By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Extra Points …
QB carousel spinning again: Brandon Weeden probably will start and the Browns will look at Caleb Hanie as a candidate to back him up for Sunday’s game against Jacksonville.
Hanie will come in Tuesday for a look-see, according to a source, even though coach Rob Chudzinski would not rule out Jason Campbell just yet. Campbell reported to the facility on Monday and was sent home early. Campbell can’t be cleared to practice or play until he passes the league’s protocol on concussions.
The Browns have been one quarterback short ever since Brian Hoyer suffered a season-ending knee injury on Oct. 3. The only quarterback they made a try for was Scott Tolzien, who was on Green Bay’s practice squad but elected to stay with the Packers.
The Browns have declined to add one from the available pool of has-beens and never-weres until now. “We’re looking at all those options. There’s a good chance we’ll sign one before the game,” Chudzinski said.
Hanie, 28, was undrafted coming out of Colorado State in 2008. He made the roster of the Chicago Bears and kept a job with them through 2011. Hanie moved on to the Denver Broncos in 2012 and began the 2013 preseason with the Baltimore Ravens. Hanie has been unsigned since the Ravens released him on Aug. 30.
A crisis in confidence?: Cornerback Joe Haden conceded after the 27-11 loss to Pittsburgh that the sight of Campbell leaving the game was deflating to the team. Chudzinski’s task now is to try to put the toothpaste back into the tube and restore confidence in the locker room in Weeden, who has been demoted two times already.
Chudzinski skirted a question about whether there is a crisis in confidence in the locker room.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “I think whoever it is, (the quarterback) is going to prepare to be ready to play. I feel confident every time we go into a game of all the guys on our team regardless of position. We’re putting on the Cleveland Browns uniform and I believe in them.”
Chudzinski also denied that Weeden has lost confidence in his game. Weeden delivered two more turnovers against Pittburgh – a lost fumble and an interception returned for a touchdown – and his season passer rating is down to 66.0.
“I think he does (still have confidence),” Chudzinski said. “If he doesn’t, (he wouldn’t be) leading us down to a score. That was big for going into to next week to be able to do that.”
Weeden teamed with receiver Josh Gordon to cobble together a 78-yard touchdown drive in a minute, 14 seconds late in the fourth quarter. Gordon had four catches for 78 yards and the TD in the spree.
What about the booing?: Weeden keeps getting booed at home and now he will have to face another obstacle when he starts the Jacksonville game.
“It’s difficult,” Chudzinski said. “I understand the fans perspective, where they’re coming from. At the end of the day, he’s a Cleveland Brown. We need him to win, to help us win.
“He’s done some good things this season. He’s our second team quarterback. Or was our second team quarterback. We’ll see what we do this week. Chances are he’ll start this week.”
Defensive end Desmond Bryant said this about the booing:
“That doesn’t help and I think that’s unfortunate. Weeden comes in and he works and I think he goes out there to give it his all and tries to put out a good product for us. I understand the frustration of the fans. But … we need all the support we can get. I definitely have heard quarterbacks booed before. I think at times as a fan, it’s kind of hard to really sit back and think about, (but) he’s a man coming to work every day and he tries. It’s not always going to work for him, for me. It’s difficult for fans to think that way. I understand.”
Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said:
“He’s the next guy up. On the defensive side of the ball, we’ve dealt with injuries. You see it every year. Just this year’s been kind of a crazy story with the quarterback position. We can’t keep guys healthy. That’s a part of the game.
“I’ve always been behind Brandon from Day One. It’s the back and forth game. You have to always prepare as if you’re playing. He came into the game, you could hear the boos around the stadium, but you have to block it out. It comes with the territory.”
Injury report: Besides Campbell’s concussion, Chudzinski said that the status of linebacker Tank Carder (shoulder) and cornerback Buster Skrine (ribs) would be evaluated during the week.
|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 email@example.comFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
Return to: Grossi Stories Blog