Ravens cut Huff, Spears
When the Ravens visit Cleveland on Sunday for the teams' second meeting of the season, so much will be different about this Browns offense that calling the game a rematch might be a misnomer.
Compared with that Week 2 game, a sluggish, 14-6 Ravens win at M&T Bank Stadium, the Browns will feature a new starting running back (Willis McGahee), a new starting receiver (Josh Gordon) and a new starting quarterback (Jason Campbell).
All three could play major roles in determining whether the Browns can end the Ravens' 11-game winning streak over their AFC North rival.
And it all starts with Campbell, the third quarterback to start for the Browns this year. Campbell made his first start of the season last week and went 22 for 36 for 293 yards and two touchdowns in a 23-17 loss to undefeated Kansas City.
"He was able to manage the game, was able to escape and get out of trouble, create some plays," Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. "He did a good job from a decision-making standpoint, protected the football, and he gave us a lift in that game. We were really pleased with how he played.”
Campbell, 31, is in his ninth NFL season and with his fourth pro team. He began the year as a backup to Brandon Weeden, but then Weeden was lost with a thumb injury sustained against the Ravens. The Browns turned to Brian Hoyer, who sparked the team to a pair of wins before suffering a season-ending knee injury against Buffalo.
Weeden then returned as the starter, but after an ineffective outing against Green Bay, he was benched.
The Ravens game will be Campbell's 73rd career start and his second against the Ravens. With the Redskins in 2008, Campbell went 21-for-37 for 218 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in a 24-10 Ravens win. He played briefly in the first matchup this season, replacing the injured Weeden in the closing minutes. He went 1-for-4 for 6 yards.
"He’s a big guy, and he’s got the arm," Ravens defensive lineman Chris Canty said of the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Campbell. "He can make all the NFL throws. ... He’s been around the game and he understands the game. He’s not going to do things that are going to put his team in situations where it can be detrimental."
Many thought the Browns had essentially thrown up the white flag when the traded running back Trent Richardson, but they reeled off three straight wins right after the trade. Now after three straight losses, the Browns (3-5) are looking to the veteran Campbell to end the skid and keep their season relevant.
“Our emphasis is to play four full quarters," Campbell told the Browns web site. "We haven’t done that just yet. In the games, we’ve played a good half or a good quarter. Our goal is to start to put together four quarters of football, be more consistent with what we’re doing. That way, we can strive and move forward as an offense and as a team.”