(SportsNetwork.com) - The quarterback carousel continues for Kansas City
After winning three of their seven games against teams with injured starting
QBs, the Chiefs will host the Cleveland Browns in a Week 8 game this weekend
after the Browns decided to pull the plug on Brandon Weeden for the second
time this season.
The former Oklahoma State star was jettisoned for backup Brian Hoyer after
suffering a thumb injury earlier in the season, but regained the No. 1 spot
when Hoyer was eliminated with a season-ending knee injury. This time, Weeden
is being replaced for ineffectiveness instead of injury, leaving the No. 1
role to veteran NFL journeyman Jason Campbell.
Weeden was sacked three times and completed only 40.5 percent of 42 passes in
a 31-13 Week 7 loss at Green Bay, which dropped his starting record this
season to 0-4 and his career mark as the top signal-caller to 5-10 over two
seasons since the Browns made him the 22nd pick of the 2012 draft.
"It's a tough decision," Cleveland coach Rob Chudzinski said. "I believe this
is in the best interest of the team, and ultimately gives us the best chance
to win. I'm excited to see what Jason will do with this opportunity."
Campbell started 71 games over seven seasons with three teams before heading
to Cleveland to begin 2013. He was 20-32 in four years with Washington, 11-7
in two years at Oakland and 0-1 as a starter while appearing in six overall
games last season with Chicago.
"It's an opportunity to go out there and just get back to the game and just
having fun," he said. "Obviously, we want to go win games and do the best we
can. But at the same time we understand we're a growing football team and our
goal and mission every week is to go out and win games."
Campbell defeated the Chiefs twice while with the Raiders in 2010.
Cleveland beat Kansas City, 30-7, in Week 14 last season.
The Chiefs this season have run up a 7-0 record and assumed first place in the
AFC West while handling teams that entered their game with a combined 15-33
record. They defeated Houston, 17-16, last week while the Texans were without
starting quarterback Matt Schaub and lost both running back Arian Foster and
linebacker Brian Cushing during the game.
"This is a rough business. Injuries do take place. I get it. But we've been
fortunate," coach Andy Reid said, "that's really what it is."
Previously, they'd beaten Jacksonville with No. 2 passer Chad Henne and
Tennessee with second-string QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.
"The best thing about this team, we've had a lot of bad luck in the past;
we're taking success the right way, being very humble about it," linebacker
Derrick Johnson said. "Character speaks after a win and we will still come
back and grind like we're losing. We'll come back and try to get to 8-0. It's
a great feeling.
We're loving it."
Kansas City hasn't started 8-0 since winning nine straight to begin 2003. That
Chiefs team finished 13-3 and lost to Indianapolis, 38-31, in the divisional
round of the AFC playoffs.
Last year's team was 2-14, but the 2013 version has rallied strongly thanks to
a defense that's not surrendered more than 17 points in any game and has
allowed a league-best 81 points in seven outings.
Additionally, Kansas City is fifth in total defense (304.6 yards per game),
third in pass defense (194.7 yards per game) and leads the league in sacks
At that pace, the Chiefs will finish with 80 and break the league record of 72
set by the 1984 Chicago Bears.
On offense, running back Jamaal Charles in third in the league with 561 yards
and tied for second with six rushing TDs. He scored on an 80-yard run and
ultimately compiled 165 yards on 18 rushes in last season's game against the
Kansas City is 12th in the league in scoring (24.1 points per game) and 19th
in yardage (330.7 yards per game.)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
A charmed third time?
The Browns will head to Arrowhead hoping their third starting QB of the
season, Campbell, can show more of the winning ways he produced in Oakland
than the inconsistent, mistake-prone version he displayed in Washington.
Expect the Chiefs to apply heavy pressure while trying to make the rusty
veteran uncomfortable, while Campbell incorporates tight end Jordan Cameron as
a trusty option.
Running down a dream.
Kansas City has authored the league's best turnaround thanks in large part to
the work of an offensive line that's allowed just 18 sacks and has
consistently opened gaping holes for the supremely skilled Charles to burst
through. Expect Charles to aim for more of the same against a Browns defense
that's been sturdy up front but may have trouble containing the Chiefs' back
if he gets into space.
Though they stand alone as the league's final unbeaten, there's still a fair
bit of doubt when it comes to Kansas City truly being a Super Bowl-caliber
Beating a 3-4 Cleveland team won't definitively answer that question, but it
will show that Reid has focused his players on the task at hand - rather than
looming AFC West showdown with Denver.
Sports Network predicted outcome: Chiefs 26, Browns 18
The Sports Network