Browns' early QB switch allows Vikings to change gears, prep for Hoyer
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Cleveland Browns could've masqueraded behind backup quarterback Jason Campbell as their starter all week, but instead opted to announce Wednesday that they'll start third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
Hoyer, a Cleveland native, has played for the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals and now the Browns in a five-year career that has seen just one start.
"[It's] a lot better than finding out Sunday at noon," Coach Leslie Frazier said. "Going into it, their No. 2 is Jason Campbell and that's kind of the guy we were looking at yesterday and the day before. We'll have to do our homework on Brian [Hoyer] and learn a little about him."
There's not much homework to be done on Hoyer, who has combined to play in 15 games with fewer than 100 pass attempts to show for it.
Hoyer's inexperience stands out, but most of his action has come within the last 10 months.
His only NFL start was a 27-13 loss at the San Francisco 49ers in Week 17 last season when he played for the Cardinals. Hoyer threw for 225 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Browns coach Rob Chudzinksi said Hoyer's performance in the preseason finale stood out to him, as Hoyer converted 24-of-35 passes for 307 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions against the Chicago Bears' reserve defensemen.
While the quarterback change likely mixes up Frazier's gameplan, the players say otherwise.
"He's still a quarterback in the NFL, so you have to respect him," cornerback Chris Cook said. "I won't say it changes much about or gameplan or how we'll approach the game."
The Vikings' defense have allowed 226 passing yards per game (20th) so far to the Bears and Detroit Lions in the opening weeks, but should get more pressure on the third-string quarterback behind a shoddy Browns' offensive line that has allowed a league-high 11 sacks.
"It doesn't really make a difference to us in here," linebacker Erin Henderson said. "Next guy up in the NFL, you never know what the next guy is capable of doing or what they bring to the table. Something different for us, gives coaches a little bit of a heads up, but as a player, we still view it the same way."