BEREA–It is no secret that the play of the quarterback in the NFL determines the outcome of a large share of the games.
It is no different with the Browns.
Jason Campbell played well in his first two starts posting back-to-back ratings of over 100. The Browns lost to the Chiefs in his first game, but Campbell played well in that game, as well as the win over the Ravens.
However, he put up a clunker in the 41-20 loss to the Bengals last week. His rating was just 44.3. He threw his first three interceptions of the season and was sacked four times.
Campbell said his nine years experience in the NFL will help him get back on track. He knows quarterbacks have to have short memories to succeed in the NFL.
“You have to,” Campbell said. “You look around the league and you see guys play great for three or four weeks and then they have a rough (game). It’s all about bouncing back the next week. You can’t live in the past. You always have to look to the future. Your past can help you, but if you hang on to it, it can hurt you.”
Campbell was just 27-of-56 for 248 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. He admitted he blamed himself for part of the offense’s woeful performance.
“I was hard on myself Sunday night and Monday,” he said. “I was really hurt by that game because I felt like we had a chance to win and put ourselves in a good position. The fact that it didn’t happen, what can you do about it now?
“I played the game 10 times in my head,” he said. “It was just one of those weird games. It happened and you have to put it behind you. It’s a new week and a new opportunity and maybe you can get on a streak here and look back to (the Bengals) game and say it made us a better, stronger team.”
Rob Chudzinski is optimistic that Campbell will bounce back from what he’s seen him do before in his career.
“Just the way he’s bounced back in the past,” he said. “That’s what defines quarterbacks is how they respond.”
Greg Little said the players believe in Campbell.
“We just believe in the guy to come back,” he said. “Obviously, it wasn’t his best game, but we believe in him.”
Steeler’s coach Mike Tomlin respects Campbell’s ability.
“He’s a strong armed quarterback who’s able to make all the throws,” Tomlin said in a conference call. “He doesn’t flinch and is battle-tested veteran. He’s a very capable (quarterback).”
Campbell used the word ‘rhythm’ in describing the offensive problems against the Bengals.
“Last week, everything went wrong,” Campbell said. “For us, it’s just a matter of getting back into a rhythm.
“There are games like that,” he said. “I look forward to bouncing back and playing a better game.”
The highlight of Campbell’s play against the Bengals was a 74-yard strike to Josh Gordon in the third quarter to pull the Browns within eleven points at 31-20. However, most of the game he spent checking down to running backs and throwing to receivers on underneath routes.
Campbell was asked how can the offense get into that flow quicker.
“We just have to get first downs,” he said. “Rhythm comes as a whole team feeding off of each other, the offense, the defense and special teams. As a team, we just need better rhythm.”
Campbell said the second quarter collapse put the offense behind the eight ball trailing 31-13.
“When you get far behind, the defenses change their coverages and make you work for 15 to 17 play drives to give up a touchdown,” he said. “That takes a lot more time off the clock and you have to be more patient.”
Campbell said he sees the Browns, as a team, moving beyond the loss to Cincinnati and ready for the Steelers.
“I think we do,” he said. “I think we had a good tempo at practice and guys understand it’s a new week. During the course of the season, you have those games when nothing seems to go right and Sunday was one of those games that happened. The whole day was weird. Even the flight was weird. it was one of those days that happens. You just have to move on.”
Campbell said there’s only two ways to approach the next game.
“You have to move on from what happened,” he said. “Sunday is done. You can look at it two ways: you can bounce back and play well Sunday and play great or continue to hang your hat on (last week) and play flat. We’re in the race at 4-6 with a lot of other teams.”
Campbell bruised his ribs against the Ravens, but played against the Bengals. He said it was a ‘challenge’ but it didn’t affect his play. However, Campbell didn’t scramble as he had in the first two games that he started. In his first two starts, Campbell had rushed seven times for 37 yards.
“It’s not on in my mind this week, it was a challenge last week, but it’s another week,” he said. “I feel great.”
For the Browns to defeat the Steelers, Campbell needs to play much better. He is optimistic of turning things around this week.
“For whatever reason, things just didn’t go well for us (last week),” he said. “It started out (going well), but the wheels just fell off and some things you just can’t control. I think you just move on, but you have to bounce back.
“It’s a big game (against the Steelers),” he said “We all know it.”
Robertson Out: LB Craig Robertson has a sprained knee see and missed Wednesday’s practice.
“Where he’s at, he will miss (Wed) practice,” Chudzinski said. “We’ll see what his status is this week.”
