- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 18, 2013

BEREA, OHIO (AP) - Week 3. Quarterback No. 3.

The Browns are up to their usual changes, just a lot earlier than normal.

Third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer will start Sunday against Minnesota in place of injured Brandon Weeden, who sprained his right thumb last week and could be sidelined for several games.

Cleveland first-year coach Rob Chudzinski surprisingly decided to start Hoyer over more experienced backup Jason Campbell. Hoyer had been listed as Cleveland’s third-string quarterback since training camp opened behind Campbell.

“I feel like based on our current situation _ where we’re at offensively as well as getting into the game planning for Minnesota _ that Brian’s strengths are the best fit for this week and that he gives us our best chance to win,” Chudzinski said. “The things that he does well fit what we need. For me, it’s about who gives us the best chance to win.”

Chudzinski did not commit to giving the starting job back to Weeden when he returns from injury.

“I’m going to leave all the options open,” Chudzinski said. “Really, it’s a matter of where he’s at from a health standpoint and all that plays into it and where we’re at and how guys are playing as well.”

When he was Cleveland’s offensive coordinator in 2007, Chudzinski oversaw the benching of starter Charlie Frye after the opener for Derek Anderson. The change sparked the Browns, who finished 10-6 with a record-setting offense.

Browns Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas called Hoyer leap-frogging Campbell on the depth chart “unusual.” Hoyer is the 19th quarterback to start for the Browns since 1999.

Weeden injured his thumb when he banged it on the helmet of teammate John Greco during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 14-6 loss to Baltimore. The second-year starter will visit a hand specialist on Thursday, when he should get a better sense of how long he will be out.

“You never want to get hurt,” said Weeden, who was sacked 11 times in Cleveland’s two losses. “I don’t care when it is, could be the 16th game or the first game, as a player, you want to be out there. So, yeah it is frustrating. Even though the results weren’t there offensively, we were starting to do some better things.

“I want to be out there with my guys.”

Weeden is confident Hoyer, who has made one career start, will give the Browns (0-2) a spark.

Hoyer said Chudzinski told him Tuesday that he would get the start. It’s a dream assignment for Hoyer, who grew up in Cleveland rooting for the Browns and signed with his hometown team in May after spending last season with Arizona.

“I’m definitely excited,” he said. “This is an opportunity you practice for, you prepare for. Obviously, I’m excited and I’ll try to take advantage of it and try to give this team everything I’ve got to help us get that first win.”

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