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Smile, you're a star. Almost.
If Colt McCoy were to somehow defy all the odds of football economics and land the starting job, that would unquestionably shock 99 percent of football fans. But that is a fantasy, and back in the real world, the quarterback that will truly shock the NFL faithful will be Brandon Weeden.
Weeden’s starting place under center shouldn’t even mildly surprise fans, but his performance will. The former pitcher has benefited a bit from the QB controversy in the sense that his ability has taken second place in the public eye to his age and his relative arm strength.
In the back of everyone’s mind is the thought, “Well, yeah, he was a professional athlete before and he seems pretty smart.” But the full magnitude of those facts will become evident as he rockets up the learning curve on the Holmgren version of the west coast offense.
I’m processing stuff a little bit faster and I’m not thinking quite as much. That’s the thing about this system…when you stop thinking so much and you just react… that’s when you start moving the ball down the field. —Brandon Weeden, first day of camp
It’s generally a young offense and Weeden is a strong leader who will hold receivers accountable and they will start catching the balls. Greg Little will have his anticipated breakout season and Josh Cooper will indeed become the next Wes Welker. It’s entirely possible.
As long as the right side of the O-line can provide a modicum of protection, it’s in fact probable. College defenses notwithstanding, don’t forget that Weeden had a rating of 159.8 last season while completing 72.3% of his passes. (And clearly, Justin Blackmon’s judgmental prowess wasn’t the reason for his QB’s success.)
Weeden won’t make anyone forget Cam Newton’s rookie season, but he will at the least equal Andy Dalton. Dalton was a surprise, but if Weeden can lead his team to 9-7, it will qualify indisputably as a shock. A really good one.
If you would like to be shocked in a good way right now, check out the ESPN Sports Science segment where Brandon Weeden shatters skeet with a football. Entertaining for sure, and somewhat awe-inspiring.