Brandon Weeden hasn’t won an NFL game since week 14 of the 2012 NFL season. In fact, he has only won 4 games as a starter, EVER. If this was Tony Romo there would be a media frenzy. All we would hear is what a choker he is. Why do they continue to make excuses for Weeden?
Brandon Weeden is 0-3 in games he started as a Cowboy. Even Jerry Jones (his biggest fan) is suddenly changing his tune. In an interview with 105.3 The Fan following the week two match-up with the Philadelphia Eagles, Jerry Jones opened his mouth and inserted his foot once again.
â€œThis quarterback Weeden can drive the ball down field,â€ Jones said. â€œHeâ€™s a thing of beauty on throwing a football. His passing motion and his arm, frankly, you wonâ€™t see a more gifted passer, power, accuracy, the entire aspect of it. If he can basically prepare, be the starting quarterback, come in and execute and keep his head right, then I feel good about Weeden.â€
Following a loss to the 0-3 Saints Sunday night; a loss the pundits want to blame on the offensive line this time, Jerry sang a different song.
â€œI thought he did real good,â€ owner Jerry Jones said. â€œHe did good all night long. He took his initial look and threw it. He does some real good things, though itâ€™s not quite apples and oranges when the guy on the other side of the deal is Brees and youâ€™re dealing with a guy who is as limited as Weeden. We got in it even running out of time, or short-handed. In 2-minute or what have you, then these quarterbacks like Brees make a difference.â€
Brandon Weeden’s description went from “frankly, you wonâ€™t see a more gifted passer, power, accuracy, the entire aspect of it, to “youâ€™re dealing with a guy who is as limited as Weeden.” “He took his initial look and threw it” says it all.
We have been saying all along that Brandon Weeden lacks the mental part of the game. He can’t get through his progressions fast enough and usually goes off of his first pre-snap read and that is why he had more career interceptions than touchdowns. We said that he has poor diagnostic skills and pocket awareness. We said he lacks touch and overall accuracy.
I have said many times that stats don’t always tell the story. Any QB can stand in the pocket, throw a bunch of check down type high percentage passes that are 5 yards or less and boast a high completion percentage and passer rating. The thing that separates good quarterbacks from Brandon Weeden is the ability to make all five reads after the snap. That just hasn’t been the case.
Cole Beasley has always boasted the teams highest completion percentage. Despite his excellent route running ability, the coaches continue to limit him to short underneath routes. This has helped Brandon Weeden’s stats as well. Beasley has been targeted 10 times in the two games Brandon Weeden has started and caught all 10 passes. Lance Dunbar was targeted 10 times vs Atlanta and caught all 10. He didn’t get a single target vs the Saints.
In the absence of Dez Bryant, Jason Witten is supposed to be that guy. He is a 13 year veteran and knows how to use his size, diagnostic skills and excellent route running ability to find the soft spots and get open. This is where you start getting in to the intermediate routes and the drop off in accuracy starts to show up. Witten has been targeted 14 times and has 10 catches. Again, the stats don’t tell the story. Witten would be 14 for 14, but Weeden completely missed him. There were several times vs the Saints that he was wide open and Weeden didn’t see him. In the game vs the Falcons, Witten was wide open in the endzone and Weeden checked down to Lance Dunbar.
Prior to the game vs the Saints, Terrance Williams had only been targeted twice by Brandon Weeden. In the Saints game he was targeted 10 times, but only had 3 catches. One of which was an amazing TD grab on an errant throw that he had to pull out of the turf. The defender (Byrd), was out of position and it was a simple pitch and catch, but Weeden over threw him and he had to make a diving catch. The stats begin to tell the storyÂ here becauseÂ Weeden’s accuracy shows up on the deeper routes. Despite Williams being open, he just couldn’t connect with him. Do you see why Jerry is singing a different song now?
Pretty much all of Brandon Weeden’s incompletions were on the intermediate and deep routes. The other thing we have been preaching is that Brandon Weeden lacks awareness and mental toughness. This continues to be on display. Last week vs the Falcons with less than two minutes on the clock, rather than throw the ball away, try to tun for the first down or get out of bounds, he slid behind the line of scrimmage: thus burning valuable time off the clock. Last night vs the Saints, he took two totally unnecessary sacks. The first time he broke the cardinal rule and ran backwards. It isn’t rocket science for a QB to understand that football is a game of inches. If the pocket starts to break down you either run out of it, throw the ball away, or just fall on it. You NEVER run backwards. The other time, he had a nice pocket and instead of just standing there and making the throw, he decided to step up, ran in to his own guard, and pretty much sacked himself.
The Cowboys have left too many plays and points on the field. On the opening drive Sunday night, Terrance Williams was wide open in the endzone and Weeden over threw him. The Cowboys had to settle for a a field goal.Â Â On third down, Cole Beasley was wide open on the left side of the field, Weeden tried to force it to Jason Witten and it was incomplete. On another 3rd down play, Brandon Weeden had a nice pocket, Joseph Randle was wide open for a first down and for reasons unknown, Brandon Weeden booted right, threw an errant pass and stalled another drive. This is just a few examples of a multitude of mental mistakes.
Despite being banged up, the Cowboys’ defense held Drew Brees to only 13 points after 3 quarters of football. Once again, Brandon Weeden couldn’t sustain drives and entering the fourth quarter, they were tired. Considering the injuries the defense has stepped up and done their job. They need some help from the offense.
I see other analysts trying to blame the offensive line for this loss and that just isn’t the case. Brandon Weeden had a clean pocket most of the night and couldn’t get it done. As far as the running game goes? This is the same offensive line. The difference this year is: The current RBs don’t have the patience and vision DeMarco Murray did. They don’t wait for their blockers and when the hole isn’t there, they don’t have the vision to see the cutback lanes and make something out of nothing like Murray did on a regular basis. You see them run right to where the play was called whether a hole opened up or not. Patience and vision are what separates good RBs from the average ones.
It amazes me how everyone wants to make excuses for Brandon Weeden. Tony Romo never had an offensive line as good as what Weeden has this year prior to last season. Tony Romo spent most of his career with a sub par defense. I am not saying Brandon Weeden is expected to be Tony Romo, but at the same time, he effects the play of the offense and the defense.
The QB not being able to read the defenses and change the play at the line to attack it can make the OL look bad. Not being able to sustain drives despite having a clean pocket to work from, prevents the defense from getting a much needed rest and they fall apart in the 4th quarter.
Tony Romo managed to become second all time in career passer rating while running for his life with no running game to speak of. The old saying is: “if you give any NFL level QB time in the pocket they will pick you apart”, but with Brandon Weeden it will never happen because he doesn’t have the mental capacity, diagnostic skills, poise, or accuracy to do so. Let’s not make excuses for him that Tony Romo never got. The guy is 4-19 as a starter in this league for a reason.The Cowboys have absolutely nothing to lose at this point by giving Kellen Moore a chance. I strongly advise them to do so. The only thing he has ever done in his life is win.