COMMENTARY | Sad to say, but maybe the grass won't be greener on the other side for the Cleveland Browns.
Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden's status is still up in the air for Cleveland's Week 8 tilt against the Kansas City Chiefs, but what little grip he has left on the starting job has to be tenuous after one of the worst performances of his two-year NFL career in a 31-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers on October 20. Weeden finished that game with a dreadful 48.6 quarterback rating, and connected on just 17 of his 42 passes for 149 yards -- an embarrassing 3.5 yards per attempt.
With Weeden struggling on a near-weekly basis as the Browns continue their slide down the standings in the AFC North, it's natural to assume that Cleveland's offense would be improved under the guidance of backup quarterback Jason Campbell. If Campbell does get the nod against the Chiefs, the Browns will be a better team offensively.
But not by much.
Campbell is Cleveland's backup for a reason -- basically, because he hasn't been very good as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Even though he was surrounded by some skilled position players during his days with the Washington Redskins, Campbell was never able to get the Redskins offense to a point where they put up points consistently.
In Campbell's 52 starts between 2006 and 2009 with Washington, the Redskins averaged 17.8 points a game -- the same exact average that Weeden's Browns have posted in his 19 starts. That's kind of a scary thought, considering Weeden never had a running back like Clinton Portis to help shoulder the offensive load.
That kind of ineffective play is likely one of the reasons why the Browns bypassed Campbell in favor of third-stringer Brian Hoyer after Weeden was ruled out of Cleveland's Week 3 game with the Minnesota Vikings. As we all know, Hoyer was a revelation for the Browns in leading them to consecutive wins before going down for the year with a torn ACL in Week 4 against the Buffalo Bills.
Certainly, the Browns saw something in Hoyer to give him the nod over Campbell in Week 3, but it really makes you wonder how a quarterback with 71 career starts managed to get passed over in favor of someone with just one career start heading into 2013.
His career struggles notwithstanding, the main reason the Browns' offense would not be much improved against the Chiefs with Campbell at the helm is because Kansas City's defense has been astonishingly good in 2013.
The Kansas City defense is allowing just 11.6 points per game this season, easily tops in the NFL. The Chiefs' specialty is pass defense, which is not good news for a Browns passing game that has been inconsistent for most of the year. Kansas City is in the top three in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game, completion percentage allowed, and interceptions -- that's when the opposing quarterback isn't buried in the turf, as the Chiefs already have 35 sacks not even midway through the season.
For Browns fans hoping that Campbell can recreate some of Hoyer's magic, it's not likely to happen at Arrowhead.
But hey, at least it wouldn't be Weeden out there stinking it up.
Shaun Heidrick is a Yahoo Contributor who has followed the Cleveland Browns for over 25 years.
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