Brian Hoyer A Top 10 Quarterback So Far?


So, I was digging around in the numbers a little bit, and I found some interesting statistics on Browns QB Brian Hoyer.  In his two starts this season, Hoyer has put up 590 yards passing and 5 touchdowns.  Now, I was trying to get a fair guage of the Browns passing offense when compared to other teams in the league, and so decided to factor Brandon Weeden out and just go with what Hoyer has done.  So, if we take Brian Hoyers average over his two games and factor them out over the full four games played so far, the numbers actually are a little shocking.

 

First, lets look at the Top Ten QB’s in the NFL based on their passing yards through the first four weeks:

1.  Peyton Manning, DEN  – 1,470

2.  Drew Bress, NO          – 1,434

3.  Matt Ryan, ATL          – 1,330

4.  Matthew Stafford, DET- 1,262

5.  Ben Roethlisberger, PIT- 1,231

6.  Robert Griffin III, WAS – 1.202

7.  Philip Rivers, SD         – 1,999

8.  Matt Schaub, HOU     –  1,193

9.  Eli Manning, NYG        – 1,148

10.  Sam Bradford, STL    – 1,093

29.  Brian Hoyer, CLE       – 590

 

Now, if we take the average Hoyer would have had over four games, it looks like this:

1.  Peyton Manning, DEN  – 1,470

2.  Drew Bress, NO          – 1,434

3.  Matt Ryan, ATL           – 1,330

4.  Matthew Stafford, DET – 1,262

5.  Ben Roethlisberger, PIT- 1,231

6.  Robert Griffin III, WAS – 1.202

7.  Philip Rivers, SD         – 1,999

8.  Matt Schaub, HOU     –  1,193

9.  Brian Hoyer, CLE       –  1,180

10.  Eli Manning, NYG        – 1,148

 

 

As you can see, Hoyer easily jumps in to the Top 10.  But wait, there’s more.  Check out Hoyer’s current TD total vs the current Top 10:

 

1st.  Peyton Manning, DEN – 16

2nd.  Phillip Rivers, SD        – 11  

3rd.  Drew Brees, NO          – 10

4th-Tied.  Tony Romo          –  8

Matt Schaub

Aaron Rodgers

Jay Cutler

Matt Ryan

9th-Tied.  Tom Brady          – 7

Alex Smith

18th-Tied.  Brian Hoyer    – 5

 

Now, again, you take Hoyer’s average over his two games played and spread it over over the entire four game season thus far, and its a wow factor:

 

 

1st.  Peyton Manning – 16

2nd.  Phillip Rivers      – 11  

3rd-Tied.  Drew Brees  – 10

Brian Hoyer   

5th-Tied.  Tony Romo   –  8

Matt Schaub

Aaron Rodgers

Jay Cutler

Matt Ryan

10th-Tied.  Tom Brady     – 7

Alex Smith

 

Now, I don’t think I’m way off base with assuming Hoyer can average about 300 yards passing and 2.5 touchdowns per game.  There was plenty of opportunity in both the Miami and Baltimore games for a competent QB to lead drives on those defense, particularly the Ravens defense which is in shambles.  He may have struggled a bit more against Miami, but again his quick release would have kept him from taking all those sacks that Weeden took.  And from the numbers, you can see that Hoyer would very easily be a Top 10 NFL quarterback with his performance thus far.

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Reviewing Ohio State’s 4 Star Recruits, Part I (QB/RB/WR/TE)


There are so many 4 Star recruits for the Buckeyes this year, I’m going to break them up.  First, we’ll do the skill positions (QB/RB/WR/TE) first, then come back and cover the rest.

