Before I'm called out on the carpet for that last statement, let me clarify that the Browns do not need a quarterback to replace or to even compete with Jason Campbell for the starting job. Campbell did fine in Week 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs, and hopefully he can put up a similar effort against the Ravens this weekend.
Instead, the Browns need a quarterback they can rely on in case the unthinkable happens and Campbell gets injured, because current backup Brandon Weeden is not up to the task of leading Cleveland's offense.
Weeden's confidence was at an all-time low the last time he was on the field in Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers. Weeden completed just 17 of 42 passes against the Packers, and finished the game with a dismal quarterback rating of 48.6. It was almost a mercy killing when Weeden was demoted by Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski a few days later.
Let's assume Weeden does get pressed into action at some point. Leading into the game, there will be the usual talk out of Browns' camp about how Weeden has changed -- that he releases the ball quicker, he isn't staring down receivers, he's been taking something off his short passes -- the same things we've all heard numerous times in the past year.
When he hits the field, Weeden may actually look like an improved quarterback for a half or three quarters -- but, this being Weeden, there will be that moment when he reverts back to the same old bad habits. The fact is, if you put him in either a close game in the fourth quarter or a game in which he is facing a heavy pass rush, you can pretty much guarantee that Weeden is going to cost the Browns a victory at some point.
I'm not saying the Browns need to get a Vince Young or a Tim Tebow. This team just needs a steady hand that has the tools to be a reliable quarterback, but hasn't been given a shot to play in the NFL. There has to be a quarterback on the market that fits that description -- after all, Brian Hoyer turned out fine despite having very few regular season snaps under his belt.
At this point, it doesn't even matter who Cleveland's backup is, as long as it's not Weeden.
Shaun Heidrick is a Yahoo Contributor who has followed the Cleveland Browns for over 25 years.
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