Browns quarterback carousel broken
The Browns’ muddled quarterback situation has gotten
They have four quarterbacks. No starter.
With Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell both recovering from
concussions, and two new quarterbacks on the roster, Browns coach
Rob Chudzinski will wait until later this week – and maybe until
game time – to name his starter for Sunday’s game at New England.
Chudzinski doesn’t know if or when Weeden and Campbell will be
medically cleared to practice, so there’s nothing he can do but be
Even for the Browns, who have had three different quarterbacks
start games this season and used an NFL-high 20 starters since
1999, this is new territory. Unwelcome territory.
For once, the Browns’ quarterback carousel isn’t spinning. It’s
”It’s a very fluid situation, unique, one that I haven’t
necessarily been around,” said Chudzinski, who had the Browns at
3-2 in his first season before they dropped six of seven and out of
Free agent Caleb Hanie, signed by the Browns on Tuesday,
struggled to describe Cleveland’s strange dilemma.
”It’s a little, I don’t know what the word would be for it,”
said Hanie, who started four games for Chicago in 2011. ”It’s part
of this league. It’s a crazy league. One week you’re sitting at
home eating Thanksgiving with your family and the next week you
could be playing for the Browns.”
With Campbell out last week, the Browns signed Alex Tanney off
Dallas’ practice squad. And when Weeden was diagnosed with a
concussion following Sunday’s loss to Jacksonville, the Browns
brought in Hanie, who has been out of the league since he was
released by Baltimore in August.
Hanie had been staying sharp by throwing to a friend on his high
school’s field in Forney, Texas. That’s a long way from facing the
Patriots and their defensive-minded coach Bill Belichick in
Hanie worked out for the Browns last week, but the team decided
instead to sign Tanney.
Chudzinski planned to have Hanie and Tanney divide the plays
with Cleveland’s first-team offense in Wednesday’s practice. That’s
about as strategic Chudzinski could get until he knows whether
Campbell or Weeden will be in the mix to face Belichick, who
promised his team will be prepared for any Browns quarterback.
”We’ll be ready for all four of them,” Belichick said on a
Chudzinski couldn’t even commit to who he would start if all
four quarterbacks are available. Weeden and Campbell must be
granted permission to return to the field by an independent
neurologist, the final step in the NFL’s protocol on head injuries.
Chudzinski did not indicate if one of his two starting QBs was
closer to coming back than the other or timing for a return.
Weeden was injured at some point in Sunday’s 32-28 loss to the
Jaguars. The second-year pro, who has benched twice this season for
inconsistent play, passed for a career-high 370 yards and threw
three TD passes and two interceptions – both in the final three
minutes of the first half. Weeden didn’t complain of any symptoms
until after the game when he was diagnosed with the injury.
Tanney served as Weeden’s backup last week and was ready to
play. Cleveland’s coaching staff had given him a package of plays,
and Tanney said he has progressed enough with the Browns’ system
that he could handle much more this week if chosen to make his
first career start.
He’s been cramming like a college student preparing for finals
to learn the Browns’ offense.
”I’m definitely growing in this system,” he said. ”If I was
called upon, I’m sure the game plan would be a little more
extensive, just picking out the favorite plays that I feel
comfortable with and able to execute them.”
Tanney hasn’t started a game since his senior season at Monmouth
(Ill.) College, a Division III program. He’s perhaps best known for
a YouTube video, on which he performs trick shots. If he gets the
starting nod form Chudzinski, Tanney will find himself matched up
against Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, a player he has long
”It would be something pretty special,” he said. ”Growing up
he was one of my favorite players. If I do get called, it will
definitely be exciting.”
Browns wide receiver Davone Bess said there’s no sense in
worrying about the Browns’ QB quandary.
”We have no choice,” he said. ”It’s easy to go south and be
sour about it. But we’ve still got the game to play. Guys in this
locker room still got character, and we want to get after it.”
NOTES: Browns DE Desmond Bryant will undergo a surgical
procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat and miss the remainder
of the season. Bryant will undergo the procedure this week, the
team said. … LBs Craig Robertson (sprained knee) and Tank Carder
(sprained shoulder) returned to practice. Robertson missed two
games with his injury and Carder sat out Sunday’s game. … With DB
Chris Owens (knee) going on injured reserve, rookie Leon McFadden
will get more time at nickel back.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org