During a radio interview this morning, Browns CEO Joe Banner said incumbent starting quarterback Brandon Weeden will take reps with the first-team offense this offseason, with recently signed Jason Campbell pushing him for the top spot on the depth chart.
Banner also said the Browns have no plans, for now, to release backup quarterback Colt McCoy, but they are open to trading him.
Campbell joined the Browns by signing a two-year contract Tuesday night. The deal is worth $3.75 million, National Football Post’s Joel Corry reported today. Campbell will address the local media during a conference call at 1:15 p.m. today.
The Browns formally announced their previously reported radio rights deal with WKNR (850-AM), WKRK (92.3-FM) and WNCX (98.5-FM) this morning, and the team’s brass participated in a media blitz as a result. Banner broke down the franchise’s quarterback situation during an interview with WKNR (850-AM).
Here are some highlights:
Will Campbell compete? Will it be an open competition in training camp with Weeden for the quarterback job?: “The word ‘open,’ I probably don’t want to go quite that far. But we’re going to play the best players when we get to the first game of the season. Obviously some players come in at various positions and they’re getting the reps with the ones, so to speak, and that will certainly be Brandon. But we’re going to go through minicamps and training camp and by the time we get to the first game, our goal is to play whoever the best players are. So he [Campbell] will certainly get a chance to compete.”
What is about Campbell that excited you the most?: “He’s played in a few different systems, including one that has some similarities to this. We think his strengths match up well with what we need. He brings some veteran experience, which sometimes can be overrated but also has some value. He was anxious to play here. He thought the situation fit him well. So I think in terms of creating some competition and somebody that whether they win the job or due to injury plays at some point we could still feel good about he fit the bill.”
What is your plan for McCoy?: “Our plan is to keep Colt. That is not etched in stone if somebody was interested in trading for him, if we got to a part in training camp where we had to make some tough decisions that could include whether we even keep two or three quarterbacks. He’ll compete with Jason just as Jason will compete with Weeden. That’s really what you want to have on a team is everybody feeling like they’re going to beat the guy ahead of them or next to them. We have certainly not decided he won’t be on the team or that he’ll be traded, but at the same time, I can’t honestly rule that out. He certainly won’t be released, again, until we get to a situation we may have to make some numbers decisions, then who knows what will happen?”
How do you assess your quarterback situation?: “I feel like we’re at a to-be-determined position. Frankly, that’s not really where you want to be. So we have Brandon, and I think anybody watching saw some things that were very encouraging last year and saw some things that they feel like that needs to get better if we have the guy. He’s going to be given every chance. In [coach Rob Chudzinski] and [offensive coordinator] Norv [Turner], he probably has two of the best, maybe even the two best people to be coached by in a system that should fit him very well. So I think he’s going to get every chance anybody in his position could possibly have to prove he has the ability to take us to the next level.”
Will you rule out drafting a quarterback with the addition of Campbell?: “No. Not that this was done by me individually, but if you look at what I’ve been part of [during my tenure as president of the Philadelphia Eagles], we had Donovan McNabb and picked Kevin Kolb. Whether it’s the right pick or not, I view quarterbacks as assets. If you happen to be lucky enough to end up with two, which is extremely rare, that can’t be a problem. You just have to figure out how to take advantage of it. So we will continue to pick quarterbacks, develop quarterbacks, with the full understanding that we’re never going to be what we want to be until we are really strong at that position.”