By Nate Ulrich
Beacon Journal sports writer
BEREA: Browns coach Rob Chudzinski wants his quarterback to be able to overcome adversity, so it would be surprising if Brian Hoyer’s gritty performance in a 31-27 win over the Minnesota Vikings didn’t earn him a start Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Chudzinski, though, was not ready to name a starting quarterback for Week 4 on Monday. He insisted he wanted to learn more about Brandon Weeden’s status as he recovers from the sprained right thumb he suffered Sept. 15 before making a final decision.
“I just want to have all of the information,” Chudzinski said. “That’s how we did it last week. We’ll look at it every week and make the best determination of who it is that’s going to play that position as well as any position.”
If Chudzinski follows the same routine he used last week, he’ll tell the quarterbacks today which one of them will start and then alert the media Wednesday. Chudzinski said Weeden, the 22nd overall pick in last year’s draft, is progressing. However, he also said Weeden has not thrown since he was hurt, meaning he’ll likely sit out Sunday when the Browns (1-2) host the Bengals (2-1).
Weeden was on the sideline in the Metrodome wearing a black brace on his throwing hand when Hoyer overcame three interceptions and capped an 11-play, 55-yard drive with the game-winning 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Cameron with 51 seconds remaining.
“I thought it was a gutsy performance,” Chudzinski said. “He had some turnovers in the second half, a couple of throws I know he would like to have back, but that didn’t faze him. When we needed to rise up to the occasion on the last drive, he was able to do that and make the plays ultimately that helped us win the game.”
“It’s huge. You have to be able to do that at that position in this league. No matter what kind of game you’re having, so many of the games come down to the end, and you have to be able to do that and perform at the end and have a short memory of what happened.”
Hoyer threw two interceptions and posted a passer rating of 9.6 in the third quarter, but he redeemed himself during the deciding drive.
“He was confident,” Cameron said. “He said someone needed to make a play and he kept looking at us, ‘We got this. We got this.’ He was awesome. He made the right reads and he made great throws. He came up big when we needed it.”
In his second career start, Hoyer completed 30-of-54 passes (55.6 percent) for 321 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions, posting a passer rating of 68.5. He wasn’t perfect, but he gave the offense a spark.
“He gets the ball out quick, and when you get the ball out quick, you give guys a chance to make plays,” inside linebacker Craig Robertson said. “He definitely does that.”
Which is why it would be surprising if Chudzinski didn’t give him at least one more shot.
No trades planned
Chudzinski said the Browns have no plans to trade wide receivers Josh Gordon and Greg Little.
“We have no plans on any other trades,” Chudzinski said.
In the wake of the Trent Richardson trade, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday that the Browns are fielding trade offers and are open to dealing Gordon and Little.
When asked if he has talked to Gordon about the rumblings, Chudzinski said he has not because there aren’t any such plans.
“If there was an issue, I would talk to him,” Chudzinski said. “The things that are out there that people say, the rumors, the things that people swirl around are just all noise. The reality is what’s in that team meeting room.”
The trading deadline is Oct. 29.
Versatility pays off
Spencer Lanning is the first NFL player to punt, kick an extra point and throw a touchdown pass in the same game since Oct. 13, 1968, when Sam Baker did it for the Philadelphia Eagles, according to the league.
“Did all three as a kid, but I was never in any competitions,” Lanning said. “The most training I’ve had throwing a ball is with my dad out in the yard.”
The highlight was Lanning’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Cameron on a fake field goal with 3:39 left in the first half. Lanning is relieved he hit his wide-open target, even if he didn’t receive style points.
“I wasn’t very excited about how it came out, it had a little duck-tail to it,” he said. “I’ve [had] some guys around the league texting me saying I threw it like a girl.”
Kicker Billy Cundiff suffered a strained quad muscle during the fourth kickoff Sunday and sat out the rest of the game. But he said he felt better Monday and is “very optimistic.” Can he play Sunday? “That’s the goal,” he said. Chudzinski said he wants to see how Cundiff is doing this week before resorting to acquiring another kicker. … Rookie backup outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo could make his first start if Jabaal Sheard’s sprained left knee keeps him sidelined Sunday. “Whatever the coaches ask me to do, I’m down 100 percent,” Mingo said. “I don’t know what the role is yet. We’ve got all week to prepare, but I’m ready.” Chudzinski said he’ll know more about Sheard and defensive end Billy Winn (strained quad) by Wednesday. … Cameron has 20 catches for 269 yards and four touchdowns, including the three he grabbed Sunday to tie a team record. Not bad for a former college basketball player. “Frankly, I’m tired of hearing about basketball,” Cameron said. “I’m not a basketball player. I’m a football player now.”
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com/browns.abj.