CLEVELAND – Some Browns fans are already calling for a change at quarterback, as they claim Brian Hoyer has not led the Browns to enough wins. Only in Cleveland could a 6-4 record be not good enough for a quarterback to stay the starter?
There are too many close calls, particularly the games against New Orleans (won 26-24) at Tennessee (won 29-28, largest comeback in NFL history) and against Tampa Bay (won 22-17).
These are the charges that the minorities of Browns fans bring against Hoyer. They call him a game manager. Perhaps Hoyer is being compared to Alex Smith, which is not bad at all. Fans in general call him a game manager but he also chalks up the wins for the Kansas City Chiefs.
With all due respect, Smith, a game manager is now a proven winner. Hoyer can do that too, regardless if he is a game manager or not.
Hoyer battled the tests that any other Browns quarterback from 1999 to today would have either struggled against or crumbled. The suspension of Josh Gordon was the biggest setback.
The loss of Pro- Bowl Center Alex Mack was another punch to the stomach. Despite the two huge blows, the Browns offense did more than survive, they thrived. The mere thought that Gordon would remain suspended for the season could have easily sucked the life out of the offense.
However, the Browns have only totaled single digits twice all season (6 against Jacksonville, 7 against Houston).
Should Hoyer have two more wins under his belt and added to the Browns record? Hoyer should have led the team to victory against Baltimore and Jacksonville. He didn’t do his part to finish off the Ravens.
His performance against the Jaguars was sub-par to put it mildly. He could have also performed better in the first half against Tennessee.
However, he made sure the Browns came back that time so he survived his errors.
At first glance these seem like excuses to give Hoyer the benefit of the doubt. However, these are actually important considerations for objective, honest fair assessment of Hoyer’s performance. Anyone can conjure up an emotional, passionate plea for Manziel to be the starter.
Some fans will shake their heads in disgust of this objective analysis. They will say Tom Brady and Drew Brees thrive without their weapons.
Can Brady thrive without Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski? Can Brees thrive without Marques Colston, Brandin Cooks, and Jimmy Graham? These two quarterbacks can possibly do that but they will lose their effectiveness to a degree.
Why on Earth should the Browns switch to Johnny Manziel? Several rookies already went through the carousel such as Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, Colt McCoy, Charlie Frye, and Brandon Weeden just to name a few.
Why put Manziel through that now? Why thrust him into action prematurely and make him suffer the same fate? Manziel has the potential to develop into a Russell Wilson-type of quarterback. In case fans need a reminder of why the Browns coaching staff is making the right decision, think back to Green Bay several years ago when Aaron Rodgers had to be patient and wait for Brett Favre to lead the Packers offense. When Rodgers was ready, he was on fire.
The Browns are doing Manziel a favor. He may not realize it yet, but it’s still a favor. Manziel wants to play now and he is not happy about sitting on the bench. His anger is understandable and that’s what fans in general want to see. It’s good to see a rookie quarterback that wants to compete now. His time will come. He may not start for the Browns but he will most likely start for a NFL team at some point. Manziel has the right skill set that the new breed of quarterbacks, the scramblers, possess.
He was prepared. He had the knowledge to win because he wasn’t rushed into service like the Browns were so famous for doing.
The front office is still evaluating who the franchise quarterback is going to be for the next few years. The opinion of the front office and coaching staff will depend heavily on the last 6 games of the regular season.
The Browns are in the playoff hunt in part because of Hoyer, not in spite of him.