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Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Browns down to third-string quarterback

By Jamison Hensley

The Browns are down to third-string quarterback Thad Lewis after starter Brandon Weeden and backup Colt McCoy sat out Wednesday's practice with shoulder injuries.

This could be a case of history repeating itself.

The Browns faced an eerily similar scenario in 2008, when Cleveland was forced to start Bruce Gradkowski in the season finale at Pittsburgh after placing its top three quarterbacks -- Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson and Ken Dorsey -- all on injured reserve.

The result: the Browns lost 31-0. Gradkowski completed 5 of 16 passes for 18 yards with two interceptions. He didn't complete a pass for nearly 27 minutes and finished with a whopping 1.0 passer rating. General manager Phil Savage was fired immediately after the game and head coach Romeo Crennel was dismissed the next day.

Four years later, the Browns are dealing with another run of injuries at quarterback and uncertainty in the front office. Many expect the Browns to let general manager Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur go soon after the 2012  season ends.

If this is the end for this regime, there was improvement in the talent level even though it didn't translate in more wins. The Browns have a much better roster now than they did in January 2010, when Heckert took over.