In the proud tradition of overreaction Monday, there are already in Cleveland calling or hinting at calling for Jason Campbell to come in and play quarterback for the Browns. As was mentioned in an article last week, the matchup between Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannehill would lead to drastic reactions if the quarterbacks looked good, bad or somewhere in the middle. Weeden looked bad while Tannehill struggled at times but ultimately found a way to make it work. As a result, Weeden is a massive bust and there is already talk of benching Weeden. Specifically, Dustin Fox gave Weeden one week to look better or he would start calling for Campbell on his the Animal House on 92.3 today. People are welcome to get worked up about which quarterback they want to start under center for the Browns of the three they have, but it is largely a waste of time. Everything about this season is evaluating the roster and especially the quarterback spot to figure out whether or not they need to address the quarterback position early in next May’s draft, which the first game for Weeden suggested they do.
Weeden was mediocre at best and was downright terrible at worst, but if he is not the guy, which he most likely is not (as most people who have read this website know), the answer is not currently on the Browns roster. It is not Campbell and it is not Brian Hoyer. Campbell has had 71 games of mediocre quarterbacking in his career to prove he cannot be anything more than a solid backup. And while people will trot out Hoyer’s stats against the third stringers in Chicago (seriously, people are doing this), he is a nice third string guy who anticipates well but has extremely average tools. Hell, there are examples of people who brought up the name Tim Tebow as if any rational human being with any knowledge of the game of football can honestly believe he could do anything for this team or any other.
To Fox’s credit, he did not act like putting in Campbell would be a miraculous fix but he has been oddly infatuated with Campbell since he arrived in Cleveland for whatever reason. Fox has made it clear he would like a more athletic signal caller, which is fine, but Campbell is not the guy. Rather than being a statue in the pocket and being mediocre, he can run around a little bit and be mediocre. It is worth pointing out that as bad as Weeden played, the Browns were a few missed opportunities on both sides of the ball from winning this game. None of that makes Weeden any better at quarterback but just puts the game in perspective.
The answer to the Browns quarterback conundrum is currently playing in college. Whether it is someone like Teddy Bridgewater, Tajh Boyd, Jeff Mathews, Derek Carr, Stephen Morris or one of the other talented signal callers remains to be seen but the Browns were planning for this scenario in the draft last year. They gave Weeden this year in part because they wanted to see what he could do but also because of an incredibly weak crop of quarterbacks last year. The Browns added ammo in the form of a third and fourth round pick to bolster their ability to move up in the draft to get their guy. No, those two picks are not necessarily going to be involved in the deal but they make it easier to move a second round pick to make the move.
Ultimately, most coaches and front offices want their own quarterback anyway. The fact they gave Weeden this year does not change that situation. They want their guy, but they want to pick that player in a draft with talent at the position. The other benefit is the Browns will be able to get the offense installed and have the supporting cast ready to go when that quarterback is brought in, so the quarterback is the only one really learning the playbook rather than the entire team.
If it makes people feel better to put different flavors of bad quarterback out there rather than ordering the usual poop sandwich, so be it, but the reality of the situation is not going to change. The Browns are likely going to draft a quarterback in the first two rounds of next year’s draft and more than likely, will make a move to get who they want. The issue now is identifying who the right guy is and getting them. Bridgewater is unlikely, but the other possibilities could definitely come into play. Maybe a Campbell-led Browns team would be slightly better than a Weeden one and that is fine, but neither one really matters in the long term for the Browns quarterback situation. The Browns front office had a pretty good idea of what they were getting this year and were prudent enough to plan for it with the draft last year, so the rabble of people complaining about trading with the Steelers may become far more important if that pick helps their land their franchise quarterback.