KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With Cleveland Browns quarterback Jason Campbell getting the call over Brandon Weeden, the Chiefs’ run against backup quarterbacks continues on Sunday.
For a third time in four weeks and second in as many weeks, the undefeated Chiefs face a signal caller who didn’t start the season under center for his respective team.
But unlike last week’s game against Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum, a lot of current Chiefs coaches and players are familiar with Campbell and what he’s capable of.
That helps when it comes to game-day preparation.
“Our guys have played against him, most of our coaches have coached against him,” Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. “Our reference point is a lot better and a lot easier in that regard.”
Chiefs coach Andy Reid complimented Campbell earlier in the week.
They know each other well from the NFC North when Reid coached the Philadelphia Eagles and Campbell played for the Washington Redskins.
And with the quarterback change in Cleveland, Reid said he didn’t believe the Browns (3-4) would drastically change their offense with Campbell.
“We’ll prepare for their scheme, and I think that’s the important part of it,” Reid said. “I don’t think they’re going to change a ton of what they do. I mean, that’s not what you do in these situations.”
Nevertheless, the Chiefs have generally held in check the previous two backup quarterbacks they’ve faced and were able to apply pressure.
In Week Five’s win against the Tennessee Titans, the Chiefs sacked Ryan Fitzpatrick three times and forced two interceptions. They got to Keenum five times last week.
Campbell is viewed as a mobile quarterback, but he’ll be put to the test against a Chiefs defense that leads the league with 35 sacks.
The two Cleveland quarterbacks before Campbell – Weeden (21) and Brian Hoyer (6) – were sacked a combined 27 times through seven weeks.
Still, the Chiefs defense won’t take another backup quarterback lightly, especially a quarterback with the experience Campbell brings to the table.
“It doesn’t matter,” Chiefs safety Quintin Demps said. “They’re all NFL quarterbacks. They all can do the same thing. We have to come on our Ps and Qs and make sure we’re doing the right thing.”
Tale of the tape
• The Chiefs rank 12th in rushing (120 yards per game) and 26th in passing (210.7 yards per game).
• The Browns rank 23rd in rushing (86.3 yards per game) and 19th in passing (227.4 yards per game).
• The Chiefs rank 20th against the run (109.9 yards allowed per game) and third against the pass (194.7 yards allowed per game).
• The Browns are tied at ninth against the run (99 yards allowed per game) and tied for seventh against the pass (219.9 yards allowed per game).
The last time
The Browns defeated the Chiefs 30-7 in Week 14 last season in Cleveland.
The Chiefs are 10-11-2 in the all-time series, but hold a 7-3-1 edge at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs last victory against the Browns came on a 16-14 contest in Cleveland on Sept. 19, 2010.
Kansas City’s 10 wins versus Cleveland are tied for its second-most wins against any team in the current AFC North.
Did you know?
The Chiefs and Browns have twice played games that ended in a tie. The other team Kansas City has tied more than the Browns are the New England Patriots (three), according to the pregame notes released by the Chiefs.
It will happen eventually, but …
The Chiefs continue to lack offensive consistency through seven weeks, ranking 19th in the league in total offense (330.7 yards per game), 26th in passing (210.7 yards), and 27th in third down efficiency (34.6 percent).
And it doesn’t get easier on Sunday against the Browns, who boast the NFL’s seventh-ranked defense.
“They’re good on the defensive side of the field,” quarterback Alex Smith said earlier in the week. “Just looking at them, they’re not a weak group. They’re good up front, stout. They’re good on the edge and then they’re good on the back end as well, physical on the backend. They’re aggressive and certainly a great challenge for us.”
A challenge, indeed, when considering the Browns have allowed nine touchdowns through the air, a mark tied with four other teams as the fifth-fewest allowed entering Week Eight.
Smith has gone three straight games without a touchdown pass and the Chiefs currently rank 17th in league in red zone touchdown percentage (50 percent), an area offensive coordinator Doug Pederson discussed during his Thursday media session.
Pederson said a team’s goal is to reach the “upper 60s or 70 percent” when combining touchdowns and field goals. He added a team has a better opportunity to win football games by achieving those percentages.
Ultimately, it boils down to execution, as the team has preached often in recent weeks.
“We can obviously do better from an execution standpoint,” Pederson said. “But also what you’re seeing defensively is you’re seeing a little more zero blitz, a little more pressure on the quarterback and then the flip side of that is defenses are playing much more of a rush three, drop eight and good defense on the goal line and technically have them on the part of the end zone. So, bottom line, it boils down to our execution and that’s what we’re working on.”
Still, don’t expect the Browns defense to roll over for the Chiefs.
Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (groin) did not practice Friday and is officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.
Coach Andy Reid said during Friday’s media session that Bowe has “a strain, or a spasm in his groin,” which occurred late in Thursday’s practice. Reid said Bowe is “day-to-day” and the team will see how he feels Saturday.
