Eight games into the 2008 season, the Washington Redskins were 6-2 and Jason Campbell was inching toward “elite” status among NFL quarterbacks, according to some media outlets at the time.
Campbell is now in Cleveland for the next two seasons.
That we know. What we don’t know is what Campbell’s presence means for the Browns’ always-evolving quarterback situation.
Campbell possesses a few traits we can expect Browns quarterbacks to have as long as Rob Chudzinski is the head coach. He’s tall (6-foot-5). He’s big (230 pounds). He’s got a good completion percentage (60.9 percent). He’s got a strong arm, which brings the vertical threat into play.
But can Campbell actually start this fall? Is this the latest reincarnation of the Couch-Holcomb, Frye-Anderson or Quinn-Anderson debates?
No one knows exactly what Chudzinski’s plans are for Campbell. Just last year, after the Seattle Seahawks signed Matt Flynn to a three-year, $26-million free agent contract, he lost out to Russell Wilson for the starting job. It seemed to work out well for the Seahawks.
It never seems to work out well for the Browns.
So, can Campbell really earn the starting role come September?
Let’s look at this another way.
If you own a company that makes those oh-so-popular widgets and you’re the only company to do so in the tri-state era, you’ll have the market cornered. You’ll also be less likely to continue to push your company to be the best at making widgets because, hell, who else will my customers buy widgets from?
Then, one day, someone else started a widget making company across the street. Suddenly, the pressure is on to deliver or else you’ll lose business to the new company.
Competition breeds success and, unlike the Pat Shurmur manufactured quarterback competition last August, Brandon Weeden finds himself in need to compete.
That’s a good thing. We will truly find out if Weeden has what it takes to be the quarterback to lead this team out of the Land of Suck under the tutelage of Chudzinski and Norv Turner.
Don’t you want your quarterback to respond to adversity? If Weeden can perform when faced with his job on the line, surely he could rally his team down 10 points in the fourth quarter.
If Weeden fails to beat out Campbell, the Browns’ fall-back plan relies upon a proven veteran quarterback unlike the other options in Colt McCoy, Thaddeus Lewis or even the heavily-rumored Ryan Mallet.
While Campbell never returned to that early 2008 form, his career numbers are respectable. You can’t ask for much more in a backup quarterback.
Ether way, the Browns are in a good position. In the eyes of CEO Joe Banner, this has got to be a win-win signing. If Weeden fails to win the job, the other option is Campbell, who has 77 games of NFL experience.
Meanwhile, Banner can continue to build the talent level in other areas of the roster while not worrying about the quarterback position for the remainder of the 2013 season.
Yes, the Browns need a franchise quarterback to win consistently in this league. But the simple act of signing Campbell prevented the Browns from backing themselves into the corner of having to a draft a quarterback this year. They are able to continue to bolster the talent level in preparation for that future rookie quarterback.
What better way for a rookie quarterback to succeed than to surround him with loads of actual NFL talent?
However you look at it August will be an interesting month, as talk of the quarterback situation will surely dominate all Browns conversations.