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Turner senses Hoyer is ready to lead

Posted Sep 21, 2013

Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner feels confident quarterback Brian Hoyer is ready to lead the offense.

When starting quarterback Brandon Weeden was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings because of a sprained right thumb suffered in 14-6 loss at the Baltimore Ravens last week, the Cleveland Browns’ coaching staff turned to a home-grown talent in Brian Hoyer to take the first-team snaps.

After a week of observing Hoyer, a native of North Olmsted and graduate of Cleveland St. Ignatius High School, offensive coordinator Norv Turner is confident in his new signal-caller.

“I think Brian, for where we are offensively, gives us the best chance (to win),” Turner said. “That’s something we spent a lot of time talking about. Brian did a lot of good things when he played in Chicago, so we’re going to give him the opportunity.

“Brian’s excited about playing. It’s an opportunity to go play and show what you’re capable of doing. We’ve worked hard to put a plan together. We’re going against a very good defensive front that’s outstanding in the pass rush. We’ve got to handle crowd noise. We’ve got to handle pass sets when they’re rushing the passer. It’s a big challenge.”

When Browns coach Rob Chudzinski elected to rest most of his first-team players in the preseason finale against the Chicago Bears on Aug. 29, it was Hoyer who not only made the start, but had to go the distance because veteran Jason Campbell fell ill before the game.

In the 18-16 win over the Bears, Hoyer completed 24 of 35 attempts for 307 yards with one touchdown, and had a 45-yard pass to wide receiver Josh Gordon on his first attempt of the game. Hoyer then engineered two fourth-quarter scoring drives to seal the come-from-behind win.

“Brian can make the throws that we need to make and we haven’t been able to get those,” Turner said. “It’s been a combination of the defenses we’re playing and to get those types of plays, you have to protect better. He can make all the throws you need to make. He’s actually a very good deep-ball thrower.”

After spending the first three years of his NFL career behind Tom Brady on the New England Patriots’ depth chart, Hoyer had stints with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals in 2012.

While in Arizona, Hoyer started against the eventual NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers, and completed 19 of 34 attempts for 225 yards with one touchdown and an interception.

“It’s a chance for him to go play, and there’s going to be ups and downs when you haven’t played a lot,” Turner said. “There’s going to be ups and downs when you’re playing a really good defense, and this defense, in their building, plays at a high level.

“They pressure the quarterback. Watching third down, we’ve seen Green Bay have sack-fumbles. We’ve seen Houston have sack-fumbles, Detroit have sack-fumbles in that place. We’ve got to protect the ball. We’ve got to protect the quarterback, and we’ve got to make a stand.”

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