Back in September, former Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden found himself 0-3 as a starter for the struggling, Romo-less Dallas Cowboys. After being benched in favor of former Buffalo backup Matt Cassell, Weeden was released by the Cowboys in late November. Two days later, Weeden was picked up by the Houston Texans and placed at third on their depth chart at QB. Flash forward to December, and Weeden leads the charge in the Texans' playoff hopes following their 34-6 drubbing over Tennessee. Oh, how things can change.
Weeden's success in Houston all started when starting quarterback Brian Hoyer, a player that Weeden is very familiar with, got concussed for a second time in a month in the Texans' loss against the Patriots. Houston was then forced to go with second-stringer T.J. Yates, who reportedly tore his ACL in the first half of last week's game against Indianapolis. Weeden then came in and threw for 105 yards and a touchdown in the Texans' 16-10 win over the Colts.
With Hoyer still out with a concussion a week later, the Texans had to go with Weeden once again. With pressure to stay atop the division, Weeden performed; he not only threw for over 200 yards and two touchdowns, but he also earned the first rushing touchdown of his NFL career.
Weeden's future with the Texans is uncertain. Once Hoyer passes the league's concussion protocol, Texans head coach Bill O'Brian will have a decision to make, one coincidentally similar to the decision that Browns head coach Mike Pettine had to make when Weeden and Hoyer were battling for the starting spot in the 2013 and 2014 season.
Whether or not Weeden starts in the future is fairly irrelevant; either way, he finds himself in a better scenario than he had in Dallas. The Cowboys now find themselves at 4-11 on the season following their ugly 16-6 loss versus the Buffalo Bills. They have benched Matt Cassel, the player who Weeden was replaced with, and have decided to go with undrafted free agent Kellen Moore, a player who the Cowboys signed to the practice squad in early November. They are currently dead last in the NFC East and have no chance of finding their way into the playoffs.
Houston, on the other hand, currently leads the AFC South with a record of 8-7. The Texans can clinch the division and a spot in the playoffs with an Indianapolis loss next week against the Titans and/or a win in their regular season finale next week against the Jacksonville Jaguars (the more likely scenario). By clinching the division, the Texans would find themselves in the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
Weeden now finds himself in a great position -- a player who can battle for a starting position on a potential playoff team. And to be frank, even in the worst of future scenarios, anything is better than being in Dallas. Back with the Cowboys, Weeden was admittedly frustrated after being benched for Matt Cassell. Now, just four hours away from his old team, Weeden has the fortunate opportunity to be part of an optimistic Texan squad in pursuit of their third playoff appearance in franchise history. His future is up in the air, yes, but he has had quite the journey in the 2015 season, and OSU fans everywhere couldn't be any happier for him.