“We’ll just see how he does,” Reid said. “He was feeling a little bit better today than he did yesterday, which is good. We’ll just see how he is tomorrow and we’ll go from there.”
If Bowe can’t play, Junior Hemingway would likely see a lot of action with Donnie Avery and Dexter McCluster.
Hemingway, a second-year pro, has four catches for 27 yards and a touchdown this season.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith when asked by a reporter during Wednesday’s locker room media session if he saw a resemblance between coach Andy Reid and the Kool-Aid man:
“I don’t,” Smith said. “No, not going there.”
Browns quarterback Jason Campbell, whose last game at Arrowhead Stadium was Week 17 of the 2010 season while with the Oakland Raiders, when asked during Wednesday’s media conference call what he remembers most:
“Cold,” Campbell said. “I remember it was cold”
Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry when asked for his thoughts on Browns tight end Jordan Cameron, who stands 6-foot-5, 245 pounds and ranks fourth in the NFL in receptions (45):
“Oh man, definitely a great athlete, plays the ball very well,” Berry said. “He’s a big guy, but he doesn’t move like your average big guy.”
Sunday’s game features two Top 10 defenses (Chiefs rank fifth overall, Browns seventh) against so-so offenses (Chiefs rank 19th overall, Browns 26th).
However, the Chiefs hold the advantage with a quarterback who will take care of the ball, an elite running back in Jamaal Charles and home cooking at Arrowhead Stadium.
With a running game ranked 23rd in the league (86.3 yards per game), the Browns offense could be one dimensional before halftime.
The Chiefs corners are solid and will lock on wide receiver Josh Gordon and there are more than enough horses on defense to limit Browns tight end Jordan Cameron.
Cameron has emerged to be one of the NFL’s tight ends, for sure. But the Chiefs limited Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten to three catches for 12 yards and Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek to two catches for 18 yards.
They can handle Cameron.
The Chiefs will do just enough offensively to outscore the Browns and it wouldn’t surprise to see a defensive touchdown from Bob Sutton’s unit.
Outcome: Chiefs 24, Browns 10
Friday’s official NFL Injury Report, as released by the league:
Doubtful: LB Quentin Groves (ankle)
Questionable: DE Billy Winn (quadricep)
Probable: DE Armonty Bryant (shoulder), LB Tank Carder (neck), LB Brandon Magee (oblique), RB Willis McGahee (knee), RB Chris Ogbonnaya (ribs), CB Christopher Owens (finger)
Did not practice
Wednesday: LB Quentin Groves
Thursday: LB Quentin Groves, RB Willis McGahee
Friday: LB Quentin Groves (ankle)
Wednesday: LB Brandon Magee (oblique), DE Billy Winn (quadricep)
Thursday: LB Brandon Magee (oblique), DE Billy Winn (quadricep)
Friday: DE Billy Winn (quadricep)
Wednesday: DE Armonty Bryant (shoulder), LB Tank Carder (neck), RB Willis McGahee (knee), RB Chris Ogbonnaya (ribs), CB Christopher Owens (finger)
Thursday: DE Armonty Bryant (shoulder), LB Tank Carder (neck), RB Chris Ogbonnaya (ribs), CB Christopher Owens (finger)
Friday: DE Armonty Bryant (shoulder), LB Tank Carder (neck), LB Brandon Magee (oblique), RB Willis McGahee (knee), RB Chris Ogbonnaya (ribs), CB Christopher Owens (finger)
Kansas City Chiefs
Questionable: WR Dwayne Bowe (groin), S Kendrick Lewis (ankle)
Probable: G Jeff Allen (knee, groin), TE Anthony Fasano (knee, ankle), LB Derrick Johnson (wrist), LB Dezman Moses (toe), CB Ron Parker (toe), RB Anthony Sherman (knee, calf)
Did not practice
Thursday: S Kendrick Lewis (ankle)
Friday: WR Dwayne Bowe (groin)
Wednesday: TE Anthony Fasano (knee, ankle), S Kendrick Lewis (ankle)
Thursday: WR Dwayne Bowe (groin), TE Anthony Fasano (ankle, knee)
Friday: TE Anthony Fasano (knee, ankle), S Kendrick Lewis (ankle)
Wednesday: G Jeff Allen (knee, groin), LB Derrick Johnson (wrist), LB Dezman Moses (toe), CB Ron Parker (toe), FB Anthony Sherman (knee, calf)
Thursday: G Jeff Allen (knee, groin), LB Derrick Johnson (wrist), LB Dezman Moses (toe), CB Ron Parker (toe), FB Anthony Sherman (knee, calf)
Friday: G Jeff Allen (knee, groin), LB Derrick Johnson (wrist), LB Dezman Moses (toe), CB Ron Parker (toe), RB Anthony Sherman (knee, calf)