Ideally, the learning curve of an aspiring NFL quarterback should have at least a two-year life expectancy.
For many franchises that is the case. Give the new guy a chance to learn the offense, adapt to the speed of the game and develop chemistry with his receivers.
It all sounds so simple, assuming the right quarterback is in place. In two or three years you open the bow on a player that hopefully will lead the way to playoff appearances and maybe a Super Bowl.
That's not the way things are done in Cleveland, where dysfunction is a way of life. From impatient owners and general managers, to coaches that need to win now, to fans that are tired of losing, there isn't a patient soul to be found in northeast Ohio.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden is discovering that bit of information 10 games into his rookie season. Talk shows are full of fans that have proclaimed Weeden the next big bust and have already started to plot draft strategy to bring in the next Guinea pig.
That type of thinking will never produce a winner. You have to let the recipe cook awhile before shoving it down the disposal and starting over again.
Weeden has been inconsistent, but he hasn't been a disaster. Critics that say he reminds them of Derek Anderson obviously didn't watch training-camp practices during Anderson's time in Cleveland. He not only threw to the blond in the front row, he threw it to the red head and the brunette.
Since a disastrous four-interception debut against the Philadelphia Eagles, Weeden has posted a respectable 78 passer rating. He's thrown 11 touchdown pass and has been intercepted eight times since the opener.
Not great, but not all that bad for a rookie. Remember, although he's 29, he is a rookie and is playing the toughest position on the field.
The concern among the rookies should be directed more towards running back Trent Richardson, who has 670 yards and five touchdowns on 180 carries. Richardson was described as a special player coming out of the University of Alabama. Comparisons were made to Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
The Browns were obviously convinced. General manager Tom Heckert traded up one spot (from four to three) so that another team wouldn't beat him in the race to land Richardson's services.
So far I haven't seen signs of greatness. He doesn't look quick in attacking holes, and he has a tendency to stop and try to spin out of trouble. Anyone that's seen Tampa Bay rookie Doug Martin this season might be inclined to say that he's the best rookie running back in the NFL. Martin has rushed for 1,000 yards on 197 carries for an average of 5.1 yards per carry (Richardson is at 3.7).
Montario Hardesty has clearly been quicker through the hole than Richardson in his limited opportunities. Not that Hardesty should play ahead of Richardson, but he deserves a few more chances.
In ranking the Browns' large class of 17 rookies, it would be difficult to keep offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz off the top. Schwartz has had a few expected whiffs, but for the most part he's been as steady as five-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas.
Although he has just 24 receptions, receiver Josh Gordon has a team-best 470 yards and four touchdowns. He's shown that he could be an elite, big-play receiver and might be the second best rookie on the roster.
Weeden would be third on the list, followed by Richardson, yet you don't hear anyone saying Richardson isn't the guy and that a running back should be drafted next year. The reason is that he probably is the guy. He just needs more time to shake off the injuries that might be hindering him and to simply to be allowed to be a rookie.
Weeden isn't afforded the same luxury because of the position he plays. That thinking has to change.