Why Brian Hoyer Should Be The Browns Starting QB Heading In To Camp Next Season


Many believe that the Browns will head in to next season with an open QB competition between Brian Hoyer, Jason Campbell, and whichever QB(s?) that they draft in this upcoming draft.  Many, myself among them, expect the Browns to release Brandon Weeden shortly after the season ends, and either put Alex Tanney on the practice squad or release him directly as well.  So, that leaves Hoyer and Campbell as the incumbents to duel it out, and you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think a Top 10 draft pick at QB isn’t going to have a real shot at starting immediately, regardless of what we all may want.
Now, that being said, I’ve been a vocal supporter of Jason Campbell’s from the second the Browns signed him.  I felt he should be given the starting job over Weeden immediately.  Though he’s had some bad breaks in his career, Jason Campbell has often been a very good quarterback on very bad teams, particularly with the Redskins, where he spent the majority of his career.  And, during his time with the Browns, he’s shown moments of great skill and dependability (vs the Chiefs and vs the Patriots both spring to mind).  Jason Campbell, despite what his critics may say, is a starting caliber quarterback, hands down.
That being said, I’m going to get on record early as saying that I think Hoyer should get the nod next year.  I just want to be clear that it’s not a snub to Campbell, my saying he should be the back up.  The difference in results is pretty clear.  The Browns were 3-0 in games Hoyer started, and are 1-9 in all other games with every other QB.  There is a reason for that that I think is deeper than the numbers indicate (Hoyer’s stat averages are similar to or behind Campbell in most categories).  Think back to those two full games Hoyer played, against Cincy and Minnesota.  The feeling of the entire team was different.  It was more urgent, more pressing, almost more desperate.  Not desperate in a bad way, desperate that in every series, offensive or defensive, the entire team felt like it was playing a two minute drill.  Whatever it was, the offense and defense both responded with vigor every time Hoyer was starting.  They played like there was something on the line.  While I like Jason Campbell a lot, his cool, calm demeanor seems to put the rest of the team too much at ease.  Hoyer was playing for his shot at a real opportunity to be a starter, he was playing against everyone who’s passed on him or cut him, and very much competing against the other QB’s on the roster as well as the other team on the field.  You could feel it, and the rest of the Browns clearly felt it.  The pushed.  They played with more intensity and more effort, and it translated in to wins.

A lot of Browns fans make the case for Tim Tebow by stating that he has some magical x-factor that translates to winning.  I would counter by arguing that we have that guy on our roster right now.  Brian Hoyer has something that, for whatever reason, urges the rest of the team to play well around him.  It could be his personal passion.  It could be the way he includes everyone in his offense.  To that point, while it has been a lot of fun to watch Josh Gordon explode these past 4 weeks, it hasn’t translated to wins.  When Hoyer was playing, everyone, including guys like Greg Little and Davone Bess, got involved in the offense.  They made plays.  Jordan Cameron made plays.  Travis Benjamin was making plays outside of returns.  Hoyer elevated them.

And, for whatever the reason, the defense played its best when Hoyer was running the offense.  Remember when he got hurt against the Bills?  I posted on our Facebook page to watch for the retaliation on E.J. Manuel.  I had a feeling that the defense was going to make a statement by putting Manuel in some serious pain.  A few series later, TJ Ward and Tashaun Gipson put him out of the game.  Not that I’m saying they were targeting, but rather, you could see them get angry and you just had to know they were going to start laying guys out.

So, basically, Hoyer gives the Browns the best shot to win, which is always how you should determine your starter.  Not because he’s some statistical giant, but because the Browns, for whatever reason, play better around him.  The offense, the defense, every series, they play like it matters when Hoyer is on the field or sidelines.  They trust him.  And, when it matters, they step up when he’s there.

Long live HoyerNation.

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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.

Transcript of 10/1/2013 Press Conference with Coach Chud


Opening statement: “We started our prep for Buffalo yesterday, a very good football team. They had impressive wins against Carolina and Baltimore, right down to the wire against New England and the (New York) Jets. They’re doing things that they need to in order to win, and doing a good job of that.  They have an outstanding running game, a versatile, young quarterback; they can make plays; and an aggressive, opportunistic defense. We’ll need to be at our best for this game.

“Our focus has been good. Yesterday we got started, as I mentioned. Our guys are excited about playing Thursday night and having that opportunity. We’ll be excited to see our fans again at home for that game.

“Thursday night, again, is a special night. We’re honoring (Pro Football Hall of Fame RB) Jim Brown, the greatest player of all time, and certainly, the greatest Cleveland Brown of all time. When you grow up as a Browns fan, that’s the first thing you’re taught. We’re excited about that. He’s been great in terms of having him back here in the organization. He’s been very supportive. Personally, I’ve enjoyed the interactions that I’ve had with Jim. Him sharing his wisdom and some of his perspective has really helped me, and I know it’s helped the guys on the team, him being around and being somebody that they can talk to as well. You can’t say enough good things about the good he has done in the community and around the country for young people, as well. I’m excited for him.”

