The Cleveland Browns came into their Week 3 match-up against the Minnesota Vikings with very few expectations of leaving with a win. They had just traded their star running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts and their starting quarterback Brandon Weeden was out with a right thumb injury, meaning third-stringer Brian Hoyer would get the start.
The Browns, however, got out to a good start with Hoyer under center as they scored two touchdowns early to get the 14-7 lead and then brought the momentum through the first half as they entered halftime winning by seven. The return of wide receiver Josh Gordon was huge as he was the majority of the Browns offense early in the game with a 22-yard run off a reverse and two quick catches for 77 yards and a touchdown.
The Browns’ passing game looked remarkably better with Hoyer under center which leads to the question of who will be under center next week. Hoyer was the main reason the Browns came away with their first victory on Sunday as he engineered a field-long drive at the end of the game which resulted in a seven-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Cameron.
Although Weeden was the team’s first round draft pick just two years ago, Hoyer led the offense to a season high 31 points on Sunday and did so without much help from the running game. The Browns now stand at 1-2, and although they still have almost no hopes of making the playoffs, the coaching staff must decide which quarterback will lead them going forward.
If the Browns want to remain competitive and play their best it would seem Hoyer would remain the starter. But since this team clearly is looking towards the future after the trade of Richardson it would make sense to start Weeden when healthy to really give him a shot to prove himself before the team has the option to draft a quarterback in 2014. The defense looked impressive again this weekend so tanking could be hard for this team which actually has plenty of talent on both sides of the ball and could still finish with a respectable record.
Their are plenty of questions surrounding the Browns going forward, but many will be answered in Week 4 when the team takes on the Cincinnati Bengals at home and we see who taking the snaps under center.