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Campbell: Bye week's timing ideal

Posted Nov 5, 2013

Cleveland Browns quarterback Jason Campbell feels the bye week came at a great time for the team.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Jason Campbell said he believes the bye week came at a good time, both for himself, and the team as a whole.

Campbell is nursing bruised ribs suffered in the Browns’ 24-18 victory over the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday. He said the bye week will allow him, and many of his teammates, to heal before playing the final seven games of the regular season.

“Definitely, it came at a great time for our team,” Campbell said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that are kind of banged up, and it’ll be very important to get these guys back next week as we prepare to go down the home stretch. It’s at the right time for us.

“Right now, I’m just sore, but getting a lot better. I’m just taking it one day at a time. We’re only two days removed from the game, so I’m just trying to get it back to normal, but I’m pleased with the positive feedback that I’m getting from the trainers. If we had a game Sunday, I’d definitely play.”

Following the bye, the Browns return to the field with an AFC North Division game against the front-running Cincinnati Bengals (6-3) at Paul Brown Stadium. It will be the second meeting between the teams this season, and the second of three straight games against divisional opponents for the Browns.

When the teams met earlier this year in Cleveland, the Browns posted a 17-6 victory over their in-state rival.

“They’re a good team, another top-five defense,” Campbell said. “It’s another big challenge. During this bye week, our goal is to get healthy, and we need to go there next week and have the mentality of coming out and trying to play fast.

“To us, it’s one game at a time. It’s really that mentality. Last weekend, it was a division game, and it was almost like a two-for-one. We’re in a stretch where all our games are division games. The only thing we can do is approach it one game at a time. It doesn’t matter if you don’t take care of what you need to take care of on the following Sunday. If we just take that approach, take it one game at a time, and worry about our growth and how we can get better as a team, you can look up at the end of the year and be right in the thick of it.”

Including the win over the Bengals, the Browns hold a 2-1 combined record against Cincinnati and Baltimore. The Browns have the best divisional record in the AFC North, but have two of their final three division games on the road, where they are 1-3 this year.

“When you’re on the road, it’s almost like you against the world as far as us as a team,” Campbell said. “I think you find out a lot about your team when you’re on the road, how close or how tough you are as a team. You’re in someone else’s stadium and all of the fans are kind of going against you. That’s the time when you pull together as a team and see what you’re all about.”

Campbell’s teammates have embraced that “us against the world” mentality because of their belief in his ability to lead the team.

In his two-plus games with the Browns, Campbell has completed 46 of 75 attempts for 561 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. He has a long pass of 47 yards, which went to Josh Gordon at Kansas City, and absorbed only four sacks for 28 lost yards.

He was leading the team to a potential go-ahead score in the fourth quarter against the undefeated Chiefs two weeks ago, and then, engineered four scoring drives and matched a career high with three touchdown passes in the win over the reigning Super Bowl champion Ravens.

“He’s a very good leader, makes good decisions at quarterback, can throw the ball really well,” six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas said. “I’ve been very pleased with the way he’s been running the offense.

“I like the way Jason’s very calm under pressure because it leads to being able to make big plays when it matters. We saw what he did twice on fourth-and-one (last Sunday). I just like that calm, steady presence at quarterback that he brings.”