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Browns’ Campbell another backup who’s not taking back seat

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Updated: December 12, 2013 11:34AM



You’ve seen this movie before: A backup quarterback is thrust into a starting role, plays some of the best football of his career and earns another start Sunday.

It’s not Josh McCown, though.

The Browns’ Jason Campbell, a former Bear, completed 29 of 44 passes for a career-high 391 yards — sixth-most in team history — and three touchdowns with no interceptions for a 116.6 rating in a 27-26 loss to the Patriots this past Sunday.

He’ll start his sixth game against the Bears.

“A year ago in Chicago, you know in that situation that you were going to be the backup coming off an injury out in Oakland,” Campbell, who signed with Cleveland this offseason, said Wednesday. “This year, I wanted to kinda put myself in a position where I could maybe get an opportunity to play again and be a starter.”

Since 1999, the Browns have started a league-high 20 quarterbacks, including three — Campbell, Brian Hoyer and Brandon Weeden — this season.

Campbell is the first Browns quarterback to post triple-digit passer ratings in his first two starts.

“The thing is, when you’re a backup, it’s kinda harder because you don’t get a lot of the reps,” he said. “When you’re a starter, you get a chance to practice a lot.

“You get a chance to get into a rhythm and a groove.”

Campbell has been impressed with McCown, whom he befriended last season. They’ve texted each other often this season.

In 2012, Campbell started in a loss to the 49ers and played in four more games for the Bears.

“The type of offense that [coach Marc Trestman] brings in there, it gives your quarterback an opportunity to be successful, gives him an opportunity to make plays,” Campbell said.

“You look at Josh and you look at Jay [Cutler] — two very smart guys.

“Then you add Trestman as an offensive coordinator, and it helps so much.

“I can just tell from last year to this year, from an offensive point of view, they’re making big strides.”

Trestman feels the same way about Campbell.

He said Campbell has blossomed under Browns coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner.

“That calmness, that veteran experience, it gives them a chance every week,” Trestman said.

This Browns team is a different experience than last season’s veteran Bears squad.

And Campbell seems to be a better fit, too.

“We have a lot of young guys, particularly on offense,” Chudzinski said. “And just his presence in the huddle, his experience level, has really had a calming effect for a lot of the guys.”

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @patrickfinley



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