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Locker Room Report: Browns teammates strongly support QB Brian Hoyer


Perhaps the strongest quote that came from Wednesday's quarterback decision in Berea was when coach Mike Pettine told reporters he conducted informal meetings with several players to take their temperature on both Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel.

The rapport Pettine has built with veteran leaders on the team was an element in determining which quarterback would lead the Browns against the Indianapolis Colts.

"I did get a chance to speak to some of them," said Pettine. "It was a similar theme, and it was more positives about Brian than anything else. I just think from a continuity standpoint and given where we are, it kind of drove it to the deciding factor."

Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas was among the players Pettine sought out and one of the many who extended support to Hoyer in the locker room. Thomas has long praised Hoyer's leadership ability, even calling the 29-year-old the missing piece to puzzle earlier in the season.

That viewpoint from Thomas never wavered, even when Manziel took command of the offense against Buffalo last Sunday.

"Certainly Brian has put us in this position. We still feel like he's going to give us the best chance to win," said Thomas.

Thomas lauded Manziel for the way he's handled everything. Coming into the middle of an NFL game at quarterback is one of the most difficult.

Players said Pettine did not make a big announcement to the team. It was understood that Hoyer would be keeping the job. The media firestorm of the quarterback quandary did not shake the walls inside the Browns' facility.

"It was business as usual," said wide receiver Taylor Gabriel.

To others, like running back Terrance West, the main focus is on improving himself. West's critical fumble in the third quarter against the Bills shifted the momentum permanently in Buffalo's favor. And now, with Isaiah Crowell suffering from a hip injury, it's looking like West might be the go-to back against the Colts.

"All I have to worry about is my position," West said. "The most important thing about me fumbling is that I let my team down, but, man, I'm going to bounce back from it."

West's attitude on Wednesday is the kind of mindset Pettine wants and has preached all along. Worry about the things you can control. The quarterback decision was the Browns' coaches to make. West and his teammates are completely tuned in on beating Indianapolis.

Similarly, on the other side, the Colts respect Hoyer but their preparation will focus on considerably more than just Hoyer at quarterback. The Colts have played three straight home games and lost to their last AFC North opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers, by an embarrassing score of 51-34 at Heinz Field.

"They're 4-2 at home, and Pettine has done a fabulous job with that team," said Colts head coach Chuck Pagano.  "We're preparing in all three phases for a huge challenge, a huge, huge challenge, so our guys are excited about the opportunity and looking forward to it."

Wednesday injury update

DID NOT PRACTICE – Isaiah Crowell (hip), Gary Barnidge (ribs), Jabaal Sheard (foot), Joe Thomas (rest).

LIMITED – Jordan Cameron (concussion), Karlos Dansby (knee), Marlon Moore (hamstring).

FULL PARTICIAPNT – Justin Gilbert (illness), Barkevious Mingo (shoulder), Nick McDonald (ankle/knee),

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