DraftBrowns.com Editor: Brendan Leister
After being the 22nd overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Brandon Weeden had an up and down season as the Browns’ starting quarterback.
As with most rookie quarterbacks, Brandon Weeden had his fair share of struggles during the 2012 season. He started off the season with a historically poor performance against the Philadelphia Eagles, in which he threw 4 interceptions and only completed 12 of 35 pass attempts. Weeden consistently missed throws all game long and didn’t look comfortable in the pocket by any means. It was certainly a “Welcome to the NFL” type of game for the rookie signal caller. The Browns lost the game 17-16.
Weeden never had another game as poor as that opening day performance, but he still only managed to put together an “uneven” rookie season at best. He showed flashes of potential with his ball placement and velocity on short to intermediate throws throughout. At times, he even used his eyes to move defenders and create throwing windows, which is something that you wouldn’t normally expect a rookie quarterback to do. When Weeden had defined, simplified reads, he was much more productive than when he had to stand in the pocket and work through his progressions. A major issue for Weeden all season long was his tendency to hold onto the ball too long and staring down wide receivers instead of trusting his reads. In the NFL, receivers rarely run wide open. Receivers may only be open for an instant on most plays and it’s the quarterback’s job to anticipate when that time will come and make an optimal throw. Weeden really struggled with getting passes batted down at the line of scrimmage (21 to lead all quarterbacks). Having that many passes batted down is a combination of Weeden not having a great feel for finding and throwing through passing lanes along with the offensive line protecting him so well that the defensive linemen would simply sit back and put their hands up in hopes of batting down passes.
When describing Brandon Weeden’s approach to playing the quarterback position, I feel that it would be accurate to call him a gunslinger most of the time. The issue is that he doesn’t always stay true to himself. During some games, Weeden would try to fit passes into small windows and take chances down the field. He would even ignore receivers being open underneath at times and take chances down the field instead (which is okay sometimes). In other games, Weeden would not even give plays time to develop. He would take a quick glance at the coverage before simply dumping it off to fellow rookie Trent Richardson on the check down. Taking the check down is not a bad thing, but taking the check down without giving the play to develop is certainly a bad thing. These inconsistencies with Weeden’s game are alarming to say the least.
All in all, I think Brandon Weeden showed some promise during his rookie season. The biggest issue is that he didn’t really progress. He regressed at times and was mostly just inconsistent.
It’ll be very interesting to see who is chosen to be the Browns’ next head coach because this decision could potentially decide Weeden’s future with the team. Honestly, who knows? Maybe Browns’ owner Jimmy Haslam III and CEO Joe Banner have already decided Weeden isn’t the answer.
Regardless of what happens, if Brandon Weeden can develop into a much more consistent quarterback in all facets of his game, he will undoubtedly prove to be a solid starting quarterback.