Robertson was walking without a limp in the locker room with a wrap on his knee. Also, TE MarQueis Gray (hamstring) and DL Armonty Bryant (back) missed practice. All other players were on the field. With Gray and Edwards unable to play, the emergency or third quarterback is WR Davone Bess.
With Robertson missing, LB Tank Carder will play in Robertson’s spot. Carder replaced Robertson against the Bengals and had seven tackles.
“We’ll work Tank at practice,” Chudzinski said. “I thought he did a solid job for not getting a lot of reps (in practice). He’s done a good job on special teams. He’ll get some extra reps (in practice).”
Edwards to IR: WR/PR Armanti Edwards suffered an ankle injury against the Bengals that will cause him to miss the remainder of the season. The Browns placed him on season-ending injured reserve Wednesday. Edwards was signed on Oct. 29 to replace WR/PR Travis Benjamin, who tore his ACL earlier in the season, but his contributions were short-lived. He played in just two games. In the win over the Ravens, Edwards caught one pass for 10 yards. He also returned two punts for 14 yards. Last week, against the Bengals he took a direct snap for no gain and had two punt returns for 14 yards.
Chudzinski admitted the loss of Benjamin has been huge.
“You lose somebody like Travis and the ability he has, is a shot (to the return game),” he said. “We’re working around that and it takes everybody. The blocking has to improve. The young guys that are rookies 10 games into it, are not rookies any more.”
WR Davone Bess will be the punt returner with DB Jordan Poyer and DB Joe Haden as back ups.
Big Ben: QB Ben Roethlisberger is 15-1 against the Browns in his career and he brought up in a conference call that he still remembers the Browns passing on him in the 2004 NFL Draft.
“I’ve been very fortunate to be with good teams,” he said.
Roethlisberger admitted he gets a little motivation remembering the Browns bypassed him as former Browns coach Butch Davis traded one spot to get TE Kellen Winslow. Roethlisberger, who grew up near Findlay, Ohio and went to Miami (Ohio) was selected by the Steelers several picks later.
“(The Browns) were kind of a hometown team that had a top 10 pick the year I was drafted and they passed on me,” he said.
Roethlisberger was rumored to have asked the Steelers for a trade, but he refuted those rumors as total falsehoods.
“I’m obviously very happy where I’m at and I don’t dwell too much on where I could’ve been.”
Roethlisberger remembers the one game he lost to the Browns was on a nationally televised game on Thurs. Dec. 10, 2009 when Josh Cribbs ran out of the ‘wildcat’ most of the game inn frigid conditions.
“Probably, the coldest game I played in,” Roethlisberger said of the 13-6 loss. “It was a crazy, crazy game. I remember the weather more than anything, but I remember losing.”
Cooper Promoted: WR Josh Cooper was promoted to the active roster with Edwards being placed on injured reserve. WR Reggie Dunn, a rookie from Utah, was added to the practice squad to replace Cooper.
Steelers Week: Chudzinski said that he remembers a lot of games between the Browns and the Steelers as he watched them growing up.
“I remember the (Joe) “Turkey” Jones sack on (Terry) Bradshaw,” he said. “I remember (Brian) Sipe hitting Ozzie Newsome with a pass to win the game. There’s always a little bit extra in these games with the community, a division rival. It’s all there and it makes for a particularly fun week.”
Chudzinski said that many of the players are so young they don’t know understand the rivalry completely.
“We have so many young guys and this team hasn’t played Pittsburgh,” he said. “I’ve talked to them enough that if they don’t get it by the end of the week, they will.”
Campbell said he’s picked up on the rivalry with the Steelers since joining the Browns in March.
“From my short time of being here, you understand what the game means to the fan base and to the city,” he said. “We’re both 4-6 and it’s a big game.”
Campbell compared the rivalry to his former team, the Redskins with the Cowboys and his alma mater, Auburn with Alabama.
Haden said as a player, they almost have to experience a Steelers game, before they fully appreciate the rivalry.
“You just can’t come into it and be ready,” he said. “You have to experience it and then the next game you’re ready for it.”
Little Banned from North Carolina: Browns WR Greg Little was sent a letter stating that he is banned at the University of North Carolina and from contacting athletes.
Little said he is to blame and not other people for the actions the school took. Little was suspended his final season at UNC for his involvement with an agent and receiving gifts.
“It is what it is,” Little said. “North Carolina is a great university understand what they’re trying to do to protect their athletes.”