The Cleveland Browns' worst fears concerning starting quarterback Brian Hoyer's knee injury were realized Friday. Browns coach Rob Chudzinski announced Hoyer tore his right ACL and will require surgery. Hoyer will miss the rest of the season.
Brandon Weeden, who had some positive moments in Cleveland's win Thursday, presumably will take over as the team's starter. Chudzinski said at his Friday press conference that he has not spoken to CEO Joe Banner about how the team will address the quarterback position. Jason Campbell also is on the roster.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport said on NFL Network on Friday that the Browns definitely were not interested in Josh Freeman before Hoyer's injury. Rapoport believes it would be a "long shot" for the team to show interest in Freeman now. The Browns definitely are in the market for a franchise quarterback for 2014, but it initially sounds like they are willing to roll with Weeden, the team's 2012 first-round pick, for the rest of this season.
It's a huge blow for Hoyer personally, who grew up in Cleveland and added a big spark to the Browns' offense. He got the ball out of his hands quickly and was far more calm in the pocket than Weeden. This was Hoyer's best chance to lead an NFL offense for a season, although it's easy to imagine the team pairing him with a rookie next season on the 2014 Browns' quarterback depth chart.
"He's such a positive guy," Chudzinski said. "He's a guy you just don't doubt him. He's already overcome a number of obstacles."
The 2013 Browns have a big obstacle to overcome. Weeden can make a nice vertical pass when he's protected well, but otherwise he falls apart. The team doesn't have much of a running game. They are 3-2, but the schedule gets much tougher after this.
The Browns' defense is good enough to keep the team close in most games. But it's harder to see them as a potential playoff squad with Weeden behind center.