1.   J.T. Barrett, Quarterback

At 6’2, 205 lbs, Barrett gets knocked for being a little on the thin side.  Barrett more than makes up for this by being such a truly unique dual threat.  He is perfectly balanced in his passing and running abilities, making him an ideal candidate to run a spread style offense.  He is remarkably accurate and consistent in his passing, and is extremely quick and mobile when he pulls the ball down to run.  Outside of his outstanding skill set as a Quarterback, he has excellent poise and is a true leader.  He is an excellent replacement for when Braxton Miller leaves for the NFL, and promises to continue the growing tradition of awesome dual threat QB’s at Ohio State.  These Highlights are from his junior year, but you get the idea:

2.  Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back

Coming in at 6’1″, 200 lbs and running a 4.4 40, Ezekiel Elliot is a special kind of athlete.  He’s got the build of a prototype running back, but has amazing top end speed with great burst ability.  What really puts him over the top is his ability to break tackles, keep his balance and run through traffic.  Not to mention he has a freakishly effective stiff arm.  He also has excellent hands, and is a receiving threat out of the backfield.  Great vision, great acceleration, if he finds a hole or crease, he’s going to score.  His highlight reel is probably my favorite of any player the Buckeyes picked up:

3.  Dontre Wilson, Running Back

The 5’10”, 180 lb Wilson was expected to commit to Oregon prior to Chip Kelly’s departure, but changed his mind once the coach left for the NFL.  What was a loss for the Ducks will prove a great addition for the Buckeyes, as Wilson has remarkable speed (legit 4.4 40), and has shown himself to have a great playmaking ability.  He can play receiver as well, as he has good hand quality, but plays primarily out of the backfield.  His speed cannot be understated, as his ability to burst past defenders and win virtually any foot race puts him ahead of most others at the position.  Highlights:

4.  James Clark, Wide Receiver

At 5’11”, 170 lbs, James Clark has a some true standout qualities.  He makes an ideal inside receiver, primarily because he has amazing quickness off the line.  More importantly, he has a near elite speed, and this helps make him one of the most dangerous players in the country with the ball in his hands.  He is a walking big play after the catch, and can explode at what seems like virtually any time.  His lack of girth makes him lacking as a blocker, and is something he needs to focus on in the offseason.  He has great hands though, and his explosiveness cannot be overstated.  Watch:

5.  Corey Smith, Wide Receiver

At 6’1″, 190 lbs, Corey Smith is a great physical specimen of a wide receiver.  He has a year in Junior College under his belt, and has shown a himself to be a big play threat.  His downfield speed, as well as his ability to make defenders miss and ability to break tackles make him good on the outside or inside.  His experience at the collegiate level is also worth mentioning, because of the relative lack of experience in this OSU receiving corps thus far.

6.  Marcus Baugh, Tight End

At a huge 6’4″, 230 lbs, Marcus Baugh is incredibly athletic, especially for a guy his size.  He’s fully capable of playing Defensive End or Linebacker, and is also a solid basketball player.  He’s been compared to Kellen Winslow with his great hands and difficulty to match up with (too fast/elusive for linebackers to cover, too big for safeties to tackle), but has a much better head on his shoulders.  He’s ranked 3rd among all TE prospects in the nation, but the margin between him and #1 is razor thin.  He should bring a good deal of chaos to opposing defenses for the Buckeyes.

Reviewing the New Browns – Part I


I mentioned a while ago that I was going to write a series breaking down the backgrounds of the Browns new Regime.  Well, the day has come.  I’m going to start at the top and work my way down, and try and cover the entire Front Office and Coaching Staff.  Hopefully this will give Browns fans a better perspective on the people who now control our beloved, hapless Brownies.

 

Jimmy Haslam

 

Jimmy Haslam – Owner

The Facts:

On August 2nd, 2012, Jimmy Haslam bought the Browns from former owner Randy Lerner for $1 billion dollars.  Haslam was officially approved as owner by the NFL on October 16th.  Haslam was previously a minority shareholder in the Pittsburgh Steelers, as well as owner of a Chicago Clubs AA baseball club in Tennessee.  Haslam is also the Chairman of the Pilot Flying J truck stop company, a business he took over from his father.

