No. 3 is No. 1 for Browns, Hoyer to start at QB
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Week 3. Quarterback No. 3.
The Browns are up to their usual changes, just a lot earlier than
With Brandon Weeden out with a sprained thumb for at least one game,
and Cleveland's offense unable to score, coach Rob Chudzinski
shockingly named third-string QB Brian Hoyer his starter for Sunday's
game at Minnesota and demoted troubled wide receiver Greg Little.
Chudzinski's decision to start Hoyer is a surprise since he picked him
ahead of experienced backup Jason Campbell, who came off the bench last
week after Weeden was injured in Baltimore. Hoyer had been listed as
Cleveland's third-team quarterback behind Campbell since training camp
opened, and it had been assumed that if Weeden couldn't play, Campbell
would move one spot up the depth chart.
But Chudzinski decided to go with Hoyer to help the Browns (0-2) get
their first win.
"I feel like based on our current situation — where we're at
offensively as well as getting into the game planning for Minnesota —
that Brian's strengths are the best fit for this week and that he gives
us our best chance to win," Chudzinski said. "The things that he does
well fit what we need. For me, it's about who gives us the best chance
"We're 0-2 right now, so we're looking to shake things up to start
winning games. We're hoping this is a spark we need."
Chudzinski added another layer of alarm to Wednesday's news by failing
to guarantee Weeden would get his job back.
"I'm going to leave all the options open," Chudzinski said. "Really,
it's a matter of where he's at from a health standpoint and all that
plays into it and where we're at and how guys are playing as well."
Browns general manager Michael Lombardi has long admired Hoyer, but
Chudzinski said the choice to start him was "absolutely my decision."
Hoyer will be the 19th quarterback to start for the Browns since 1999,
a troubling figure that maybe best explains why the club is 73-154
since its expansion return with one playoff appearance.
As Cleveland's offensive coordinator in 2007, Chudzinski oversaw the
benching of starter Charlie Frye after the opener for Derek Anderson,
who led the Browns to a 10-6 record with a high-scoring offense.
"It's just evidence that a change can be good," Chudzinski said. "It
remains to be seen how Brian plays. I'm expecting him to play well."
Weeden injured his thumb when he banged it on the helmet of a teammate
while throwing a pass in Sunday's 14-6 loss to Baltimore. The
second-year starter will visit a hand specialist on Thursday, when he
should get a better sense of how long he will be out.
"You never want to get hurt," said Weeden, who was sacked 11 times in
Cleveland's two losses. "I don't care when it is, could be the 16th
game or the first game. As a player, you want to be out there. So, yeah
it is frustrating. Even though the results weren't there offensively,
we were starting to do some better things.
"I want to be out there with my guys."
Glancing at the black brace on his right hand, Weeden quietly answered
questions. He seemed caught off guard when told about Chudzinski's
comment that his job may not be waiting for him.
"I don't worry about that stuff," Weeden said.
Running back Trent Richardson isn't concerned about who he lines up
with in the backfield.
"It really doesn't matter to me. I'm behind my quarterback 100 percent,
whoever he is," Richardson said. "I'm glad people have been sleeping on
Hoyer. So when he comes out to surprise people, it'd be a bigger shock
to the world. He's a smart dude."
For Hoyer, the chance to start for the Browns is a dream. The
27-year-old grew up in Cleveland. It will be the second career start
for the fifth-year QB, who appeared in Arizona's season finale last
year against San Francisco and completed 19 of 34 passes for 225 yards.
However, Hoyer, who was waived by New England, Pittsburgh and Arizona
in a nine-month span last year, gained invaluable experience and the
confidence to do it again.
"Every situation is unique and this what I came here for — to play,"
said Hoyer, who signed with Cleveland in May. "You don't come here to
be just a guy, and I think anybody who plays this position in this
league, they want to be on the field. But unfortunately, there can only
Hoyer started the exhibition finale after Campbell fell ill in Chicago.
He completed 24 of 35 passes for 307 yards and a TD with two
Campbell, who has made 71 career starts, was not available in the
locker room. Chudzinski said Campbell handled not starting with class.
"He's a team player," Chudzinski said. "He said he'll be ready if we
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