The September trade of running back Trent Richardson and the promotion of third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer to the starting job prior to Week 3 seemed like huge gambles at the time, but both moves ended up paying off for the Browns. Cleveland is 4-5 and firmly in the mix for the second wild-card spot in the AFC.
Though the Browns' quarterback situation seems stable for the moment with Jason Campbell leading the way, the roller-coaster ride that has been Cleveland's 2013 season will likely have a few more twists and turns along the way.
With nearly two months remaining in the regular season, it's certainly possible that the free-wheeling Browns could still end up taking the ultimate gamble -- signing Tim Tebow. These are three reasons why:
The Browns Are One Play Away From Disaster At Quarterback
When Campbell was hurt during the first quarter of Cleveland's Week 9 win over the Baltimore Ravens, you could almost hear a pin drop at FirstEnergy Stadium, but that quiet was soon replaced by boos and the collective groan of a Browns fan base that knew what Campbell's injury meant -- that Brandon Weeden would have to enter the game.
Mercifully, Campbell only missed one series with what turned out to be bruised ribs, but a near-miss like that should only reinforce the Browns need to pick up another quarterback. This, after all, is a team that has had injury problems at that position all season long. Playing behind a line that has already allowed 31 sacks in 2013, Campbell likely hasn't seen his last punishing blow from an opposing defensive lineman.
The reception Weeden received upon his entry this past weekend is just more proof that he has worn out his welcome in Cleveland. I'm no Tebow fan by any means, but at this point, I'd rather see him over Weeden as Cleveland's starter if Campbell were to go down.
There's Just Not Many Other Options Out There At Quarterback
With the trade deadline having passed last week, the remaining pool of available quarterbacks with NFL experience is a veritable wasteland of players such as JaMarcus Russell that never lived up to their potential, guys like Vince Young who simply flamed out, and then Tebow, who deserves a category all his own.
I'm never going to knock the Denver Broncos for signing Peyton Manning in 2012, as Manning has turned the Broncos into a legitimate threat to win the Super Bowl, but Denver sold out Tebow in the process. Tebow's thanks for leading the Broncos to a playoff win in 2011 was getting traded to the New York Jets shortly after Denver signed Manning. Despite having major issues at quarterback throughout the entire 2012 season, Tebow never got a chance to start for the Jets. After being released by New York in April, Tebow had zero chance of being anything more than a third-string quarterback for the New England Patriots before they cut him in August.
I'd rather see the Browns sign a quarterback that has never played his way out of a job over a has-been or a never-was any day of the week.
Tebow Could Actually Have Some Success With This Team
Tebow went 8-5 in 2011 leading a Denver offense that is very similar talent-wise to what the Browns have right now. Browns running back Willis McGahee is a couple of years older now, but he had an outstanding year for the Broncos in 2011 when he ran for 1,199 yards. Cleveland wide receiver Josh Gordon and Denver wideout Demaryius Thomas are about on the same level, but Browns tight end Jordan Cameron is far superior to any tight end that Denver trotted out in 2011.
With Tebow bringing his ability to rush the football to plate, Cleveland's anemic running game would immediately become more of a focus for opposing defenses. If Tebow were to even somewhat effectively utilize the talent Cleveland possesses at receiver, there is no reason to think that the Browns couldn't be competitive, especially since this Cleveland team has a better defense than Denver had in 2011.
I hope it doesn't get to that point, but right now, Tebow sure seems like an upgrade over Weeden to me.
Shaun Heidrick is a Yahoo Contributor who has followed the Cleveland Browns for over 25 years.
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