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Brandon Weeden faces seven-game trial with Browns

Brad Childress, the Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator partly responsible for Brandon Weeden's development, says his rookie quarterback will be judged over the final seven games of the season.

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Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer reported Thursday that Childress wants "to see (Weeden) grow" between now and the final whistle, saying it will take that long to say with any certainty if the Browns have found their man.

That parrots a message issued by new Browns CEO Joe Banner, who recently told Cabot the organization must decide if Weeden is a centerpiece, or -- in our words -- just the latest Cleveland arm to fade into the abyss.

Childress doesn't have the final say in the matter, of course. That will come down to Banner, new owner Jimmy Haslam III and whoever remains in charge of the Browns in 2013.

The ownership change is a positive development in Cleveland, but maybe not for Weeden. Fellow rookie quarterbacks Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill and Russell Wilson are being nurtured in environments that aren't calling their job security into question. The Browns eternally are re-creating themselves, and the young roster might be blown up once again if a new coaching staff hits town.

Weeden isn't Luck and he isn't RG3, but he has shown enough growth in nine games to suggest the Browns have a player worth investigating beyond this season. He has been saddled with a raw group of receivers that leads the NFL in drops and doesn't offer anything resembling a true No. 1 pass-catcher. The rest of the Browns' offense is untested, embarked on a decade-plus quest for its own identity. There is reason for hope in how this attack has grown from last year to this one -- and Weeden's gun-slinging mentality is tied to that.

Banner would tell you the point of change in Cleveland is to populate the organization with smart football minds who refuse to rest until the Browns are lifted out of their current bed of misfortune. Banner's not the first to wheel into town with that message, but he appears more organized and driven than the hobby horses who came before.

Haslam's involved ownership is a boost, and transition is assured, but hopefully not at the expense of shipping young talent -- and a developing quarterback like Weeden -- out the door.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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