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Brian Hoyer to start at quarterback for Cleveland, which is a bit of an odd choice for the Browns

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

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(USA Today Sports Images)

There was a time Brian Hoyer was supposedly going to be the next big thing.

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Part of the hype might have been fueled by Michael Lombardi, when he was with the media, pumping up Hoyer on Bill Simmons' podcasts over at ESPN. Simmons once ranked Hoyer, then Tom Brady's backup, pretty high among NFL quarterbacks as a result. Then last year Hoyer was cut by the Patriots and did the modern version of Tebowing, sitting by the phone and hoping for a team to call. He was out of the league for almost three months before Arizona signed him late in the season. So maybe the buzz about a team trading draft picks to New England for Hoyer was a wee bit overdone (remember this if you hear Ryan Mallett rumors this winter).

But then Lombardi was put in charge of a front office. He is Cleveland's general manager. And the Browns picked up Hoyer as soon as he was available, days after the Cardinals cut him. It wasn't a bad pickup considering Lombardi likes him and there was minimal investment. But now he's starting at quarterback for Cleveland this week, which might be a reach.

Brandon Weeden is out with a thumb injury this week against Minnesota and he'll be replaced by Hoyer, who nearly was out of football all of last season and was cut by Arizona this May. The Cardinals kept overmatched Ryan Lindley on the roster instead, so there isn't much Hoyer hysteria outside of Cleveland.

It's a curious move, considering the Browns signed veteran Jason Campbell to be Weeden's backup this offseason. It's not like Cleveland should be looking ahead to the future already and see what they have in Hoyer; 0-2 isn't a death sentence in the NFL. Hoyer hasn't had much of a shot to prove himself though, and last year with the Cardinals (two games, including a start) he was 30-of-53 for 330 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Not great, not bad.

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Perhaps Lombardi's faith in Hoyer will pay off this week and the quarterback will have a great game. Lombardi and the Browns seem to the be the only ones left who are excited to see Hoyer play.

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