Cleveland Browns: Caleb Hanie

Say goodbye to Caleb Hanie

December, 10, 2013
Caleb Hanie we hardly knew ye.

The Cleveland Browns released the quarterback one week after signing him, and just a couple days after he came sort of close to starting against New England.

To replace Hanie, the Browns signed running Edwin Baker off the Houston Texans' practice squad.

Baker’s signing likely means the concussion that sent Willis McGahee to the bench in the fourth quarter of the loss to New England will keep McGahee out against the Bears.

It also likely means that the Browns are comfortable with Jason Campbell’s health and with the recovery of Brandon Weeden. Both had been sidelined with concussions -- and Campbell didn’t return to practice until two days before the Patriots game.

Campbell figures to start against Chicago, with Weeden or Alex Tanney the backup.

Baker fits the mold of small backs brought in by Mike Lombardi. He’s 5-foot-8 and 210 pounds, about the same size as Fozzy Whittaker and Bobby Rainey (who was released).

He played at Michigan State before being a seventh-round choice out of San Diego in 2012.

Browns turn to Campbell ... again

December, 6, 2013
Jason Campbell gave the Cleveland Browns two starts this season, two days of practice this week and seven years of mostly uninspired play coming into 2013.

It was enough for the team to make Campbell the starter for Sunday's game in New England against the Patriots.

That's where the Browns are at the quarterback position, ready to send up fireworks when a guy who struggled his last two games after splitting his previous two was back on the field. Campbell's return does mean the Browns don't have to face Bill Belichick's defense with completely untested Alex Tanney or relatively untested Caleb Hanie.

Which is something.

Campbell spoke to the media for the first time since he was hit in the head by William Gay of the Steelers in the Browns' Nov. 24 loss to Pittsburgh. He said the hit to the head caused the injury, but he did not think the play was dirty.

"He was coming in trying to hit me, and I think when I saw him at the last minute I kind of ducked down a little bit and that's when he hit me right across the face," Campbell said. "I don't think it was a dirty hit. I don't think he was trying to do it. It was just right in the middle of the action of the play."

Campbell said his symptoms included dizziness, being light-headed and an inability to look at glaring lights.

"I was quarantined for a little bit," he said.

The Auburn product was able to watch the school's win over Alabama in the Iron Bowl. He said he felt by Wednesday that he was confident he would play.

"[It's] probably the best I've felt since I had a chance to play," Campbell said.

He also admitted his injured ribs sent him to the sidelines in the Pittsburgh loss, and that he was in significant pain in the loss to Cincinnati.

The team said the ribs were not broken, so what was wrong?

"Just hurting," Campbell said.

The week of practice had the Browns scratching their heads and wondering if they would be facing the Patriots with one hand tied behind their back.

Campbell said he couldn't even try to do anything until he was symptom free, and that didn't happen until Monday.

But in a big way the Browns really only have themselves to thank for it.

It was the Browns, after all, who put Colt McCoy back into the game with a concussion after James Harrison's vicious and late hit in Pittsburgh in 2011.
Norv Turner probably thought he had seen it all when his starting quarterback in Washington, Gus Frerotte, sprained his neck by head-butting a wall after a touchdown.

But in this, his first season as the Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator, Turner has dealt with a lot of unusual situations.

He’s used a different word each week for some element of the Browns' offense.

He’s discussed the run game as something that needs to be managed, and said the situation with the backs he has has been different.

Now he’s talking about not knowing the Browns quarterback with a game three days away.

“It’s a challenge,” Turner said.

That’s one word for it.

If Jason Campbell does not recover in time for Sunday’s game, the Browns appear headed to starting either Alex Tanney or Caleb Hanie, neither of whom have been with the team two weeks.

Either way the Browns could be making their fifth quarterback change this season, and perhaps starting their fourth different quarterback.

“There’s a lot of firsts for us this year,” Turner said.

Which kind of sums up the season. The last time the Browns went through four quarterbacks in a season was 2008, when Ken Dorsey played the final three games and Bruce Gradkowski was brought in off the street to start the finale. Gradkowski’s rating in that game: 2.8.

Now Turner works with the Tanney-Hanie combination.

“It’s a challenge,” Turner said. “But it’s not as hard on the coaches as it is on the players.”

Because players have to adjust to different throwing styles, different cadences, different feels from different passers.

If Campbell is back, there is at least some familiarity.

But if he isn’t, well ...

First and 10: Tanney and Hanie time?

December, 3, 2013
As the Browns stumble to the finish line, we present yet another First and 10:
  1. So it’s come to this. The Browns have two concussed quarterbacks, and they signed Caleb Hanie this morning, a guy they didn’t sign a week ago because they signed Alex Tanney. Neither have played a down for the Browns. Hanie has 116 career passes, three touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Tanney has never thrown a pass in his pro career, though he can hit a moving truck pretty well.
  2. Nothing is certain at this point. The Browns are hunkered down on “game plan day,” so they’re not releasing anything on the medical condition of Brandon Weeden or Jason Campbell except to say both have to be cleared by an independent doctor before they can practice. But the mere fact they signed Hanie indicates there is doubt, which makes Tanney-Hanie a clear possibility in New England on Sunday.
  3. Tanney-Hanie (potentially) against Bill Belichick. And Tom Brady. Wonder who gets the edge in the weekly matchup list. Yes ... it has come to this.
  4. Even if Weeden and Campbell are cleared, there’s always doubts about a guy returning from a concussion. Especially a quarterback who has to make fast decisions with a lot flying around him. A guy recently concussed might have issues with that part of the game.
  5. It’s reminiscent of Troy Aikman many years ago landing on his head for Dallas in the Championship Game against San Francisco. That’s the game Bernie Kosar finished the year he was cut by the Browns. Two weeks later, Aikman said he was fine, but he was not his usual self in the Super Bowl. The next season he admitted the effects from the concussions lingered.
  6. This quarterback situation is reminiscent of 2008, when Romeo Crennel had to start Ken Dorsey and Bruce Gradkowski in the final few games. It didn’t go well.
  7. Weeden had an absolutely awful final 2:30 of the first half, but let’s not junk the rest of his game because of two minutes. The turnovers count, they absolutely count, but at game’s end he had 370 yards and three touchdown -- which by most measures is a pretty good game. The turnovers were bad, though, so if a grade were forced it’d be a C-minus.
  8. Nobody can say Browns fans don’t have a great sense of humor. The latest example: A series of Cleveland Browns Christmas carols from an angry Browns fan on YouTube. It’s appropriate, and appropriately funny. My favorite: “Way up in your box Jimmy H ... Do you see what I see?”
  9. In my day, Browns Christmas Carols were a lot more fun. Like the Twelve Days of a Cleveland Browns Christmas. “Dave Logan leaping ... Brian Sipe a-passing.” Shame those days were, oh, 30 years ago.
  10. The Tanney-Hanie act. Say it out loud. Again. Got it? Now admit it -- it really sounds more like a law Congress passed in the 1840s, doesn’t it?