BEREA — Coach Rob Chudzinski loved quarterback Brian Hoyer’s resilience and called his performance against the Vikings “gutsy,” but wasn’t ready to name him the starter for Sunday’s matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I just want to have all of the information,” Chudzinski said Monday. “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.”
Hoyer went 30-for-54 for 321 yards, three touchdowns, three interceptions and a 68.5 rating Sunday in Minnesota. The most impressive part of his first start for the Browns was rebounding from the three interceptions to lead the winning drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Cameron.
The variable for Chudzinski is the status of Brandon Weeden, who started the first two games but sat out Sunday with a sprained right thumb. Chudzinski said the thumb is getting better, but Weeden remained in a brace Sunday and hasn’t thrown since suffering the injury Sept. 15 in the fourth quarter against the Ravens.
“We’ll see in the next day or two where that’s at and be able to determine going forward,” said Chudzinski, who said last week he would love to see more of Weeden this year.
If Weeden isn’t ready to go by Wednesday, it would be a no-brainer to give Hoyer his third career start.
“I thought it was a gutsy performance,” Chudzinski said of Hoyer. “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.”
Chudzinski said he hasn’t talked to Josh Gordon and Greg Little about ESPN reports Sunday that the Browns are fielding offers for the receivers. He has a reason.
“We have no plans on any of the trades,” Chudzinski said. “If there was an issue, I would talk to (them). 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.”
Gordon made his season debut after a two-game suspension to start the year. He caught 10 passes for 146 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown. Chudzinski was asked again about the possibility of trading Gordon.
“We have no plan on doing that,” he said.
Kicker Billy Cundiff couldn’t finish the game after feeling tightness in his quadriceps but plans to play against Cincinnati.
“Very optimistic,” he said. “Let’s leave it at that.”
Cundiff said it felt tight on the fourth kickoff and got tighter as the game progressed. He wasn’t an option on the final drive with the Browns trailing by three. Fortunately, they scored a touchdown to take the lead, then punter Spencer Lanning kicked the extra point.
Cundiff said he could’ve gotten a pain-killing injection and continued to play, but that would’ve left him susceptible to a long-term injury.
• Chudzinski will provide updates Wednesday on outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard (knee) and defensive end Billy Winn (quad).
Next in line
Rookie Barkevious Mingo could make his first NFL start Sunday if Sheard can’t go. Mingo was part of a rotation at outside linebacker in the first half, then replaced Sheard on the right side after the injury in the third quarter.
“Whatever the coaches ask me to do, I’m down 100 percent,” Mingo said. “Don’t know what the role is yet. We’ve got all week to prepare, but I’m ready.”
Mingo played 54 of 79 defensive snaps Sunday and two on special teams. In his debut the previous week, he played 25 snaps on defense and 10 on special teams. Mingo recorded his second sack in two weeks Sunday and added four tackles.
“I’m definitely feeling more comfortable,” he said. “The game’s coming more naturally now. I’m getting a knack for the speed of the game while we’re playing.”
Shake it off
The wild week leading up to the Vikings game, including the shocking trade of running back Trent Richardson, rocked the fan base but united the locker room.
“Pretty resilient,” Cameron said. “We got together last week after the news about Trent and we kind of came closer as a team and the team leaders talked to us about trusting this organization and where we’re going as a team.”
Craig Robertson credited fellow inside linebacker and defensive captain D’Qwell Jackson for keeping the team focused.
“Right after it happened, D’Qwell just told us straight up, ‘Hey, it’s over with now. It’s done. It’s time to focus on Minnesota. We don’t control any of that that goes on upstairs. All we can do is play football.’”
How tweet it is Vikings running back Adrian Peterson tweeted Sunday night, hours after being held to 88 rushing yards and a 3.5 average and losing a fumble.
“So my daughter is laying here under me and just out the blue she says … I can’t believe you lost to the Browns Daddy! Smh,” he tweeted.
Browns defensive tackle Phil Taylor retweeted Peterson. Earlier he had his own recap of the game.
“Keep AP under 100 yards,” he tweeted, followed by a checkmark.
Contact Scott Petrak at (440) 329-7253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.