Brandon Weeden is not your typical fourth-year quarterback. While most guys taken in the first round of the same 2012 draft Weeden was in are hitting their prime, the former Cleveland Brown and Dallas Cowboy is closing in on the twilight of his career.
The reason for that is because Weeden spent 2002-2006 playing professional baseball as he tried to become a Major League pitcher. After he moved around a few rosters, he enrolled at Oklahoma State in 2007 and by 2012 he was the 22nd overall selection of the Browns, at 28-years of age.
Weeden already was at a handicap as he didn’t have much time to learn in the NFL due to his age. If he was ever going to be a solid starter, it had to happen right away. The problem though, he was on the Cleveland Browns.
Let’s be honest, most quarterbacks struggle to perform well there. Look at the difference one year made for Texans starter Brian Hoyer.
Since coming to Houston from Cleveland his passing percentage has increased from 55.3 percent to 59.5 percent. He has more touchdown passes, 13, in only seven games (five starts and 237 pass attempts) than he did all of 2014 for Cleveland, 12 (14 games and 13 starts with 438 passing attempts). He is also throwing less interceptions as he has just four a little over half way through the season and he threw 13 in Cleveland.
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Obviously after a season and a half in Dallas, the transition from Cleveland straight to Houston won’t apply, but Weeden didn’t exactly get a great shake there this season either. After Tony Romo went down to injury, the team counted on Weeden to take over without the team’s top offensive weapon, receiver Dez Bryant. He also was working with a running back in Joseph Randle, who has since been cut.
The game plan he was given was also ridiculous. Randle would run twice and with the defense knowing what was coming get stuffed. Then the quarterback was asked to convert on third-and longs constantly. Also after having it pounded into his head not to take chances with the ball, he was then benched for…not taking chances with the ball.
Even with the lack of help and the awful play calling, Weeden had some moments. A fourth down touchdown pass to Terrance Williams tied things up against the New Orleans Saints in his second start and sent the game to overtime. The defense never let him see the ball again as the first possession in overtime saw running back C.J. Spiller go 80-yards on a pass to win the game for the Saints.
Weeden also looked impressive in his first action of the season when Dallas beat Philadelphia on the road. In that game he entered when Romo broke his collarbone and was 7-of-7 passing for 73 yards and a score.
The fact is Weeden is not young enough to be a potential starter in the NFL, but he has shown some ability in relieving starters, just like T.J. Yates did on Monday Night Football when Hoyer had a concussion. So maybe Weeden has found a home here in Houston.
A strong armed quarterback that has shown the ability to step in if a starter goes down is a nice thing to have. Plus with head coach Bill O’Brien’s track record of getting the most of quarterbacks, he may finally see his potential realized. There is a chance Weeden may have a good future in Houston, even if it is never as a starter.