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Weeden injury might force Browns to start Campbell

The SportsXchange

BEREA, Ohio -- Punishment inflicted on Brandon Weeden in the first two games of the season is starting to take a toll on the Cleveland Browns quarterback one month shy of his 30th birthday.

Weeden was knocked out of the game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday when he banged his thumb on the helmet of left guard John Greco late in the fourth quarter. Weeden has been sacked 11 times and hit a total of 28 times during the Browns' 0-2 start.

Coach Rob Chudzinski said he is leaving his options open whether to start Jason Campbell or Brian Hoyer against the Vikings this Sunday if Weeden cannot play. Chudzinski said he won't know until later whether Weeden can practice Wednesday.

Campbell played the final series against the Ravens. He was faced with a near-impossible situation when he entered the game with 3:34 remaining. He took over at the Browns' 1-yard line with no timeouts left and Cleveland trailing, 14-6. After a pass interference gave the Browns some breathing room at the Cleveland 22, Campbell threw three incomplete passes under a heavy rush. An underhand toss to Jordan Cameron on fourth-and-10 gained six yards.

Weeden is wearing a black brace on his right hand to support his thumb, and said he could not put pressure on the ball. X-rays were negative.

Campbell and Hoyer are taking the approach all backup quarterbacks take; they are preparing like the starter just in case.

"You have to go out there and get the job done," Campbell said. "I haven't played in a couple weeks. I'm going to have the opportunity maybe to gets reps in practice. I'm going to prepare like I'm the starter just like I always have.

"You never know when situations become available and you have to be ready."

If Campbell has to start, his teammates will be behind him, running back Trent Richardson said.

"Jason will do well," Richardson said. "He's got to know that we believe in him. He and Brandon were battling all camp. He's got a big arm.

"Jason has to make sure that he controls the offense. Game management, all that, he's got to make sure that he can step up and be the captain. We know he can. So he's just got to be him."

The Browns signed Campbell to a two-year contract in March. He started one game with the Bears last year.

-- Rookie linebacker Barkevious Mingo did not start against the Ravens. He entered on the ninth play of the game with the Ravens facing first-and-10, beat left tackle Bryant McKinnie to the outside and dumped quarterback Joe Flacco for a nine-yard loss. It was the key play in stopping the Ravens' opening drive. Two plays later Justin Tucker was wide right on a field goal attempt from 50 yards. It was Mingo's first play since suffering a bruised lung in the preseason game against the Lions on Aug. 15.

With 3:19 left in the second quarter, Mingo drew a holding penalty while rushing Ravens punter Sam Koch. The extra 10 yards gave the Browns the ball on the Cleveland 32.

Mingo finished with two tackles and the sack.

--Prior to playing the Ravens, offensive coordinator Norv Turner said he wanted Richardson to get the ball 20 times. Richardson carried it 18 times for 58 yards, a 3.2-yard average. He caught five passes for 21 yards - a 4.2 average. His longest play all day gained nine yards.

"What more could I do? That's a tough question," Richardson said. "Play harder, no matter what. I knew there was going to be a bull's-eye. But it's going to be like that every week. So if they put a bull's-eye on me every week, other people have got to step up and make plays.

"As a team, as a unit, we've just got to do that and we've got to execute."

Richardson averaged 3.6 yards a carry last season.

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