Jason Campbell is currently penciled in as the No. 2 quarterback in Cleveland, behind Brandon Weeden. But Campbell believes he can start. And the Browns think he has a real chance to beat out Weeden in a competition that will span most of the next four months.
Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Browns are reluctant to hand the job to Weeden, and that Campbell has a legitimate shot to win the job. That meshes with what Browns coach Rob Chudzinski is saying (or not saying): Chudzinski is refusing to tip his hand when asked about the team’s quarterback situation.
For his part, Campbell says it still sticks in his craw that his best chance to prove himself as a starter, in 2011 with the Raiders, was cut short: Campbell started the first six games and was playing well, and the Raiders were off to a 4-2 start and in contention to win a weak AFC West. But Campbell got hurt in Week Six, the Raiders traded for Carson Palmer, and with that Campbell was done in Oakland.
“I was off to the best season of my career,” Campbell said. “To wake up and find out about the trade [for Palmer] and know I wasn’t starting anymore, it was a tough pill to swallow. . . . I feel I was really taking off, really blossoming, really having an opportunity to control the line of scrimmage and see some things and change a couple plays here and there based off what I’ve seen before and having experience in that offense.”
In Cleveland, Campbell says he wants to start, but he’s also eager to help Weeden in any way he can.
“It’s not about egos and things like that,” he said. “I’m going to help Brandon as much as possible, but at the same time, I’m going to push him and compete.”
That’s a competition Campbell may very well win.