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Cleveland Browns OTAs: 5 Reasons Brandon Weeden Will Start on Opening Day

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Cleveland Browns OTAs: 5 Reasons Brandon Weeden Will Start on Opening Day
Jason Miller/Getty Images

"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."—Mark Twain

Brandon Weeden should take the first snap of the 2012 season for the Cleveland Browns. Not exclusively based on his age, Colt McCoy's ineptitude or the fact that the Browns invested a first round draft pick in the 28-year-old former minor league baseball player, but perhaps because of a combination of those factors.

With an offense featuring some interesting upgrades at several key positions, understanding what exactly they have in Brandon Weeden is imperative to Cleveland over the 2012 season. Perhaps more important even than short-term success is finding out whether or not Weeden can take this team to the playoffs.

Can Weeden tag the Steelers on a snowy night at Heinz Field? Will Brandon Weeden lace a strike past Ed Reed to a streaking Travis Benjamin or Greg Little? Time will tell, but the Browns have shown every faith they believe Weeden to be just that kind of player.

So what are the expectations for Weeden? Frankly, they're astronomical. Browns fans have suffered under the reign of plug-and-play gunslingers like Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton/Carson Palmer for a decade.

What will skew our perspective is the reality that those teams already featured staunch defenses and strong running games before acquiring those household names.

So, what should we expect from Weeden at minimum?

One, that he put up big league numbers; the days of developing a quarterback over multiple seasons clearly have taken a backseat to instant success.

Two, that Weeden win games in volume. If Weeden loses, he'd better put up Cam Newton-like passing numbers to avoid criticism. If the Browns even sniff .500, he can throw for 100 yards a game and last the season. Six wins should suffice, but seven would create a veritable buzz next offseason.

Three, Weeden must beat the twin bête noirs that are the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens. Slay one of those dragons and win five more games, earn a free pass to season two of player development.

So why should the Browns get the ball rolling now and scrap the "competition," song and dance?

You can follow me on Twitter @StepanekButton

 

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