Could Hoyer And Campbell Both Be In The Browns' Plans For 2014?
By Steven King
Now the Cleveland Browns have two Brian Hoyers. Or is two Jason Campbells? One of each?
In any event, what once was the team’s weakest link – its group of quarterbacks – may now be one of its stronger position areas going forward. There are some NFL teams that have no quarterbacks they can trust to make plays. But if the little we’ve seen from Campbell and Hoyer is any indication – and it has to be at this point, for we have nothing else to go on – then the Browns may well have two such quarterbacks going into 2014.
But nothing is ever that simple, or easy.
Here’s the most intriguing aspect of this whole situation: What Cleveland’s deep thinkers must figure out at some point is which one will serve as the mentor for the quarterback the team most certainly will take at or near the top of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Will it be Hoyer? Or Campbell? Could it be both?
After Hoyer played so well in his three starts, rescuing the team from an 0-2 start before his mad scramble in Week 5 against Buffalo resulted in a season-ending knee injury, it was almost universally understood that Hoyer would be that man. He would get healthy again in the off-season and would play until the rookie was ready and/or Hoyer began to struggle, and at that point – next year, 2015 or whenever that is – the reins of the offense would change hands.
However, with the way Campbell played against the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday, couldn’t he just as easily be that mentor? After all, he threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions as he nearly directed the Browns to a huge upset before WR Davone Bess got a case of the dropsies and ruined it all.
Really, what’s the difference between the two, other than their age and experience level? Hoyer just turned 28 and has five years of NFL experience during which he has played little, while Campbell is 31 and has a good amount of experience in his nine seasons. That’s not really that much, to be honest.
There’s the fact that Hoyer is the man Browns GM Mike Lombardi jumped at the chance to sign last off-season, so from that standpoint, he gets the edge and probably a big one at that. Thus, if the Browns keep only two quarterbacks on the roster when they begin next season – the veteran and the rookie – Hoyer would likely be the one serving in the former role.
But quarterbacks can and do drop in droves in the NFL – Cleveland is already on its third starter and the season is only at the midway point – so it might behoove the club to keep Campbell as well and make it a threesome.
After all, let’s say Hoyer starts the 2014 season and gets hurt again. Instead of force-feeding the rookie and throwing him into the fire before he’s really ready, the Browns could simply turn to Campbell and not lose much, if anything.
The other part of this is that Cleveland could possibly use Campbell as trade bait for a team whose quarterback situation is in a mess because of injuries and desperately needs one.
We’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.
But in the very least, it adds some interesting possibilities, especially at a position that seemed so uninteresting as late as a week ago. Campbell was the last man standing and had been passed over at least twice for the starting job since the beginning of the season.
And speaking of Campbell being the last man standing, the Browns have to keep him that way. If he gets hurt and the club has to go back to Weeden, then things would get uninteresting again very quickly. More than that, it would be a disaster.
The Browns found a nugget again with Campbell, five weeks after they had found one in Hoyer. But there are no more nuggets left to be found. Of that everybody can be sure.