Jerry Jones caused quite a few eyebrows to crinkle this week when he said that Brandon Weeden is a beautiful thrower of footballs. In fact, former All-Pro London Fletcher laughed out loud when he heard Jones’ comments, saying the Cowboys owner “could sell water to a whale of ice to an eskimo.”
To be sure, Jones’ claims are a tad optimistic for a quarterback with more career interceptions than touchdowns and a 5-16 record as a starter, no?
Maybe, maybe not.
“Well, I think before you condemn him too much for his record as a starter, you have to go back and look at the team he was starting for and the people around him,” former Cowboys quarterback and current Compass Media Network Cowboys broadcaster Danny White said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones, referring to the Browns. “There is no position in all of sports that is more dependent on the people around him than a quarterback in the NFL – and he just never had a shot. I agree with Jerry. I think Brandon Weeden has all the talent necessary to take a team to the Super Bowl, win a Super Bowl, if he’s got the right cast of characters around him – and he’s got that. Now it’s too bad Dez is hurt or he could really show what he’s capable of, but he’s got that offensive line. I think he’s going to have a decent running game.
“But the key to this whole thing for the Cowboys is not for Brandon Weeden to come in and be Tony Romo,” White continued. “That’s the last thing you want. And if I was talking to Brandon right now, that’s the first thing I’d say to him. Look, go out there and be Brandon Weeden and do what you do best. Let the coaches come with a scheme that fits your talents and your strengths and everybody else will help pick up the slack as well. The offensive line has got to play a little bit better. The defense has got to play a little bit better. The next-man-up receivers have got to step up. And so all of that’s got to happen – and I don’t see why it shouldn’t because these are talented, quality people that we’re talking about. Brandon Weeden’s going to put up some impressive numbers like he did Sunday, going 7-for-7 with a touchdown. That’s what he’s capable of doing.”
But if the 31-year-old Weeden is such a talented quarterback, why did he struggle in his lone start last year? He was 18-of-33 for 183 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in a 28-17 loss to the Cardinals in Dallas.
Did Weeden just put too much pressure on himself?
“That’s part of it, that’s part of it,” White said twice. “You look at most backups when they come in the first game, it’s not very often impressive. That’s because it’s your first time in a new system. You’re actually being put to the test. It’s a lot like a rookie coming in the NFL. With Brandon, all of a sudden you get thrown in there and you have maybe a week to get ready if you’re lucky. Well, he’s had a year or so under his belt and he knows the system now. He kind of knows what to expect. He’s played, he’s been under fire. This guy was trained in the desert. You play where he played and this is like dying and going to heaven for Brandon Weeden. I think he’s happy. I think he’s excited about this opportunity. Brandon Weeden is a quality individual. He’s a high-character guy. He’s going to do his part if everybody else will do theirs.”