 

The Opinion:

Although he has minimal experience in the NFL, Haslam has the right connections and the right attitude from what I’ve seen so far.  He’s brought in the right guy to replace Holmgren (Joe Banner), and has generally been extremely involved in pushing the franchise to some sort of relevance.   It’s early still, but I like what I see.

 

Joe Banner

Joe Banner – CEO

The Facts:

Joe Banner was hired by his friend Jeffrey Lurie in 1994 when Lurie purchased the Philedelphia Eagles.  Banner was steadily promoted until he became President of the Eagle organization.  In June 2012, he changed positions and became strategic adviser to Lurie.  The day after officially taking over as Owner, Jimmy Haslam hired him as President/CEO of the Cleveland Browns.

The Opinion:

Banner has more than proved his abilities as a top tier executive.  He has a wealth of contacts around the NFL, including fellow administrators, coaches and player agents.  His skill in guiding a successful organization, hiring the right people to run it, and finding/hiring talent are all things I don’t think anyone can doubt.  Haslam found the right guy to replace Mike Holmgren in my opinion.

 

Mike Lombardi

Michael Lombardi – VP of Player Personnel

The Facts:

Michael Lombardi has a long, long career in Football.  He started work as a scout in 1981, and has held virtually every personnel position.  Personnel Director for the Browns from 1987-1996, Director of Pro Personnel for the Eagles in 1998, and Senior Personnel Executive for the Raiders from 1998-2007.

The Opinion:

Lombardi is the guy most Browns fans dislike the most from this management group.  He’s had some well publicized missteps in personnel in Cleveland and especially Oakland.  I won’t try and excuse the guys mistakes, but I will take a step back and point out some things that I do like.  I agree with him about drafting Weeden in the first round last year, it was a panicked mistake and disaster.  What a waste of a pick in such a stellar draft class.  He has a ton of connections, knows the scouting game better than most, and will be checked by Haslam/Banner/Chud in regards to final personnel decisions.  The problems Lombardi has encountered came from high risk, high reward acquisitions, the kind Banner is unlikely to sign off on.  I think he’s going to do fine with other people able to veto his gambles.

Reasons to hope/despair next season: Part II, Despair


All is not roses and happy clouds in the Dawg Pound. If it were, we wouldn’t have just come off a 5-11 season, fired our entire Front Office and Coaching Staff, and be looking at being termed “rebuilding” for yet another season. So, I gave you the good yesterday, now today is the suck. Here are the things that should make you weep at night, alone, in your beds…

Weeden

1. The Quarterback(s)

While there may be a healthy debate over whether or not Brandon Weeden deserves another shot at developing into the Browns’ permanent solution at quarterback, there may be debate over whether or not he will be able to thrive in a Chud/Turner system.  Weeden loves to point out his good size, cannon arm, and relatively high IQ.  Weeden detractors point out his poor performance in his rookie season, his high number of interceptions, and his seeming timid on the field.

Whatever side of this debate you come down on, there is one thing that I believe we can all agree on.  Brandon Weeden will not be an “elite” quarterback in 2013, and probably not in 2014.  Weeden will be 30 years old in 2013, 31 in 2014.  The average starting quarterback begins to decline significantly around 35.  Knowing these things to be facts, Browns fans and the Browns organization need to accept that this guy is not the long term answer at the most important position on the team.  So, even if he gets another year starting in 2013, don’t expect it to extend much further than that.

Also, many of the rumors leaking out indicate that the Browns intend to bring in other options to compete for the starting job with Weeden.  Free Agents, possible draft picks, maybe even a trade for someone like Ryan Mallet or Alex Smith.  Regardless, Browns fans should get ready for another inglorious showcase to see who’s less awful enough to “earn” the starting slot.  It will not be pretty.

