More from Brandon Weeden: Full Q&A on his NFL rookie season, watching OSU from the outside and his future with the Cleveland Browns
Have I mentioned Oklahoma media types have missed Brandon Weeden?
The Cleveland Browns quarterback and former Oklahoma State star is back in town for the NFL offseason and chatted Friday with reporters before serving as the keynote speaker at Oklahoma Christian’s Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner. Weeden’s high school baseball coach at Edmond Santa Fe, Lonny Cobble, now holds that position at OC.
And, as usual, Weeden was his normal talkative and insightful self.
There’s a Q&A in Saturday’s Oklahoman, but that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the range of topics covered.
Here’s the complete version:
What’s the biggest thing you learned during your rookie season?
Those guys are really good. It’s a very challenging league. There’s so much preparation that goes in. Basically, when you’re done on Sunday afternoon, you’re already thinking about next week and trying to prepare. You’ve got to come in Monday morning kind of having a feel for what the other team does. It’s nonstop. This is our job. We don’t go to school anymore. We get paid to do this. They expect us to be more prepared, or as prepared, as the coaches. There’s so much time that goes into each week. And if you don’t prepare, if you just kind of go through the motions, you’ll get exposed. Even if you do prepare, sometimes you get exposed, because those guys are so good.
It was a fun year. We didn’t win as many games as we would have liked to, obviously. But you look at the games we were in. We were in so many games with one of the youngest teams in the NFL. At one point, we had eight of our guys on the offensive side of the ball at one time were rookies. When you’re playing teams like the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals — that are all veteran teams that have guys that are future Hall of Famers and very experienced players — (and) you have rookies, you can’t make mistakes. And they force you to make mistakes. It’s a tough league, but I’m getting paid for something I love to do and I’m blessed for it.
Do you have a “Welcome to the NFL” moment that sticks out?
I had a lot. I thought I’d be smart and not wear a rib protector when we went to Green Bay. They brought a little ‘Sam’ linebacker blitz. I saw it coming, but I knew I could get the ball out. I thought my (running) back was going to protect. Well, he didn’t, and I took one right underneath the sternum and it knocked the breath out of me. Long story short, I couldn’t breathe for probably 45 seconds. I didn’t want to get off the ground. I wanted to just lay there, call a timeout, something, because I couldn’t breathe. I got in the huddle and tried to spit out a play and it wasn’t happening. So everybody’s laughing at me and it kind of became the running joke for that game. And then I finally got to the line of scrimmage and we got a false start because I couldn’t say the cadence because I still couldn’t talk. That was a bad play.
That Thursday night we played in Baltimore, Ray Lewis got me really good. He didn’t sack me — I got the ball out like I was supposed to — but he hit me extremely hard. And instead of helping me up, he kind of pushed himself up and just kind of stood over the top of me for a minute and I was like, ‘All right. Well, here we’re are. We’re in the NFL and this is the way it’s gonna be week in a week out.’ What better way, to have a guy like Ray Lewis welcome you to the NFL?
Was it Clay Matthews that hit you in Green Bay?
I can’t remember who it was, to be honest with you. I don’t want to remember.
What about a positive “Welcome to the NFL” moment?
In Cleveland, it’s very similar to Bedlam here with Pittsburgh. If you beat Pittsburgh in Cleveland, you think the world is ending. That’s a big deal up there, and rightfully so. It’s a big-time rivalry in a tough division. So beating Pittsburgh at home, even though I got a concussion and didn’t play the last five or six minutes — and didn’t get to celebrate, which I don’t know why this is my welcome to the NFL positive moment (laughs). But still, beating Pittsburgh at home, with the year that we had, was probably the highlight. Anytime you beat those guys, as good as they are, is something to take a lot of pride in.
You mentioned being in the huddle. That’s different than the way you ran things at OSU. What was that adjustment like?
When I first got drafted and we started OTAs, that was probably the biggest transition, spitting out a play that’s this long (extends arms across table) and trying to remember all the terminology and stuff and trying to get it all right after hearing it, repeating it, knowing what everyone’s doing. There’s a lot more thinking. It’s a complex system, especially that West Coast offense. But honestly, once I got into it and kind of understood the terminology, I enjoyed it more because you’re able to communicate more. I always talked about that when I was at Oklahoma State, we relied all on signals. So if you’re not on the same page, it can be tough. Whereas in the huddle, you have no excuse. You know exactly what to do.
What was the most challenging part about being a rookie?
I think adversity. At Oklahoma State, I faced adversity one time, really, with that loss to Iowa State. Other than that, we lost to Oklahoma and we lost to Nebraska when I was a starter, two really good football teams. Not winning consistently is challenging. It’ll really test you as a person. To come to the building on Monday morning after losing games like we did is not a good feeling and a feeling that we don’t want from here on out.
How’d you get over that adversity?
Winning. Really and truly, it’s all about winning. (It helps) having a core of coaches, players, leaders that keep the locker room headed in the right direction. Sometimes when you lose a lot of games, everybody wants to push the panic button and everyone wants to start looking for answers and look around the room versus just line up, prepare, keep doing what you’re doing. We never really got blown out. We kind of got blown out in New York, which we were up 14-0. We got blown out at Denver. Other than that, they were all 3-, 7-, maybe 10-point games. We’re not talking about we were just getting walloped every week. You just have to have good leaders, good people around you.
Was there a specific teammate you looked up to as a leader?
The vocal leader of our team is D’Quell Jackson, our middle linebacker. He’s a veteran, extremely mature. He just has that charisma, that ability to lead, and he’s great at it. As a rookie, it’s tough. especially when you’re coming in and you have so many other demands on you. You want to be that guy, and now this year, that’s my job. Now it’s my offense. It’s my turn to kind of take the lead and be the leader.
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients