Browns give Hoyer another chance, will start vs Bengals
BEREA, Ohio — It came as no surprise that Browns coach Rob Chudzinski named Brian Hoyer as the starter for the second-straight week.
For Hoyer, a Browns fan as a youngster, it will be a dream come true.
"It means a lot," Hoyer said. "I think this is the part, playing at home with the Cleveland fan base is going to be special. But when they kick that ball off and you're between the white lines, that's what you need to worry about and then maybe after the game you can sit back and think about it. It will be awesome, our fans are great. Like I said, they'll be quiet for us and loud for them so it's definitely an advantage."
Hoyer said he'll be able to keep his focus on the task at hand.
"When you're out there, that's not what you're thinking about," he said. "It doesn't really concern me who's in the stands or who's at home watching, as far as that, because I've got much bigger things to worry about when I'm out there."
Hoyer said he remembers going to old Cleveland Stadium as a kid and watching Bernie Kosar play, even though he was only 7 years old.
"I do remember seeing him play," Hoyer said. "We had season tickets, so every game my Dad and I would go, so I know I would've seen him play."
Hoyer said it was gratifying to get a text from Kosar after his win over the Vikings.
"(Bernie) sent me a message in a text and that was pretty cool," Hoyer said. "It's pretty cool when you look down at your phone and you see 'Hey, this is Bernie Kosar'. For me, when I used to wear his jersey out in the backyard to now get a message from him is pretty cool."
Hoyer said he heard from a lot of individuals after his performance, including former teammate Tom Brady.
"It was a pretty cool experience to come in and look at your phone and see who had texted you 'Congratulations', so it's cool to see how many people are wishing you well and are happy for you," he said. "I really don't follow the media too much and can't get caught up in it. I tend to ignore it. My main concern is getting better today, tomorrow and getting ready for Cincinnati on Sunday."
Chudzinski was asked if the three years Hoyer spent behind Brady helped him to prepare to play.
“I’m sure (it) did," he said. "When you’re playing around or behind a great player, the things that you pick up and you’re able to learn from them in all areas. I’m sure that was very valuable for him. He’s a quick decision maker on the field, and we have to continue to work in that area with him. Certainly, there were a few times where he made some throws that we don’t want him to make. He’ll grow in that area.
"Obviously, I’m pleased with that part of it and the part of it of being able to put bad plays and things that happened to you in the course of the game behind you, and go to the next play or go to the next series or focus on what needs to be done at that particular time.”
"I was pretty much well prepared," Hoyer said. "The interceptions were bad decisions, things that I should've known better. You learn from it, you move on. Like I told you guys, football is football, so you get out there and you get a rhythm and you do the best you can."
Hoyer's biggest regret in last week's game was the mistakes he made.
"It was OK," he said. "I was really disappointed in myself with those decisions I made because those are kind of easy things. Usually, that's not in my game to make bad decisions like that. Those are some of things that have kind of stuck with me but now you watch it and move on because in this league if you take too much time to dwell on last week it's going to (affect you). I watch it by myself, with the offense and then move on to Cincinnati because you have to be ready for a team like that coming in here who is very talented, very well coached and that's got to be your main focus going forward."
Hoyer finished his first game with a very pedestrian 68.5 rating with 30-of-54 for 321 yards. He had three touchdowns and three interceptions. He said he's always been able to move on to the next play quickly.
"That's always been my mentality is you have to move on to the next play," he said. "If you dwell on something that has happened in the past, it's going to affect the future in a negative way, whether you're dwelling on 'I just threw a great touchdown pass' or the next time you might throw a bad pass. Whether it's a high or a low, you have to move on and try and stay even keeled."
After having a rough third quarter, Hoyer responded by leading the Browns to a game-winning drive and throwing a touchdown to Jordan Cameron with just 51 seconds to play.
“Brian obviously was critical in that game," Chudzinski said. "As I said before, I have confidence in all of those guys. I expect that Brian will be ready for this game, as well, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Hoyer said he was confident in the huddle the offense would go win the game.
"I think this team as a whole has a never say die attitude," he said. "Anything can happen, you just have to fight until the end and good things will happen. Is it going to happen every time? You never know, but we practice the two-minute drill all the time and were prepared for the situation and you just have to do it consistently. I think that's where the mentality really builds up."
Hoyer said he felt very relaxed on the field.
"I think I just came out and played relaxed," Hoyer said. "People probably thought I'd be nervous or anxious, but for me, I always feel the best when I get to the stadium and get into a routine and get going. That probably helped me loosen up a little bit. We had a few drives get going early, some big plays, but you just have to be yourself, I think, and play the way I play. I'm really not concerned about what I do best, I'm concerned about what I do poorly and try to learn from that and move on."
Chudzinski said that Brandon Weeden's right thumb hasn't responded to the point where he's able to throw the football yet. He said he told the quarterbacks on Tuesday who would play. “(Hoyer's) going to start this week," Chudzinski said. "In the next few days with (Weeden), he should be throwing a football, we’re hoping and expecting, by the end of the week.”
With the Browns hosting the Bills next Thursday, there is a good chance that Hoyer will start that game, as well, but Chudzinski said it's on a week-to-week basis. “Like I’ve said all along, we’ll just approach it from a week-to-week basis and see where everybody is at," Chudzinski said. "We’ll make the best decision for what I’ve determined gives us the best chance to win.”
Sheard No, Lauvao Close: OL Shawn Lauvao would practice on Wednesday, but wouldn't commit to him playing Sunday.
"He's going to practice today and we'll see how he's doing," Chudzinski said.
Lauvao sprained his ankle in training camp and had arthroscopic surgery. He has missed the first three games.
The news wasn't as positive on DL Jabaal Sheard. He sprained his knee against the Vikings and did not practice Wednesday.
"We'll see how he's doing."
LB Quentin Groves (ankle) is expected to be out for several more weeks.
Kicking Quandry: K Billy Cundiff did not practice Wednesday, but Chudzinski didn't sound as if there was a sense of urgency to bring in another kicker.
"(Cundiff) won't work today but as the week progresses,we'll see," Chudzinski said. "We'll see how Billy progresses as the week goes on."
Chudzinski said they have a contingency plan.
"We have a plan," he said. "Obviously, Spencer was the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week."
Lanning won the award for averaging 46.8 yards on five punts, throwing an 11-yard touchdown pass to TE Jordan Cameron and kicking a PAT after the Browns' final touchdown.
"(This week) has been interesting," Lanning said.
Lanning kicked the game-winning field goal in the final preseason game when K Shayne Graham was injured.
"I'm willing to do whatever it takes."
Chud on Little Returning: WR Greg Little was a mild surprise kickoff returner last week against the Vikings. He returned one kick for 26 yards.
"He's done it before in college and was effective," he said. "We'll continue to work him there."
Running Back by Committee: Chudzinski said that he plans on using all three running backs for the time being, RB Willis McGahee, RB Bobby Rainey and RB Chris Ogbonnaya.
"We'll work all those guys and we'll work packages in."
Worth Quoting: "(Our seats) were behind one of the posts, so it was kind of hard to see. I just remember trying to look around the post to see if Eric Metcalf made it up the middle."--Hoyer on where his family's season tickets were