Not many people gave the Cleveland Browns a chance when QB Brian Hoyer was named the team's Week 3 starter, but he threw for three touchdowns, including one on a game-winning drive with less than a minute to go, to defeat the Minnesota Vikings 31-27. Head coach Rob Chudzinski said that Hoyer "provided a spark." We're all on cloud nine at the moment, right?
Except for one thing -- it may have just created another quarterback controversy in Cleveland. QB Brandon Weeden was the definitive starter heading into the season, having taken all of the first-team reps during the offseason program. The offense didn't put very many points on the board during the first two weeks of the season, but the pass protection was horrid and WR Josh Gordon was suspended. Weeden sprained his thumb in Week 2 against the Ravens, and there is a chance he could be healthy enough to play this week against the Bengals.
That begs the question: assuming Weeden is healthy, who should start at quarterback this Sunday for the Browns -- Brian Hoyer or Brandon Weeden? The DBN staff members weighed in with their thoughts, but make sure you vote in the poll below and let your thoughts be known in the comments section.
|Brandon Weeden||vs||Brian Hoyer|
Matt Wood: "Not a tough decision for me. We saw a bad QB play okay on Sunday. Hoyer made some awful throws and the Vikings' defense is bad against the pass (300+ on average), but he also made plays when needed. I said it all offseason, though -- Gordon is the difference maker. I think Hoyer will come back to earth in a big way if he plays against a solid defense in Cincinnati."
Zach Miller: "Personally, I think Weeden is the better QB. Hoyer played well on Sunday (and damn that was fun), but that doesn't necessarily make him the better QB. If Weeden is healthy, he's the guy. Give Weeden a chance with Gordon on the field, let's see what happens. The coaching staff needs to tell Weeden to watch the Hoyer tape, though, to see how quickly he gets rid of the football."
rufio: "Weeden should start this week. He appeared to be the best quarterback all preseason and during OTAs, minicamps, and training camp. A lot of things changed between Week 2 and Week 3, we probably don't know the causal relationships between scoring and personnel changes (QB, WR, RB, opposing D, etc.).
If Weeden struggles, we know Hoyer will prepare like the starter and be ready to go at a moment's notice. In a worst-case scenario, Weeden looks awful and our draft pick gets better over the next couple of games"
notthatnoise: "Weeden was the better QB all offseason and all through camp and preseason. Hoyer did a much better job than I expected filling in, but Weeden played just as well the week before against a better defense and without Josh Gordon. While I won't be upset if Hoyer starts, I still think Weeden is the better player."
Chris Pokorny: "After the game, my brother and I were excited big-time about the win. He then said to me, 'Hoyer is the guy now.' When I responded that I felt Weeden should still be under center, he thought I was crazy, citing that the team responded well with Hoyer, and that he led a game-winning drive.
I like what Hoyer did, and won't be crushed if he starts. But, I also feel Josh Gordon was the critical component this offense needed to get over the hump. The connection between Gordon and Weeden was great in the preseason, and I feel we need to see how the former first-rounder can produce with him in the lineup before we give up on him."
Josh Finney: "I don't think Hoyer is an exceptional talent; he makes quick decisions, good reads, and has decent touch on his passes. He'll get better than what we saw Sunday as he gets more reps with the first team, as Gordon continues to break off the rust, and as he gets Lauvao/Pinkston back. Sunday's performance came without any real semblance of a running game and with only 3 days of practice. The performance we saw Sunday is what we expected from Weeden his first few games; instead, that's his best case scenario.
In the end, none of these guys are franchise QB's; the play calling looks fine, and the defense looks good. Hoyer will make an acceptable backup, for now.
P.S. Have you ever felt GOOD about that end of the game situation with a Browns QB? Down 3 pts, 2-3 mins left? Not since the return, but someone finally put up."
: "I understand that, outside of the touchdown passes, Weeden was better statistically last week (comp %, Y/A). But the locker room needed this win, and Hoyer delivered when it mattered most. I understand the DBN community's disdain for 'He's a winner' philosophy. It's not about that, rather I'd like to see this locker room stay together going forward, an important part of sustaining this positive momentum. Additionally, I haven't re-watched the tape yet, but Hoyer seemed like less of a statue in the pocket. Our O-line struggles at times, and a little mobility helps.
The truth is, neither of these guys should be the answer beyond the next 13 games."
Mike Krupka: "Although I think they give it back to Weeden, I say let's continue the boldness, a la the 2012-13