Brandon Weeden | Quarterback, Oklahoma State | Height/Weight: 6-4/220
Drafted: First round, No. 22 overall, 2012 NFL Draft by Cleveland
Games Studied: 2013 Miami, Baltimore, Green Bay, Jacksonville.
As a scout you always try and go into a situation with an open mind when you are studying a player — regardless of what people tell you about his body of work — and come to your own conclusions about his fit on your roster.
When Brandon Weeden was released by the Browns, I knew there was a chance a team might take this opportunity to bring him in for a low risk, low money deal and get an idea why he failed. Scouts are always curious about what happens to these high draft picks, especially at quarterback, when they don’t make it initially
For Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones, Weeden sat on the Cowboys draft board near the bottom of the second round, so I understand their curiosity. Though you might not have seen the talent with the Browns, here is an opportunity for a free look. There is no pressure for Weeden to have to start or even be the backup as he comes into camp. He is not young in his age, but he is young in his football experience — two years as a starter at Oklahoma State and two more with the Browns.
There is a possibility that he could develop some of those traits that you believed he could be a bridge as the backup, or, like I have seen plenty of times in my career, he could be a trade possibility if a club needs a quarterback in the preseason.
In the games I was able to study with Weeden, I was surprised how up and down that he played. When he could take the snap and throw the ball without having to read the defense, he was a much better quarterback. There were times where Norv Turner had him do just that. Whether it was the slant or quick out, if he didn’t have to think much about it, there was no problem. It was when the ball didn’t leave his hand on time when he struggled the most, and this is where, mechanically, he would break down.
As a defense, if you make him hold the ball, you have a chance to get him on the ground because he is not the most mobile player. But there was one common theme in the tape that I observed: the Browns were terrible at guard with Shawn Lauvao and John Greco. The majority of the pressure Weeden faced came from the inside over those two players, and anyone that knows football knows the best way to cause a quarterback problems is to attack him in the middle of the pocket.
There were plays where Lauvao completely whiffed on the block and Weeden was down before he hit his fifth step. Against the Packers, Greco was driven so far into the backfield Weeden had no place to even plant his front foot to make the throw. I am not putting all the blame on these guards, because Weeden tends to be slow footed, but if you are getting sacked 27 times in eight games, there are issues that need to be addressed.
To Weeden’s credit, he was more than willing to stand in middle of that pocket and deliver the ball with everything breaking down around him. But he also made some throws where you have to cover your eyes — again, it’s the clock in his head. The longer than ball is in his hand, the more likely he is going to panic and try to horse the ball into a crowd of defenders instead of taking the check down and fighting another day.
He was all over the place against the Packers in poor weather conditions and missed several open receivers. When he gets in a situation where things become tough, you can see him start to aim the ball instead of making a good confident throw. He really struggles with his decision-making as things begin to fall apart. When he can play pitch and catch, he looks very comfortable, but in the Green Bay game, he was far from comfortable. He was late on his reads and it hurt several of his throws. He missed an open “curl” and was way too high on an “out”.
Not all his throws are poorly thrown. There are times again, when he can catch the ball and get rid of it like he did at Oklahoma State — with some accuracy. The second snap of the game against the Ravens, he slides to his right and delivers a strike to Jordan Cameron for a 53-yard gain. There was a crossing route to Greg Little that was on the money, that allowed a run after the catch. He even showed some touch on a red zone fade for a touchdown against Jacksonville, with Josh Gordon out of the slot.
You have heard me say this plenty of times about the job of a scout in this league — it is about trying to find players. At one time, Brandon Weeden, whether it was right or wrong, was a highly though-of player by this organization. This league is filled with players that started on one team, then landed on another to have outstanding careers.
I remember my time in Green Bay where we had Brett Favre, Mark Brunell, Ty Detmer and a quarterback named Kurt Warner on the roster for camp. In that 1993 season, Favre, Brunell and Detmer were all on the roster and we let go of Warner, who made his way to Arena Ball, then later a Hall of Fame career. I am not saying Brandon Weeden is going to have a Hall of Fame career like Warner. But like the St. Louis Rams did, it never hurts to give a player a look.
Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Professional Scout
RELATED: More film review on Brandon Weeden
The Dallas Cowboys signed quarterback Brandon Weeden on Monday, a man in need of a fresh start. After playing minor league baseball, Weeden came out of Oklahoma State a lot older than most draft picks playing at his position and he’s now 30 entering his third NFL season.
We’ve reviewed five NFL starts of Weeden, three his rookie season and two during his final season with the Cleveland Browns.
Here are some observations:
1. First NFL start is against the Philadelphia Eagles at home and you can tell the Browns have a plan for Weeden under first-year coach Pat Shurmur. The Browns have asked Weeden to throw slants on three-step drops, use play-action passes and utilize rookie running back Trent Richardson. The Eagles shut Richardson down in this game, forcing Weeden to do more than he’s capable of given his inexperience at the NFL level. It’s a close game with nine turnovers, but a game the Eagles win, 17-16.
2. Weeden gets knocked down a lot his rookie season and that’s surprising with Joe Thomas at left tackle and highly regarded Alex Mack at center. With so much pressure in the pocket, Weeden gets several passes tipped at the line of scrimmage his rookie season. Some of it has to do with the offensive line’s failure to give him a clean pocket, and he doesn’t move around the pocket or fix his arm angles when defenders are in his face. The first interception of Weeden’s career is the result of a tipped pass when receiver Greg Little can’t hold a pass. At one point during the season, the Browns had 15 tipped passes from the line of scrimmage.
3. Weeden displayed improvement from Week 1 to Week 2. He was picked off twice in the Week 1 game against the Eagles, both by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on deep balls thrown short of the receiver. Weeden needed to throw these passes with more air under them to allow the receiver to make a play. In the next game, against Cincinnati, Weeden was incomplete on a deep ball to Mohamed Massaquoi, but instead of the ball getting tipped by the defender because it was short, the pass was on the outside shoulder of the receiver, giving him a chance.
4. One of the problems for Weeden during his rookie season was the number of dropped passes his team endured. During a Week 6 game against the Bengals, fullback Owen Marecic dropped two passes in the flat. The Browns, in Weeden’s rookie season, employed 15 rookies, second-most in the league, which led to overall inconsistency. The Browns were 0-5 to start the season, and there were 13 dropped passes by their receivers.
5. The first touchdown pass of Weeden’s career was the result of Richardson eluding four defenders into the end zone. The first touchdown pass to a receiver came on a nice throw to a wide open Little as Weeden stepped up in the pocket with confidence.
6. In season openers, Weeden has thrown seven interceptions, with some coming on tipped passes. In Weeden’s second season opener, tight end Jordan Cameron failed to snag a pass on a throw behind him that led to an interception by Miami’s Dimitri Patterson.
7. In the loss to the Dolphins, in Season 2, Weeden does a nice job finding Cameron on on a corner route into the end zone as cornerback Brent Grimes closes in to help on the coverage. Weeden does have a strong arm, but makes too many high throws and has to learn to put some touch on his passes.
8. With Shurmur out as coach, Weeden worked with Rob Chudzinski as the head coach in Year 2. Norv Turner was the offensive play-caller and used the timing-based offense the Cowboys use, where tight ends and the vertical passing game are emphasized. Turner doesn’t have Michael Irvin and Alvin Harper. So, he makes do with Devone Bess and Josh Cribbs, Little and Massaquoi.
9. Weeden continued to make bad throws, but as the 2013 season progressed he seemed more confident. But a thumb injury caused him to miss several games, and with the Browns’ season going nowhere there was hope the Browns had put some pieces together for Weeden. It wasn’t the case. Not even close.
10. Weeden’s brief time with the Browns was summed up last season by a poor sequence of events against Jacksonville in Week 12. Weeden was intercepted by rookie safety Jonathan Cyprien on a throw behind Cameron. The turnover resulted in the Jags tying the game at 14. On the next possession, Weeden was picked off by another rookie, Dwayne Gratz. Weeden’s throw to Little was bad because the receiver wasn’t open. The turnover led to the Jags taking the lead and eventually winning the game.
Weeden can benefit by playing with veteran tight end Jason Witten and receiver Dez Bryant. He won’t be on the field much with the first-team, but he can learn by watching how Tony Romo does things.
Courtesy: Calvin Watkins | Writer | ESPN Dallas