'The NFL Beat': Weeden's Crab Delivery
Crabs, barbecue, and expectations for Brandon Weeden
By Alex Dunlap, 5:51PM, Wed. Jun. 6, 2012
Homer? Who? Me? The guy in this screen shot from the end of the 2005 Rose Bowl? Oh yes. Huge homer. Do not ever believe a word I say about the Texas Longhorns because it will be cherry-coated misinformation and hype. When it comes to the NFL, though, I am neutral. I am Switzerland. (Minus the whole "having to sit down to pee after 10pm" thing.)
We all know the pain that attachment can cause. I was attached to the Houston Oilers. Who ripped my heart out, time and time again. When people say "the 'F-word,'" I think Frank Reich. I think of a miserable ride home through a rare snowy day outside of Austin in Wimberley near my grandparents' ranch. The never-before-seen, beautiful winterscape we witnessed as we crossed the low water bridge somehow felt like hell freezing over. The Oilers were going to blow a 32-point third-quarter lead. In the playoffs.
These are my blessed memories. That. Things like that. Chris Dishman penalties, Haywood Jeffries drops. How fantastic. Hoping against hope that freaking Cody Carlson wouldn't put too much air under the out-route and get picked off again.
Then that gets taken away and moved to Nashville.
I have since found myself becoming "a fan" of all kinds of teams. One is the Browns. Why? Because as mentioned previously, I am a Longhorn homer and Colt McCoy (insert random "who knows?" meme here) is/was their quarterback. It is also a fan base that understands my unique status as an NFL orphan. Their organization got shipped to Baltimore in front of their very eyes before being "revived" as an expansion team. They've been orphans, they just have a foster family now. Furthermore, Browns Senior Editor Vic Carucci is one of the coolest NFL guys around, and I love talking football with him when we cross paths.
Looking at it objectively, it looks like (by accident, really) Brandon Weeden is indeed the organization's "guy" at QB moving forward. Baylor WR Kendall Wright was drafted earlier than the Browns had anticipated, and reaching for Weeden at pick 22 was plan B. So now we are where we are. And the speculation begins: What can we expect out of Weeden in 2012 as the starting QB for the Browns?
I know two guys outside of Cleveland who are thinking about it. Byron Lambert and Chris Kouffman.
Byron is my partner at Rosterwatch, and the person who Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome thinks is the world's most ridiculous question-asker. He was also the person who got Jags rookie WR Justin Blackmon all worked up about character comparisons to Oklahoma State teammate Dez Bryant. As hostile and condescending as both responses were, he was right to ask in both cases. The Ravens did indeed draft a deep threat at wide receiver this year, and Justin Blackmon just this weekend allegedly got his second DWI.
Here is where the crab legs come in. And the Franklin BBQ. Chris made the assertion on Twitter that Weeden was a "special" talent. Byron, like myself, believes he is a great player and person, but will likely not come in and be too much more "special" in 2012 than Colt McCoy has been. Byron offered to take the under on these three major statistics in judging a quarterback's productivity, best two of three wins the bet.
- 80.0 Passer/QB rating
- 1.5 touchdown-to-interception ratio
- 6 wins
If Weeden surpasses two of these three achievements in 2012, Byron same-day airmails Franklin BBQ (which literally everybody now knows is the best in the world) to Chris in Florida. If Weeden fails to, Chris airmails fresh Florida crab to Byron in Austin. From here, negotiations are made via Twitter DM, hilarity ensues, and knowledge bombs are dropped. But the overriding theme pertains to the definition of "special." What quantifies that very abstract attribute in a rookie QB? Whatever it is, it sure doesn't seem like great news for Cleveland fans looking for an immediate turnaround.
Byron: Best 2 out of 3 wins. I will take under on these: 80 qb rating, 1.5 TD/INT ratio, 6 wins.
Chris: Got a deal if the hard over/unders are set at: 80.00 Passer Rating, 1.450x TD/INT, 5.5 W's. That way no pushes. :)
Byron: I'll let 1.49 round up on td/int and we go 3 pounds - i like a lot of crab. Your choice- brisket, ribs , sausage. I recommend the Texas trifecta, and the crab's got 2 b fresh.
