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Thomas Moore

2013 12 chud quarterbackWe would have thought having grown up a Cleveland Browns fan and having worked as an assistant coach with the team previously that Rob Chudzinski would have known what he was getting himself into when he accepted the head coaching position.

If he didn’t know before, he does know as the team’s latest quarterback situation has become Chudzinski’s “welcome to Cleveland” moment.

With former starting quarterbacks Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden both still in the NFL-mandated concussion protocol system and not yet cleared to play, the Browns very well could turn to Alex Tanney, signed last week off of Dallas’ practice squad, or Caleb Hanie, signed as a street free agent on Tuesday, when they take the field on Sunday against New England.

“As far as our quarterback situation goes, it’s a very fluid situation, unique, one that I haven’t necessarily been around,” Chudzinski said on Wednesday. “Obviously, we’ll tailor the package to whichever guy ends up being the starter and to what they can do and to what is going to be effective, hopefully, versus New England.”

Cleveland: where the unique is a common occurrence.


Erik Cassano

00 hoyer kneeI generally don’t like to dwell on the past.

What would have happened if Earnest Byner hadn’t been stripped of the ball? If Jose Mesa had gotten a ground ball from Charles Johnson or Craig Counsell? If Joel Skinner had sent Kenny Lofton?

It didn’t happen. That alternate reality will never exist. So what’s the point in lamenting it? We have what we have, so let’s make the best of it.

Yet, in those quiet moments of lucidity, I can’t help but dwell on a small portion of the recent past. I can’t help but wonder what might have come of this Browns season if Brian Hoyer’s knee had stayed intact.

Heading into that Thursday, Oct. 3 game against Buffalo, Hoyer had been the freshest breath of air Browns fans had experienced in six years. The Browns didn’t look like world-beaters, but they certainly resembled a confident, competent NFL team since he had taken the reins and led the team to a come-from-behind Week 3 win at Minnesota.

Hoyer had been the third-string quarterback on the depth chart. Rob Chudzinski surprised a lot of people when he vaulted over second-stringer Jason Campbell to give Hoyer the starting nod after Brandon Weeden had injured his thumb in a second-week loss to Baltimore.

But Hoyer quickly made Chud look like a genius. He seemed to be a hand-in-glove fit to Chud’s offense. He made quick reads, quick throws, moved the ball and scored points.

In the span of two weeks, the Browns went from resembling their same old sorry selves to resembling a team that could make some noise in the AFC playoff picture.

That Thursday night game capped a crescendo of a week for Cleveland sports, after the Indians had clinched a playoff berth that Sunday, and hosted their first playoff game since 2007 that Wednesday night – the first playoff game Cleveland had hosted in any sport since May 2010.

The Indians lost under the national prime-time lights, but the following night, the Browns put the city right back under the national spotlight. And this time, we had a football team worth showcasing.


Chris Hutchison

StadiumEmptyEXT. STADIUM - DAY

The gang has just watched the Browns lose to the Jaguars, and the clock just hit all zeroes.  Trevor and Mark sit in their nosebleed seats, staring down at the field numbly as Mark stands next to them, hands on either side of his head and an incredulous look on his face.

Mark:  Oh.  My.  God.  That just happened.

Sheila:  Of course that just happened.  Haven't you ever watched a Browns game before?

Trevor (distant):  I can't believe we just lost to the goddam Jaguars.

Mark:  They need to fire Chud!  No way they should lose that!

Sheila:  They're not gonna fire Chud.  Chill.  This is actually a good thing.  There's only one QB left in the draft that's worth a damn, and the Browns have gotta be in the top spot to get him.


Jeff Rich

VinnieReality is sometimes a very difficult pill to swallow.  If you're a Cleveland Browns fan, you know this all too well.  The reason we were dealt the hand that we've been playing for far too long, and God only knows how much longer, may make us regret getting caught up in the game in the first place.  I mean, we don't sit and ask ourselves, why?  We aren't wondering why the Browns are so inept; most of us can hammer out a few good bullet points, that we can count on one hand.  I, for one, just can't figure out why bad things keep happening on the Cleveland sports scene.

I realize that I might be grasping at straws, in blaming the original re-location of this franchise to Baltimore, but the evidence presents itself without twisting the numbers or fabricating propaganda.  Everything about the rebooted Browns has been a train wreck, ask anyone for or against the Browns.  It's embarassing, and sure, there's a point in time where we need to put the whole thing behind us, because these pains aren't just the fruit of a Grand Re-Opening gone wrong, but every 4-12 team and every new piece of masking tape on that infamous Tim Couch jersey serves as a reminder.  We had something that was once great, and it was taken away from us.


Thomas Moore

2013 12 browns pats previewThe Cleveland Browns hit the road on Sunday to take on the New England Patriots.

The Patriots are looking to clinch their fifth consecutive AFC East Division title, keep pressure on Denver for the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC for the playoffs, and push quarterback Tom Brady’s record in games played in December to 43-6, the best winning percentage in the month for any quarterback since the merger in 1970.

As for the Browns, they have entered the portion of the season where they are evaluating the young players on the roster to find out “what they have” for 2014.

And since it is a new week, we get a new starting quarterback as Jason Campbell returns and will attempt to make it through four quarters of football without hurting himself.


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