By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Extra Points …
The rub on the ribs: Nobody is blaming Jason Campbell’s bad outing in Cincinnati on the sore ribs that he injured two weeks earlier when Baltimore’s 340-pound Haloti Ngata fell on him with the ball pressing his rib cage.
But for the first time on Wednesday, Campbell hinted that he felt discomfort throughout the game. He chose to play without a flak jacket and it just might have entered his mind to protect the ribs when he elected to check down with short passes instead of running with the ball.
In Kansas City, Campbell ran three times for 17 yards. Two of the runs on back-to-back plays totaled 9 yards and set up a fourth-and-1 conversion.
Against Baltimore, Campbell ran three times for 20 yards. He scrambled for 7 yards just before a 20-yard TD pass to Davone Bess. In the second half, he had a run for 12 yards and a first down.
In Cincinnati, Campbell did not run beyond the line of scrimmage a single time.
“He made no indication of (the ribs bothering him) in talking to him,” said coach Rob Chudzinski. “He felt fine. I think the biggest thing is he was never able to get into a rhythm. He’s anxious to get going this week and play the way he can.”
Campbell repeated the “getting into a rhythm” mantra in answer to one question about his ribs.
But when asked about not wearing a flak jacket, he said, “That's (in the) rear-view mirror. You try not to think about it. You play this game ... you’re on the field, you’re healthy enough to play. That’s how I look at it. I’m on the field. I’m healthy enough to play. That’s why I have to go.
"It was a challenge last week, but it’s a new week now. I just try not to put too much focus on that, not at all. I feel great, feel good. I go out and play."
Call for help: Chudzinski disclosed that he gave a pep talk to the rookie players on the roster.
“We’re 10 games in. The young guys, rookies aren’t rookies anymore. It’s time to step up and get better and continue to get better, which I think they are. We need them now to really turn it on,” Chudzinski said.
The context of Chud’s response was a question about the special teams, where many of the first-year players get playing time.
Included in that group is No. 1 pick Barkevious Mingo, who missed a block on the punt block returned for a TD in Cincinnati and also has done a disappearing act on defense in spot duty behind Jabaal Sheard.
Mingo still leads the team with four sacks, but has been victimized in the run game.
“There’s always going to be some ups and downs, but generally you see the improvement as a trend,” Chudzinski said of Mingo. “Sometimes those things aren’t things that show up on TV or until you look at (the film) afterward and see his technique improvement. I see a lot of things coming from Barkevious. I think he’ll continue to go that way because that’s the type of player he is, the person, the attention to detail that he has.”
Keep out: Receiver Greg Little was one of three former University of North Carolina players involved in a 2010 scandal that received a letter of permanent dissociation from the school. He is not allowed at any athletic facilities on campus. The others were Robert Quinn and Marvin Austin.
The players received impermissible benefits from potential agents, such as cash and travel accomodations, and were permanently suspended in the 2010 season. The scandal resulted in the firing of coach Butch Davis, and the departure of the school’s athletic director and chancellor.
Little said, “North Carolina’s a great univerisity. I wish things weren’t the way they were. I’ll just continue to support them from afar.
“I think there’s been some wrongful accusing there. There’s a lot of people that I hurt. I think a lot of the blame should be put on me, much less than attacking other people. I kind of understand what they’re doing, trying to protect their athletes. But a lot of the times it’s just self-inflicted. I think they’re trying to clean up various other things as well.”
Quick hitters: LB Tank Carder filled in at Wednesday practice for Craig Robertson (knee) and may have to make his first start Sunday against Pittsburgh … TE MarQueis Gray (hamstring) also did not practice. With WR Armonti Edwards (ankle) placed on injured reserve, that means WR Davone Bess would be the Browns’ “emergency emergency quarterback” if need be, according to Chudzinski.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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