shouldn't panic. Neither should Weeden. This team has nothing to lose and, besides, it can't get any worse than Sunday.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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