Hannie could start against Patriots

Posted Dec 2, 2013

Senior Editor Vic Carucci says the Browns could very well have newly signed Caleb Hanie start at quarterback against the Patriots Sunday.

Nothing captures the state of the Browns’ season better than this: there’s a distinct possibility Caleb Hanie, signed on Tuesday, will start on Sunday against the Patriots.

The latest calamity to hit the Browns’ quarterbacking position, the concussion Brandon Weeden suffered during Sunday’s loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars, has great potential to make for an extremely tricky week of practice and meetings.

That’s because the Browns might not have a handle on Weeden’s health status until Wednesday, if they even do by then, and because they might not have a handle on the status of their other concussed quarterback, Jason Campbell, until Wednesday, if they even do by then.

If Weeden and Campbell are unavailable, the Browns would be left with two healthy quarterbacks: Hanie and Alex Tanney, whom they signed from the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad last week after Campbell was injured against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“There are multiple scenarios that we have to be ready for,” Chudzinski said Monday on “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford.” “As we get more information on Brandon and Jason and get a sense of where they’re at, as they’re going through the NFL concussion protocol, we’ll know a little bit more of where to go.”

By all indications, the Browns would prefer that Tanney not make his first career NFL start against the Patriots. Most of that is because of his lack of experience and familiarity with the Browns’ offense – not to mention the fact he has almost no feel for his surrounding cast – but some of that is because of the complexity of Belichick’s defense. The likelihood of Tanney being overwhelmed under such circumstances, despite already being under contract, is simply too great for him to be viewed as a better option than someone with more experience.

For the many Weeden-bashers who would suggest that the Browns couldn’t do worse than going with someone other than the second-year quarterback who has struggled through most of his five starts, you’re wrong. They could. Despite his two interceptions and fumble against Jacksonville, Weeden still threw for 370 yards and three touchdowns, finishing with a solid passer rating of 94.8. He still was the one who delivered the throws that allowed Josh Gordon to make NFL history with his second 200-yard-plus receiving day in a row (after also being largely responsible for Gordon’s first 200-yard-plus output against the Steelers).

Tanney’s trick-shot passing skills notwithstanding, he could easily be set up for disaster by being pushed into the lineup this soon in his career and after his arrival in Cleveland. The same also could be said for Hanie, despite his six years of NFL experience and four career starts.

“All of those possibilities are still alive, and we’ll just wait and see as we go," Chudzinski said. "And whoever it is that’s going to be our starter, we’ll get him ready to play.

“And you can’t do anything about that other than move forward, and that’s what you talk with the team about. It is the situation, and you have to adjust and we have to deal with that and go forward. And whoever that is, get him ready and put him in the best position to help us win.”

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