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On Brandon Weeden and being blind

I’ll never be totally rational about Brandon Weeden but I think he can be a success with the Cowboys.



Photo Attribution: USATSI

Photo Attribution: USATSI

When I was in grad school and living in Stillwater I used to work on campus with a guy who invited me to help coach his son’s peewee football team. I obliged, brought Nolan along, and we enjoyed humorously projecting what the kids’ futures would be as athletes — we saw big things for a kid named Quan Malveaux.[1. We were right.]

Seriously though, we had quite a bit of fun “coaching” the youth of Stillwater — Gundy even showed up every once in a while (sans tucked-in shirt) to watch his kids.

Anyway, the guy who I was helping coach had a son on the team who played cornerback. The coach came to me one day and said “hey, can you be honest with me about how well my son is playing? I’m so biased that I have no idea if he’s good or bad, it’s just impossible for me to tell.” I wasn’t a parent then so I had no idea what he was talking about but I assured him that his kids was, indeed, an above average football player — good, not great.

I am a parent now but I still have no idea what he’s talking about in that context.

I do understand better, strangely enough though, because between then and now Brandon Weeden happened.

Weeden’s seasons at OSU are well documented, as is my fervor for his career(s). And that’s kind of the problem.

If you would have told me to bet everything I own on whether or not Weeden would be a success or a bust in the NFL when he was drafted. I would have said success without hesitation. I watched him house good Big 12 defenses for two straight years, the culmination of which was that jewel in the desert against the soon-to-be No. 1 pick and his amazing beard.

He was a pro’s pro even in college. He did everything — short passes, over the middle stuff, out routes, bombs — he was what we thought Josh Fields was when he was here. And that’s not a knock on Fields.

I pride myself on being objective. Not only about sports but about life. I like that I can take myself outside of a situation, evaluate it properly, and then jump back in. It’s something I actively try to do.

All that being said, I simply can’t do it with Weeden. I just can’t. I don’t know why. No matter what he does in the NFL, I’ll never not think he’s an incredible quarterback. I know that’s short-sighted and potentially cuts into whatever credibility I’ve built but he’s my blind spot.[1. Other blind spots: GIA, Desmond, Murphy’s.] I can’t do it.

So now that my cards are on the table and you know that everything after this should be read knowing that that’s my perspective, I think Weeden can be a success in Dallas, if only because Dallas already has potentially the only other QB in the league more maligned than No. 3.

Cleveland, as we’ve all come to realize, is a black hole. They might be good someday but they have zero clues about what they’re doing right now. I don’t exactly think “great leadership and management skills” when I think of Dallas but going from the Browns to the Cowboys is what I imagine to be the corporate equivalent of going from Dollar General to Apple.

Plus the pressure is off.

What is success as a backup or third-string guy in the NFL? Punching the clock, always being a pro, a five handicap, and being ready when called upon, right?

Weeden has been many things in the NFL — unsuccessful in the pocket and unable to read coverages to a degree necessary to be a star among them — but he’s never been unprepared or not professional. He also probably hasn’t had anything north of a five handicap in years.

Welcome to Dallas, Brandon. If you need a completely irrational PR person, you know where to find me.

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