Expect Chud to name Hoyer Browns’ starter
CLEVELAND – It’s time to start that season again, and we’re not talking about hunting deer.
This hunt is what seems like the Browns’ perennial search for a reliable quarterback. From the days of Tim Couch and Kelly Holcomb to the question of going with Brian Hoyer or Brandon Weeden, there have always been plenty of candidates to discuss.
Coach Ron Chudzinski deferred from naming Hoyer the starter for Sunday’s home game against the Minnesota Vikings. It wasn’t known as of Monday if Weeden’s sprained right thumb has healed enough for him to return.
The larger question is whether or not Chudzinski and members of the front office want to go back to a healthy Weeden, especially after Hoyer’s 321-yard, three-touchdown effort in a 31-27 come-from-behind win over the Vikings.
“I’m going to wait to make any determination on that until I have all of the information,” Chudzinski said.
Chudzinski can’t go back to Weeden, and he knows it. Not with general manager Mike Lombardi, a fan of Hoyer’s since Lombardi’s days at “The NFL Network,” anxious to see what Hoyer can do. In the makeover being performed on the offense, it’s possible a decision that Weeden isn’t part of the plan may have been made already.
Hoyer was the talk of town Monday for his ability to not only lead the way on the game-deciding, 55-yard touchdown drive, but for his ability to generate a belief among teammates that they could get the job done.
“He was very poised,” said tight end Jordan Cameron, who had six receptions for 66 yards and three touchdowns. “That’s a great word to describe the way he played. He had a rough third quarter, but he bounced back and led our team with a minute 30 seconds left to a touchdown-winning drive. It shows a lot about him and the opportunities he had, and he took advantage of them.”
Perhaps lost in the victory were the three interceptions thrown by Hoyer. Two were because of poor decisions. The third came after his right arm was hit while releasing the ball.
Chudzinski had faith Hoyer would right himself after throwing two of the interceptions in the third quarter.
“You have to be able to do that at that position in this league,” Chudzinski said. “No matter what kind of game you’re having, so many of the games come down to the end, and you have to be able to do that and perform at the end and have a short memory of what happened.”
Hoyer’s two best friends were Cameron and receiver Josh Gordon, who had 10 receptions for 146 yards and a 47-yard touchdown. The two were targeted a combined 30 times – 19 to Gordon and 11 to Cameron.
It was Gordon’s first appearance after being suspended the first two games for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
“Obviously there were things that we did better as an offense that helped overall,” Chudzinski said. “As the game went on, we had some issues with protection. I thought (offensive coordinator) Norv (Turner) did a great job adjusting to that and calling some things differently at the end of the game.
“Josh Gordon being back, there were a number of factors that I think factored in with our offense doing a better job. Every week I see progress. All of those things combined, you see us going hopefully in the right direction offensively.”
Cameron now has 20 receptions for 269 yards and four touchdowns.
“I’m just trying to be a playmaker,” Cameron said. “It’s not one of those things where I was going to have any objectives for myself this season. I just wanted to be a guy that this team could count on, be reliable and that’s my goal.”
So far it’s worked better than he could have expected.