Lombardi

2.  Mike Lombardi

Of all the front office hires recently made, this is the one that rubs most Browns fans the wrong way.  Mike Lombardi was never a very popular figure when he was in Cleveland before, and has generally picked apart (typically accurately) the old regimes missteps very publicly.  He is an outspoken critic of Brandon Weeden (making #1 even worse), and has a lot of enemies in the Cleveland media.  He will be the drama epicenter until the regular season starts.
Here’s the thing.  I haven’t made up my mind on if I am apathetic to or outright dislike the Mike Lombardi hire.  I don’t love it though, I know that.  And, given the fact that I think Tom Heckert did a solid job drafting, scouting and signing young talented players, Lombardi will have good sized shoes to fill.  And Lombardi’s draft record (see Jamarcus Russell) certainly should leave Browns fans pretty wary.

Jauron

3.  Defensive Changes/Firing of Dick Jauron

The defense was a bright spot on an otherwise struggling team in 2012.  They kept the Browns in games that could have easily turned into blowouts, they forced turnovers and gave the offense solid field position regularly.  They got into a good rhythm throughout the season, and seemed to really come together under Dick Jauron’s coaching.

Now, since we should keep the majority of our defense team, and should see them back healthy next year, whats the problem?  Well, first I feel like karma is bound to take a bite out of us for firing a good coach who did a great job last year.  I don’t think that the football gods are likely to let that slide.  And its not like Cleveland Football has been in their good graces since before my parents were even alive.  Why, oh why, would we flick a lit match at the gasoline of fate?  Will we never learn…

Seriously though, I don’t think Ray Horton is a bad coach.  Quite the contrary, I think he’s a great d-coordinator.  But, the 4-3 that we have established in Cleveland is not what he prefers to run, and its going to take time to get the personnel to run his system.  YEARS.  MORE YEARS OF SUCKING.  That’s not speculation, its fact.  As optimistic as I pretend to be about running a “hybrid” defense, the fact is that it will take some doing.  And will cost us precious time.

4.  Lack of Offensive Line Depth

For having a solid core along the offensive line, the Browns are desperately thin.  Meaning, we have no back up Right Guard  and no back up Center.  The Browns should address some of this in the draft, perhaps by snagging up Larry Warford in the second or third round, the Browns are either going to have to dig late in the draft, or hope to make a few acquisitions in free agency.  In any case, an injury to the somewhat injury prone Alex Mack, or god forbid an injury to Joe Thomas, and the Browns are going to be in serious trouble.

Greg-Little-Drop

5.  Lack of Passing Attack/Offensive Firepower

Even though I think the receiving corp will improve substantially from 2012, I by no means think this is going to be the multi-threat offense that most top teams have.  Look around the league.  New Orleans can kill you with the deep ball to several high caliber receivers, run the ball with a backfield full of speedy runners, toss the ball out to the flat to those RB’s with great hands, and eat you alive in the short game with their TE threat.  New England has a similar approach, solid run game, fantastic deep ball threat, dangerous TE’s.  Add in teams like Washington or San Francisco that have Quarterbacks who provide a valid run threat, and you see how the differences are highlighted to the Browns offense.  Right now, the Browns offense has one dimension, the run (thanks Trent).  The receivers don’t have chemistry with the quarterback, so the timing routes and the big down field throws don’t work.  The TE’s have yet to show a consistent level of play.  There is no threat of short yardage throws that eat up the field.  And none of this is going to be fixed overnight.  It can be improved, and we certainly can (see: should) in 2013.  But it won’t be enough, it won’t be elite. Not yet.

Reasons to hope/despair next season: Part I, Hope


Trent Richardson

1.  Trent Richardson

T Rich is a beast, plain and simple.  Physically and mentally tough, he’s built like a steam roller but runs like a cheetah.  Trent gives the Browns offense something they haven’t truly had since they’ve come back in expansion form – a talented young superstar to build the next decade around.  He takes pressure off the Quarterback by being a constant threat out of the backfield, and keeps the defense off the field by eating the clock up chomp by chomp.  While the QBs (RGIII, Luck, Wilson) got most of the headlines from this past season’s draft class, Richardson had a great rookie season.  Browns fans should be excited to see this guy carry the rock for the foreseeable future.

