Brian Hoyer toiled mostly with the Browns third-teamers in practice on Thursday, but is confident he can still be a No. 1.

"No doubt I think I have the capability to be a starting quarterback," said Hoyer after his third OTA practice. "When you get back out on the field and get a taste of playing, you realize for a guy like me who hadn't played as much over three years how much you miss being out on the field."

Hoyer, who played behind Tom Brady for three years in New England and then had brief stints with Pittsburgh and Arizona last season, hasn't been told anything about his role here or what the future might hold.

"I'm so far behind these guys," he said. "I'm learning from Brandon [Weeden] and Jason [Campbell] and coach [Norv] Turner," he said. "Obviously there's a great coaching staff here, so I've been asking them a lot of questions and trying to catch up. I'm just thankful for the opportunity to compete for a spot on this team. Wherever that goes, we'll see."

Coach Rob Chudzinski stressed that Hoyer, the North Olmsted native and former St. Ignatius star, is third on the depth chart behind Weeden and Campbell.

"That's how we will have them -- 1-2-3," said Chudzinski. "We're really working [the young guys] so Brian's been able to get some extra reps with the threes."

Chudzinski said Hoyer's stint as the No. 2 in New England was a deciding factor in signing him and waiving Thad Lewis.

"He's been around," said Chudzinski. "Having a guy who's had some experience and knows how to play and has been on NFL teams helps."

He said the club most likely won't have a fourth arm for camp. "Especially with a new offense right now, we need guys to get reps, so three is a good number for us," he said.

Hoyer did step in with the twos on one occasion Thursday, getting the second shot at the two-minute drill behind Weeden. Hoyer responded with a five-yard TD pass to Montario Hardesty and also threw a few TD strikes in red zone drills.

He felt comfortable in the confines of Berea, where he watched training camp practices as a kid.

"Yeah, I've been here before," he said. "It was probably when I was in high school, so it's been a long time. But I didn't need directions on the first day of work."

The signing fulfilled a boyhood vision of playing for the orange and brown. His family had season tickets and he still remembers crying during that final game in the old stadium in 1995 when fans were ripping seats out and mourning the loss of their team.