Browns discuss rationale for starting Hoyer over Campbell
BEREA, Ohio - With starting quarterback Brandon Weeden sidelined, the Cleveland Browns have passed on backup Jason Campbell and will start third-stringer Brian Hoyer on Sunday in Minnesota.
That decision was announced Wednesday morning by head coach Rob Chudzinski, who said "Brian's strengths are best for this team and he gives us the best chance to win this week."
Both teams are 0-2.
While the Vikings are trying to return to the playoffs, the Browns are starting anew -- again -- and looking for any kind of spark after scoring one touchdown in their first two games. Weeden left last week's loss in Baltimore with a thumb injury, and Chudzinski said Weeden will see a hand specialist on Thursday, at which point the Browns hope to know more about his status.
Chudzinski said "early indications are that it's not a long-term issue" with Weeden, but when the coach was asked later in his usual Wednesday press conference if Weeden would return to the starting job if/when he gets healthy, Chudzinski said that was up in the air.
The Browns signed Hoyer, a Cleveland native, in May. He spent four seasons as Tom Brady's backup in New England before being released at the end of the 2012 preseason, then spent time with the Steelers and Cardinals, making his first career start in last year's season finale, a 27-13 loss to the 49ers.
Chudzkinski said Hoyer got 7-on-7 reps in training camp with the Browns starting receivers. He didn't play with the full first-team offense in the preseason.
Hoyer has long been a favorite of Browns general manager Mike Lombardi. During Lombardi's previous job as an NFL Network analyst, he said he believed Hoyer had the skill set to be a productive NFL quarterback and was a starter-in-waiting.
Chudzinski said the decision to start Hoyer this week was "absolutely" his decision and not that of the front office.