Offensive lineman Joe Thomas has spent seven Pro Bowl seasons with the Cleveland Browns but a grand total of three games protecting the team’s current starting quarterback, Brian Hoyer.
By hearing Thomas speak Monday at training camp, however, one would think the two have played together for years.
“He’s a lot like Tom Brady,” Thomas said of Hoyer, via Cleveland.com. “When you look at the way he competes and the way he demands the most out of everybody around him, it’s no coincidence that those guys played together. (Hoyer) has a lot of those same mental attributes and that’s a great thing for a quarterback to have.
“He’s the ultimate competitor, and no matter if we drafted a quarterback No. 1 overall, I knew that in his mind he expects to win the job because that’s the type of competitor he is and the type of quarterback.”
Brady, of course, was the man above Hoyer on the depth chart in New England, where the Browns signal-caller began his NFL career. Hoyer rarely saw the field outside of garbage time during his Patriots tenure — he completed 27 passes over three seasons — and has been hampered by injuries since leaving Foxboro in 2012.
The Michigan State product will compete with first-round draft pick Johnny Manziel for the starting job in training camp, but his Browns teammates do not view him as the career backup he has been to this point.
“He has less starts than probably almost any rookie that’s out there starting right now,” the lineman said, “but he commands a level of respect because of the way he goes about doing his business the right way and acting like he is the starting quarterback that has taken us to five playoffs.
“I think it’s that attitude and that swagger that demands respect. And, he also goes and backs it up out on the field. He throws the ball to the right person. He’s doing things and getting everybody on the same page. That’s just as much the role of a quarterback as throwing touchdown passes.”