On LB Jabaal Sheard’s status: “He’s coming (along); he’s improved quite a bit. We’ll hold him for practice today, but we’ll wait and see what his status is for the game.”

On how encouraged he is that the defense is playing at a high level despite injuries: “I’ve been encouraged by how they’ve play and how they’ve progressed and are progressing, particularly with the things that we wanted to work on in the past few weeks. It’s a good feeling. We’re playing good defense right now, and we hope that will continue.”

On signing RB Fozzy Whittaker to add a kick returner or a running back: “Fozzy is a guy that’s been a kick returner, very versatile as a running back. We felt like we would bring him in and see what he could do and (we’re) excited about having him. He’s just finishing up a physical now.”

On how good the defense could be when everyone is healthy:“We’re building a foundation of the defense that we’re playing. I think the guys are playing hard. They’re playing relentless football, and that’s what you want to see from that standpoint. We’ll continue to take it step by step in terms of getting other things or different things in from a game plan standpoint.”

On three things that have made QB Brian Hoyer successful: “I think his approach, how he understands the game and understands what we try to do. I’d start with that. He has a good feel for things. He’s a quick decision maker. I think he has a knack of making plays.”

On why he did not pick Bills QB E.J. Manuel in the 2013 NFL Draft: “It was tough. He was very impressive on his visit. There was a chance, a couple times, to spend time with him. We went down and worked him out in Florida State. He’s a guy who has a bright future; you knew it then. Those are always tough decisions. We just felt like where we were at, picking (LB) Barkevious (Mingo) was our best choice at that time.”

On noticing changes in the team the past two weeks and what has provided a spark: “I’ve seen it on both sides of the ball. We were talking about defense a minute ago. I think that our secondary is playing better and better and really improved in tightening up some of the things that early on had hurt us. I think we’re improving on third downs, defensively and offensively. I think our protection is improving, as well.”

On what he plans to accomplish using TE MarQueis Gray in a wildcat formation: “For a number of reasons, I think it can cause difficulties for a defense playing against it. You can get some plays out of it. I think (offensive coordinator) Norv (Turner) has done a great job of finding different skills and different things that guys do and being able to utilize those things to try to help you win. It brings some excitement. Guys like doing that. When you find roles for guys, that helps overall in your team. Those guys get excited about playing.”

On if Gray was claimed due to his versatility and previous play at quarterback: “He was claimed in mind of his future as a tight end and the thoughts and terms of that, but he also has a background as a quarterback and did some of those things. That’s something that if you have guys who have some of those types of talents, you want to be able to utilize them as much as you can.”

On what he liked about Manuel and how dangerous he is when he’s outside of the pocket: “He’s extremely dangerous. Obviously, he can run and make plays, extend plays. He’s accurate. He really was intriguing and impressive guy coming out, and all of the things off the field from a leadership standpoint, the type of person he is were very impressive.”

On if his goals have changed from being competitive to winning the division after winning two games: “Nothing’s changed from our standpoint. Our approach has been one week at a time, improving from one game to the next and focusing on the week and the task at hand. This is a process, and we want to take it step by step. Obviously, consistency is something that we’re looking for, but our sole focus is on the week-to-week, the day-to-day thoughts of trying to get better.”

On K Billy Cundiff’s status: “He’s going to kick today so we’ll have a better idea from that standpoint on what he’ll be able to do.”

On if Cundiff’s performance against Cincinnati was due to him playing injured: “He wasn’t 100 percent. One of [the field-goal attempts] got tipped and partially blocked, as well; but he came back and made the last one, the 51 yarder. I have all of the faith in the world with Billy.”

On his faith in Cundiff, particularly from long range based on his career numbers: “Just watching him in practice and seeing him kick, I just have that kind of faith in him. Even though the first two – we didn’t have the results we wanted from the first two for two different reasons – I had faith in him and I felt like he was going to make it.”

On if he felt the same way after Cundiff fell down practicing a kick before the 51-yard field goal: “[Laughter] Actually, I didn’t see that. I’m glad I didn’t.”

On characteristics he noticed in RB Willis McGahee during the 91-yard touchdown drive: “He’s a guy who’s done it before. He’s a tough guy, mentally tough, very competitive, and he always has been. That’s Willis. I think he brought some of that and brings some of that to us, to our team and to our offense. I think you saw it on that drive.”

On if a decision has been reached on the backup quarterback:“We have not yet, we’ll see. Today is our first day of an actual, true full speed practice. We’ll make that determination. We’ll see how (QB) Brandon (Weeden) does today and kind of where he’s at from that standpoint. Then we’ll have tomorrow. It’s not going to be 100-percent full speed, but it’ll be at a pretty good clip for practice tomorrow.”

On determining if Weeden will be the back-up based on health or how he practices: “We’ll see how he’s doing.”

On comparing Manuel to Panthers QB Cam Newton: “In terms of his skill set, he can really throw the ball well. He has a strong arm and obviously the mobility and the things he brings to the table from that standpoint.”

On Hoyer having a different mentality due to growing up being a Browns fan: “I don’t think that’s affected him in any way. I see him as a competitor. That comes out on a daily basis. I think that no matter where he is or would be, that he would approach things the same way.”