Teammates confident in Campbell

Posted Oct 24, 2013

Jason Campbell’s teammates have confidence in his ability to lead the team to victory.

After coach Rob Chudzinski named Jason Campbell the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns heading into Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, the players began their on-field preparation for the NFL’s lone undefeated team.

Following two days of meetings and on-field work, Campbell, a nine-year NFL veteran, has earned the confidence of his teammates.

“I think Jason’s going to do a great job,” said Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas. “We’ve had a little bit of experience with him, so it’s not going to be totally fresh. There will be a little bit of a learning curve because we don’t have as many snaps with him as we did with Brandon (Weeden), but I think he’ll come in and do a great job for us.”

Running back Willis McGahee, who spent the last two seasons with the Denver Broncos, competed against Campbell when the quarterback was with the Raiders in 2011, and is well aware of what the veteran signal-caller brings to the team.

That’s why he kept his advice to Campbell short and sweet before Wednesday’s practice.

“When you get an opportunity, take advantage of it. That’s all you can say,” McGahee said. “Jason has prepared (well) for his opportunity. He’s been in this situation before. He was a first-round pick, played in a lot of games. This is his time to show people what he can do.”

Campbell brings to the offense 71 career NFL starts, and a positive touchdown-to-interception ratio in each of the seasons in which he has started at least six games. And in gaining that experience, Campbell adds a “strong” sense of leadership to the huddle, according to Thomas.

“He’s steady,” Thomas said. “He’s got a lot of experience in this league. He’s played in a lot of different spots, so he knows how to get the job done at quarterback.

“It’s really valuable to have any game experience in the NFL, and to have as many starts as he does is really valuable for us. This will be his first start with the Browns, but he’s played in every system you can imagine, so he’s quick to pick things up.”

As far as a transition from Weeden to Campbell, the Browns’ offensive linemen believe it should be seamless after a few days of practice.

“There’s no real change for us,” right tackle Mitchell Schwartz said. “It’s all the same plays that Brandon and Brian (Hoyer) have run so far. You’ve just got to get a good understanding. He should be at the same spot in the pocket as the other guys because they’re getting coached the same on that.”

Center Alex Mack added, “He’s gotten reps with us all the time. The second-string QB has always done the run reps in practice, so you’re out there for that and we’re experienced with him. There’s nothing new.

“You’ve been doing that since camp. Every day in camp, you switch guys around and do the center-quarterback exchange, and in all these different drills, we’re always using these different quarterbacks.”

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