Offensive Line

2.  The Offensive Line

Joe Thomas (LT), John Greco (LG), Alex Mack (C), Shawn Lauvao (RG), Mitchell Schwartz (RT)

This is a solid group.  Joe Thomas is one of the best O Linemen in the NFL, hands down, and Alex Mack is one of the best centers in the league.  With a full off season to get healthy, look for the Browns’ offensive line to win the war of the trenches in 2013.  There is not a lot of depth, as we don’t have a true back up at Center or Right Guard on the depth chart, but there are a plethora of great Offensive Line options in this year’s draft class, even in the later rounds.  Since the Browns aren’t forced to take the best available option at every pick this year (we have some talent for once!), we can actually look to build depth at positions.  How odd a spot to be in as a Browns fan.

Chris Tabor

3.  Coach Tabor and the Special Team Unit

The Browns wisely denied as many as 6 other NFL teams the permission to interview Coach Tabor, the Browns Special Teams Coordinator.  This should speak volumes about both the level of interest in this man and how much he is valued by this organization.  Outside of obviously money guys like Kicker Phil Dawson and lethal return man Joshua Cribbs, Tabor’s schemes proved to create big play opportunities in the kicking and returning game.  The value of those type of points and yardage cannot be overstated.  Having him on staff next year with most of his personnel returning will give the Browns an advantage in every game.

Coach Chud

4. The Coaching Staff

There’s no two ways about it, the 2013 Browns coaching staff is going to be better than last season. The Browns got better at Head Coach, infinitely better at Offensive Coordinator, and stayed about the same Defensive Coordinator. New Head Coach Rob Chudzinski is everything that fired Head Coach Pat Shurmur was supposed to be. He’s an actual offensive innovator, with actual results, even on teams lacking the best talent (see 2007 Browns and Derek Anderson). While it remains to be seen whether or not he can manage a football team, you can bet the young offensive unit will shine under Coach Chud, especially in the areas that it underperformed under Shurmer (QB/WR). While Norv Turner’s exact role in the offensive coordinator spot has yet to be seen, he is an infinitely better architect at creating offenses and play calling than the released Brad Childress. Even the way former players and coaches refer to Turner and Childress highlights the differences in the two. Childress is hated by most everyone who’s ever worked for him, while Turner’s players speak highly of him even in defeat. And Coach Chud thought enough of him to make him his first coaching hire. As far as the defense goes, I’ve been pretty clear that I was less than pleased with releasing Dick Jauron from his role as defensive coordinator. Jauron has more experience than virtually every DC in the League, and his 4-3 defense here was showing real strides. They kept the Browns in almost every game last season. That said, if Jauron was to go, the Browns got the best possible replacement in Ray Horton. Like Jauron, he put together a tough defense on a team with little to no offensive support last season. Horton is tough, respected by his players and can create aggressive schemes that force opposing offenses to account for them. This coaching staff is one of the best I’ve seen the Browns with in my lifetime.

Josh Gordon

5. The Receiving Corp.

While they didn’t have a ton of opportunities to shine due to Quarterback Brandon Weeden’s struggles, this is a solid 1-2 punch in Josh Gordon and Greg Little. I realize that Little has his critics, but he’s big, physical, and fast. With Gordon playing a similar physically driven game on the other side, these two are going to create match up nightmares for opposing secondaries once they get a QB who can deliver the ball consistently. Benjamin Watson wasn’t overly mind blowing at TE, but with Coach Chud that stands to change. Watson has good size and great hands, and Coach Chud has helped coach numerous pro bowl caliber TE’s. Expect the entire depth chart of TE’s to increase in looks and touches in 2013.