Chris: Honestly though, are these over/unders fair? Over last 15 years, 30 rookies qualified statistically on NFL.com. Only 6 passed your bet. Only 10 of 30 even qualified for 1 of your 3 measures. Seemed like you were saying Weeden would be bad for a rookie? Shockingly, a true 50/50 mark would be 2 of 3 on 68.4 Passer Rating, 0.92 TD/INT ratiio & 4.0 W's. Yikes. Rookie QBs are baaaad.
Byron: Remember this discussion centers around your opinion that Weeden is a special talent. I think we can agree that the numbers I set forth are mediocre at best for a decent to good QB. Plus the BBQ im sending you has been voted best BBQ in america by several publications. The owner is flown around country for seminars. So basically, you are saying you think Weeden is somewhere in the Colt McCoy-Tarvaris Jackson range? That's a "special" talent?
Chris: No, I think he's in the Peyton Manning/Matt Stafford range. Special talent.
Byron: Fine, I'm willing to go over under on Andy Dalton's rookie stats from last year, and I'm not sure people are convinced he's a "special talent". Same division, same type of crap team, went in early second, where Weeden was projected.
Chris: Thats disingenuous and you know it. I could easily say I want the Over/Unders to be based on Peyton's rookie year. He's kinda good. It's not about that and you know it.
Byron: I think we can agree its pretty obvious passing numbers in this league have changed significantly since 1998. Stats are at an all time high. Almost 3 guys broke Dan Marino's record last year and might have been 4 if Aaron Rodgers didnt sit at the end of the season. Lowest I can go is Tarvaris Jackson territory, and we know he is far from special: O/U 79 passer rating, 1.45 td/int, O/U 5.5 wins. Otherwise we are in Colt McCoy territory and you wonder why the hell we are even talking about Weeden.
Chris: You do realize Tarvaris Jackson had a 2/4 TD-INT ratio and a 62.5 passer rating as a rookie in 2006, correct? He was 0-2 as a starter, too.
Byron: Yeah, and he sucked, so it would be a horrible comparison. I was talking about his stats last year. A year he was still garbage. Making this an even more ridiculous wager for me. Weeden is not special if he cant match that.
Chris: At best you can claim a change occurred in rules in 2004 when suddenly 11 qualified passers had 90+ ratings (only 6 in 2003, 10 in 2011.) But median TD/INT ratio of 2004-2011 rookies w/ 50+ attempts is 0.666, and median passer rating of same is 65.7. Only 8 of 26 Round 1-Round 3 QBs since 2004 have met even 1 of your standards. Only 5 of 26 have met two. Those are really high standards. You can say "I cant go lower than Tarvaris" but what if I say "I cant go higher than rookie Matt Schaub (42/0.25) or rookie Eli Manning (55.4/0.67)?" It doesn't seem all that fair when I say it like that, does it? That's because it's not a good way to set your standards. Here's my offer: 2 of 3 between 75.0 passer rating, 1.000 TD/INT ratio or 7.5 wins. Only 8 of 26 Round 1-Round 3 rookie QBs have done that since 2004. Your whipping boy Colt McCoy (who as I recall had a rookie year that left many optimistic) didn't even clear even 1 of those 3 hurdles.
Byron: Im hungry for crab legs! 6.5 wins + 1.25 td/int + 78 rating. Final offer if u want to experience the taste of the most savory bbq in the history of the universe. Its like a fair trade in fantasy - both sides need to feel a little hurt. That's when you know the trade is fair. Im feeling hurt.
Chris: Alright you win, 78/1.25/6.5. Fresh Florida crab...we talking stone crab claws? Or you want live crabs?
Byron: You're the crab expert, what's your opinion? I like fresh, but i also like alot of crab. I'm assuming live is fresher, but straight claws might get me more actual meat.
Chris: I think if it's Florida crab,then you go w/ stone crab claws. The only sustainable seafood. They take a claw, toss it back, the claw grows back! Nothing says Florida crab like stone crab. I'm not in Miami but Joe's Stone Crabs is where Steve Ross would bring someone he's recruiting.
Byron: Deal. Florida stone crab claws-you get whole Austin BBQ experience, brisket, ribs, sausage. With sauce, fixings. pickles, onions, white bread.
Chris: Deal! Already announced it to Brandon so no goin back on it now, he'll deliver for me ;)
[Alex Dunlap (you will follow on Twitter) is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America, the host of RosterWatch on 104.9FM ESPN Radio Austin, founder of Rosterwatch.com, and a featured expert contributor to the FantasyPros.com network.]