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Ask Vic: Switch to Campbell not needed

Posted Oct 15, 2013

Senior Editor Vic Carucci answers fan questions from the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages, and Daily@ClevelandBrowns.com.

You’ve got questions and comments that you submit to the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages, and Daily@ClevelandBrowns.com. Here’s what I have to say about what you have to say:

Seth says: “Jason Campbell took the Redskins to the playoffs once and if the Browns didn’t injure him in Oakland, he would have done it there, too. What’s the issue with putting a playoff-experienced QB out there over a mistake of a first-round pick? Don’t bring up the preseason, because if you can remember, Brian Hoyer looked just pretty good with the third string and he looked very good with the first string around him. We haven’t seen Campbell with the first string yet. Don’t hesitate, Browns. Make the move and have a better season.”

I say: At this point, Seth, I don’t necessarily see Campbell as a better option to Brandon Weeden. And it’s pretty clear that the Browns’ decision-makers view it the same way.

Your points about his experience are valid. His 71 career starts are significant. But experience, alone, isn’t enough of a reason to make the switch you’re proposing. If it was, then Campbell would have been the obvious choice, rather than Brian Hoyer (who had made all of one career start at that point) to take over after Weeden suffered his thumb injury in Week 2. Hoyer got the call because he was seen as having more dynamic skill to bring to the table, which he clearly demonstrated through most of the two starts he made before his season-ending knee injury.

Campbell has his share of limitations, which is the main reason he was available to join the Browns as a backup. I can’t say that I saw enough good things in watching him through the offseason, training camp, and the preseason (yes, I am bringing that up) to be convinced that he would become the difference-making force that you think he is.

My sense is that Campbell would face the same difficulties that Weeden and Hoyer have faced – inconsistent pass protection and a receiving corps that is limited to a couple of high-end playmakers, Josh Gordon and (although not lately) Jordan Cameron.

Could Campbell eventually become the starter even if Weeden stays healthy? Of course, but only if the bottom falls completely out from under Weeden. And, no, that did not happen against the Lions, despite that ugly late interception. Weeden’s first-half performance still was arguably the best of his brief career.

Blaine says: “Brandon Weeden sucks the life out of everyone on the field. They know they have ZERO chance of winning with him out there.”

I say: If that’s the reason for the Browns’ three second-half collapses, it’s a pretty lame one.

No, Weeden did nothing to help and clearly made one of the big plays that hurt the Browns in the second half against the Lions. But that cannot be any justification for other players to give anything less than their best.

They don’t necessarily have to do more, either. They just have to do their job. They just have to be professionals. And being a professional means that you do your job under all circumstances … and especially the difficult ones.

There is absolutely no excuse for any phase of the team to let down, and that includes poor play from the quarterback.

Barb says: “Weeden did not lose the Detroit game. The whole team did not show up after the half. The Lions made adjustments at the half. The Browns did not. Weeden’s game was damn near identical to Peyton Manning Sunday. Look at the stats. The O-line did not protect Weeden, and the defense could not contain the TE. Yes, the INTs hurt. But our defense had a lot to do with this loss.”

I say: Well said, Barb. It was truly a team loss.

I also believe that, ultimately, the better team won.

Chris says: “As D’Qwell Jackson said, there’s still a lot of football left to have a good season and unlike Browns teams of recent years, this team is competitive and will be in ballgames.”

I say: You’re right, Chris.

I do think the Browns have more overall talent than they’ve had in a while, although they definitely have holes to plug. I also believe they’re a better-coached team than they’ve been in several years.

Despite Sunday’s second-half clunker, the defense looks to be solid enough to keep the Browns competitive in all of their remaining games. If the offense can keep mistakes to a minimum while being at least somewhat productive, I think it’s fair to say there will be more victories through the balance of the season.

>>Carucci’s Call is presented by Revol Wireless. Come Save With Us.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.

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