Within the last week, the Cleveland Browns have changed the dynamic at the quarterback position.
First, they signed free agent passer Jason Campbell, late of the Bears, but before that a starter in Washington and Oakland to a two-year deal, and then yesterday, they traded Colt McCoy to San Francisco with a sixth round pick for a fifth rounder and a seventh rounder.
Campbell, as former coach Pat Shurmur famously called him, is a “big, pretty thrower”. At 6’5″ and 223 pounds and blessed with a big arm, he is very similar in size and style to Brandon Weeden. This means no matter who is the Browns’ starter this season, the offense that Norv Turner advocates, one that stresses downfield throws and a strong running game, can remain the same.
Besides the similarity in style, the switch also gives Rob Chudzinski and Turner a more experienced quarterback than the one that departed. Campbell has made 71 starts, with a career 31-40 record.
On the other side, McCoy has made 21 starts with a 6-15 record.
Campbell has a lifetime touchdown to interception ratio of 76 to 52. McCoy’s is 21 to 20.
The newest Brown’s career completion percentage is 60.9% and his average yards per attempt is 6.7, roughly the same numbers McCoy had during his rookie season, a year that had many feeling McCoy could be the Cleveland quarterback of the future.
That means that Campbell over his seven years in the league on average is as good as McCoy’s best. Of course, we all know that for whatever reason, Colt McCoy never played as well as he did his first year in the league again.
Since leaving Washington, Campbell has been better than he was with the Redskins, with an 11-8 record as a starter, firing 21 touchdowns while throwing 14 picks.
In 2010, a year the Raiders finished 8-8, they may have made the playoffs had Campbell not missed three games with injuries. Oakland lost all three contests and lost the division to Kansas City by two games. The following year, Oakland was off to a 4-2 start before the Browns, ironically ended Campbell’s season with a broken collarbone.
The Raiders acquired Carson Palmer in a horrible deal to try to make the playoffs that season, and the former Auburn Tiger never got his job back. He was a backup for the Bears last season.
There is no question he will provide real competition for Weeden for the starting job.
As for McCoy, for whatever reason, his career was never the same after the Jets game his rookie year, when he led a drive to tie the game and send it into overtime, and had a game winning drive snuffed out when WR Chansi Stuckey fumbled close to field goal range.
The Browns’ season fell apart, Eric Mangini was fired, and Pat Shurmur and his Stone Age offense came in.
Instead, Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell are the guys going forward. And based on statistics, there is no way you can say team president Joe Banner and GM Mike Lombardi didn’t improve the roster with this move. Campbell has better numbers than McCoy no matter how you slice it.
After all the hand-wringing about the change in management and the change in defensive scheme, it is tough to say the Browns’ roster isn’t better than it was at the end of last season.
That should be all that matter.