After his first preseason outing with the Dallas Cowboys, back-up quarterback seemed to impress enough to ease most of the fears about the former first round bust out of Cleveland. But one writer over at the NFL.com wasn’t as quick to forgive. In a ranking of all the current 32 back-up quarterbacks in the NFL, Around the League writer Chris Wesseling gave Weeden a low ranking of 23rd. Here’s his explanation of that choice from his latest article.
“Weeden fared well in his preseason debut with the Cowboys, which is hardly a surprise after tossing up passer ratings of 127.7 and 137.8 in his first two preseason games under Norv Turner and Rob Chudzinski last August. Once the games count in the standings, he holds the ball too long, doesn’t move well in the pocket and struggles with field vision, touch and ball placement.”
Weeden certainly earned some new fans with his performance against the San Diego Chargers last Thursday. The 30-year old back-up completed an impressive 13 of 17 passes for 107 yards and one score. Weeden has also been getting rave reviews this offseason, filling in for recovering starter Tony Romo and the recently released Kyle Orton.
But, Weeden is the same quarterback that Pro Football Focus ranked 32nd in 2013 and 38th the year before (dead last). After being selected with the 22nd overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, Weeden went on to play 23 games in two seasons as a Brown. He recorded 5,116 passing yards , 23 touchdowns and 26 interceptions in that span.
While in Cleveland, Weeden’s average completion percentage was 55.9%. And his quarterback rating was 71.8. Last season, Weeden had the worst completion rating in the NFL with 52.8% and the 34th worst passer rating (70.3).
Despite the terrible numbers, Cowboys owner and general manager believes Weeden was misused in Cleveland. He recently told 105.3 The Fan during a radio interview that the Browns organization, and more specifically former Browns president Mike Holmgren, simply asked too much from the former Oklahoma State Cowboy. Jones believes that Weeden, with the aid of new passing coordinator Scott Linehan, may turn out to be something really good in Dallas.
“All quarterbacks, with the exception, I guess, of Aikman, come into the league holding the ball too long. So (Weeden) didn’t get the benefit, at least the way Mike saw it, of the kind of early snaps. Linehan’s doing that. It’s really effective for us. I think we may have something here.”
Although Weeden may have made a believer out of Jones, he has a long way to go before changing the minds of the burned Cleveland faithful and one particular writer over at NFL.com. Have you jumped on the Weeden Wagon yet?