“Aren’t they doing kind of OK right now?”
That was the question posed about the Cleveland Browns this morning by my beautiful bride as she played Candy Crush on her iPad while we drank coffee (Yes, this is a marriage of the 21st century).
That statement was about as good a way as any to sum up the 2013 Browns, especially when she added that “kind of OK” means the Browns have essentially made the playoffs.
Which, in Cleveland, makes sense.
Since there was no real way to answer her question, it seems fitting to ask three more about the Browns as they enjoy their bye week.
-- What might happen?
The other shoe drops on Jason Campbell.
The Browns quarterback who has played the last two games has been a different person from the rest of his career.
Campbell’s two-game rating of 110.9 is more than one-third better than his career rating of 82.5 in 77 games and 71 starts entering this season. He’s averaging 277.5 yards per game, compared to a career average of 190.7. He has yet to throw an interception.
He’s been a marvel.
But it’s not been his career path, and usually guys wind up back on that path -- the old “they are what they are” notion.
It could be that Campbell is the third arrival of Jim Plunkett or Doug Williams and has found himself in the perfect spot with the perfect coaches.
Or it could be that he’s the guy he’s been his whole career and he will find that level.
If so, the thud when he returns to earth could be loud.
--What can’t happen?
All that being said about Campbell, the Browns simply cannot afford to have him get hurt.
The Browns already are rolling the dice a bit by not signing a third quarterback -- though it’s not like Aaron Rodgers is waiting on the street. An injury to Campbell brings the Browns back to Brandon Weeden and a player to be named.
Based on the confidence level in the locker room with Weeden, that might not play well in Painesville.
A no-run order might be in order for the quarterback.
--What needs to happen?
With all respect to the talent and insight of Joe Thomas, it’s tough to see the Browns surviving the final seven games with such an anemic running game.
The NFL has become a passing league, yes, but there are times when a team needs to run the ball to win -- be it late when leading or in nasty weather, which is known to happen from time to time in Cleveland.
The Browns have what they have. Willis McGahee, Fozzy Whittaker and Chris Ogbonnaya are the backs -- and offensive coordinator Norv Turner revealed last week that Ogbonnaya has been playing with injured ribs.
It’s tough to make chicken salad from chicken feathers, as they say (OK ... no, not really), so the Browns have to make do.
The best that can be said is that it’s been good enough in the two games Campbell started.