Brandon Weeden on “Jon Gruden’s QB Camp”
Brandon Weeden’s episode of “Jon Gruden’s QB Camp” premiered Saturday evening. He broke down film, got on the board and worked out for Gruden during the 30-minute show.
Weeden, as expected, shined in the media/interview setting. Here’s a quick breakdown of the show.
The show opened with Gruden labeling each tapes from each quarterback he’s meeting with this season. He labeled Weeden’s “Weedeater.” I laughed, mostly because that was a popular nickname thrown out after Weeden’s rushing touchdown in the Fiesta Bowl.
Gruden’s opening comments about Weeden: “He has a cannon, he’s productive every week, and he beat some of the best quarterbacks college football has to offer.”
Weeden’s opening comments on Gruden: “The guy’s a nut. He’s a guy I’m going to listen to and kind of be a sponge.”
Gruden began not with football film, but with old-school footage from Weeden’s baseball days. He even dropped that Weeden was drafted before Yankees superstar Curtis Granderson.
“I could sling it,” Weeden said. “But you realize at that level, it’s more than throwing hard and trying to blow fastballs by guys. You can’t do it.”
On the comparisons between being a pitcher and a quarterback:
“The ball’s always in your hands,” Weeden said “…You’ve got full control of the game. That’s why I think I liked playing the two as much as I did. There’s so many comparisons. You give up a bomb (home run), it’s just like throwing an interception.”
On the decision to quit baseball and try college football:
“I just wasn’t having much success,” Weeden said. “My numbers were average. I was giving up a lot of doubles in the gap. I always knew I wanted to play football if it didn’t work out, as far as my baseball career (goes). After the ’06 season, I had had enough, I decided I wanted to go back and get an education and play college football, and I think I made the right decision.
The age question
Ah, we knew it was coming soon enough. The most informational part of this section was Gruden asking Weeden how it was leading and communicating with much younger players at OSU:
“It was easy for me,” Weeden said. “Whenever I came over here (to the sideline) and was talking to the guys, they’d always listen. We were always on the same page and able to communicate. If (Justin) Blackmon or somebody saw something, they’d bring it up. …That was one of the nice things about being a little bit older — I’m not a hush-mouth guy. If I feel something, I’m going to let you know about it. Right here (showing footage of first half of Texas A&M game), I’m either ticked off about something or something’s up. But this is the way it was all the time. I think my age, it helped me from this perspective. Without a doubt.
Weeden then broke down how he ran the Cowboys’ no-huddle offense. Lots and lots of hand signals here. Bending one finger means ace formation. Pointing to his fist or slapping his hip signals a specific play. And he always used a silent count.
“You don’t need to talk in this offense,” Gruden joked.
Because of the fast pace, Weeden revealed that the terminology of the OSU offense is pretty basic. Gruden asked how Weeden would handle rattling off a long play in the huddle, and Weeden mentioned he’ll like getting a chance to communicate with the rest of the offensive players in between plays.
Gruden asked him to call a play, to which Weeden said “Blue 80, blue 80, set, hut.”
Gruden then imitated/mocked Weeden—with major Chucky eyes. Again, I laughed.
Gruden spent a couple minutes on the game atmosphere of Boone Pickens Stadium. He asked if Pistol Pete was Burt Reynolds. He also called the tunnel the team comes out of a stable.
“This is the worst football play I’ve ever seen in my life”
Here’s where Gruden starts to focus on some of Weeden’s flaws. He showed the pick-six against Kansas State, complete with Weeden’s unsuccessful dive near the sideline.
“I remember saying right here…’Listen I’m going to make a play in this game and we’re going to come back and win this football game,’” Weeden said.
Gruden also asked Weeden to explain the safety against Texas where he stepped out of the back of the end zone.
Weeden didn’t try to sugarcoat it.
“I felt pressure,” Weeden said. “Honestly, this was a bona fide brain fart right here. That’s not good. But fortunately, it was a safety and not a pick-six.”
Gruden didn’t sugarcoat it, either.
“This is going on a reel forever, because this is the worst football play I have ever seen in my life,” he said. “It’s a pick-six, backed up, and a safety on the same play. It’s a double-whammy, man. It’s going to the Hall of Shame.”
Hit the boards
Weeden was then asked to diagram a trips play from the Baylor game. Side note: as soon as the footage came up, Weeden remarked “this was stealin’.” Not sure if he meant that specific play or the entire game. The statement could have applied to both.
Weeden hit the board and explained that it was a draw play. The key to the play was watching the strongside linebacker. If he hesitated or stayed inside, Weeden threw a stick route to the Y receiver. If he went to cover the stick route, Weeden handed the ball to the running back.
Gruden also called up that long pass play to Joseph Randle late in the Arizona game that came against an all-out blitz. Gruden was impressed that Weeden audibled, recognized the blitz and who was open and lofted it perfectly out to Randle even though pressure was coming.
“You know you’re going to get hit,” Weeden said. “You just got to stand in there and make the throw.”
Let’s take this outside
Gruden showed a series of bubble screen plays, and Weeden compared it to turning a double play. He also said he rarely uses the laces of the football on that particular play, because it’s so fast. As someone who has never played quarterback, I thought this was really interesting, but then it made total sense once I thought about it.
Gruden wanted to see this outside.
Cue a rapid set of screens to each side, lots of times with a bad snap. Weeden said he had his fingers on the laces one time.
Then Gruden asked Weeden to make throws using a three-step drop. The slot receiver ran a five-yard stick route, and the outside guy ran a flat route. Gruden played defense, and Weeden had to throw to the right guy based on if Gruden stayed inside or went outside.
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