Coach Rob Chudzinski said this morning he still doesn’t know which quarterback he’ll start Sunday when the Browns (4-8) visit the New England Patriots (9-3).
Chudzinski called it a “fluid” and “unique” situation. He added that he’ll keep all possibilities open and could wait to name a starter as late as game day.
Chudzinski said concussed quarterbacks Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden have been cleared for activity, but not for practice. Chudzinski said there’s a possibility they could be cleared later this week, and both of them are still candidates to start Sunday. Campbell suffered a concussion Nov. 24 in a 27-11 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Weeden suffered a concussion Sunday in a 32-28 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Recently signed backups Caleb Hanie and Alex Tanney will receive reps with the first-team offense today during practice and could also start against the Patriots, Chudzinski said.
The Browns signed Hanie off the street Tuesday and Tanney off the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad Nov. 26. Hanie hasn't played in a real game since 2011, and Tanney has never taken a snap in a regular-season NFL game.
Hanie worked out for the Browns last week before they opted to sign Tanney. Hanie said it was his first audition for an NFL team since the Baltimore Ravens released him Aug. 30.
"One week, you’re sitting at home eating Thanksgiving with your family," Hanie said. "The next week, you could be playing for the Browns. It’s pretty crazy. I just try to take it in stride and just prepare the best I can and get myself ready. I don’t try to think about what kind of situation it is too much. I just kind of come in here and take care of business.”
"Obviously, if you're in this league, you want to play," Tanney said. "I'm preparing like I have been my entire life. I'm not sure it's going to happen, but I'll be ready if they call me."
Wide receiver Davone Bess conceded it's difficult to stay positive about visiting the Patriots considering the Browns' quarterback situation.
"It’s easy to go south and be sour about it," Bess said. "But we’ve still got the game to play. Guys in this locker room still got character, and we want to get after it."
In other injury news, Chudzinski said the Browns placed nickel cornerback Chris Owens on injured reserve with a sprained knee he suffered Sunday. Chudzinski said it’ll create a good opportunity for rookie cornerback Leon McFadden, a third-round pick in this year’s draft, to play more.
Inside linebackers Craig Robertson (sprained right knee) and Tank Carder (sprained shoulder) will return to practice today, Chudzinski said. Robertson has been sidelined since he was hurt Nov. 17 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Carder missed this past Sunday's game after suffering the injury Nov. 24 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Defensive end Desmond Bryant (undisclosed) did not practice today.