Campbell gets tough draw in first start

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
3:37
PM ET
Jason Campbell rattled off the stats, which he clearly knew by heart.

"They're No. 1 in third down," he said of the Kansas City Chiefs. "No. 1 in red zone. No 1, I think, in points allowed."

Campbell
Yes, that would be correct, No. 1 in points allowed.

Which of course leaves out the one stat the Chiefs are most known for: They lead the NFL with 35 sacks, 10 more than the second-best team.

And he left out that the Chiefs are first in the league in takeaways and third in net passing yards per game.

If it seems like Campbell drew a short straw to be named the Cleveland Browns starter this week ... well perhaps it's because he did.

Named to replace the ineffective Brandon Weeden as the Browns starting quarterback, Campbell gets to face all the above, and play in Arrowhead, recently dubbed by the Guiness Book of World Records as the loudest outdoor stadium on earth when decibels were measured at jet-plan level late in Kansas City's Oct. 13 win over Oakland.

"It's definitely a challenge," Campbell said. "Each and every week is a challenge."

Especially when you're a Cleveland Browns quarterback.

Which leads to several other thoughts about Rob Chudzinski decided to make this switch:
  • It was tough to see any other decision given the way Weeden was playing. That being said, the reality that Campbell had been passed over twice before left a little bit of doubt. Campbell watched as Brian Hoyer became the starter after Weeden's thumb injury, then watched again when Weeden regained the spot after Hoyer's knee injury. It almost seemed as if the Browns didn't want to play Campbell, and maybe they didn't. Until they had to.
  • Campbell is soft-spoken and unemotional but he presents himself well. He never complained about being on the sidelines, always said he was with the team to help, and didn't gloat or overstate things now that he's starting. "I'm a competitor and any competitor wants to play," Campbell said. "At the same time just because it doesn't go your way doesn't mean you just get inside yourself. You root for the next guy. We're all professionals. We're all on the same team. Our main goal is to win. That's first and foremost. I believe if you can stick to that mindset and not make things about you, I think your team always has the opportunity to grow in a mature way. It's all about how you handle situations. My nine years playing this game, it's never been about one person. Guys that make it that way, it becomes a bad apple to the team."
  • Chudzinski said over and over again that Campbell's skills give the Browns the best chance in this game against this defense and with this game plan. It will be interesting to see what that means exactly, but presumably it has something to do with getting rid of the ball and making timely and decisive decisions (decisive decisions?).
  • The Browns coach also hinted that he may switch back to Weeden -- or to a quarterback to be named -- if he feels the need. His continual statement -- and it's a good one -- is that he'll do what gives the Browns the best chance to win. But he also admitted going back and forth "isn't ideal." Tough to argue that point.

Pat McManamon

ESPN Cleveland Browns reporter

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