Contrary to what social media and fans around the league might say, Brandon Weeden is not a helpless QB.
Weeden is at his best when he is able to drop back quickly, and make a quick decisive throw. Weeden has all the tools to drive the ball into tight windows, when given time to throw.
He is a veteran in the league, and while he is not at Romo’s level calling the protection, he is satisfactory.
Where Weeden will struggle is when the blitzes get home. Unlike Romo, Weeden struggles to avoid the rush and extend plays. However, in last year’s Arizona game, on a couple of plays Weeden was forced to slide left or right in the pocket, he was able to maneuver around the rusher, reset his feet and deliver a strike.
While limited in his escape ability, he did show an ability to slide in the pocket and make a play.
Another common knock on Weeden is that he makes premeditated decisions. This was evident in last year’s game against the Cardinals where he seemed to force the ball to Dez Bryant too often. It will be interesting to see how he adapts this year, without a true number one target. In the past, he has relied on his tight ends and running backs and I expect that trend to continue.
The key to winning with Brandon Weeden is to win on First down.
Where Weeden tends to get in trouble is when he is forced to make up a 2nd and a long distance. Creating favorable third downs is key for any quarterback, but especially a backup.
Weeden, in his limited time with the cowboys, has been a “quick read then hit the checkdown” type quarterback.
This makes it primarily difficult to move the ball down the field without getting ahead of the chains. A successful running game will be key to slow down the pass rush and also allow Weeden to utilize the Play action. While the running game will be key, the receivers need to help Weeden by getting yards after the catch.
Weeden is not going to be the same QB as Romo. With that said there is no reason why Weeden can not win games as the starter.
If Weeden does not try to do too much, limits his turnovers, and allows the run set up the pass, he will be successful. He will not be asked to be much more than a game manager, and I believe he has the tools to be just that.