A year after drafting Johnny Manziel to be the quarterback of the future, the Cleveland Browns are still trying to figure out the position that has ailed them for so long. With Manziel now in rehab, few attractive veterans on the market and the draft an uncertainty, the Browns should be praying that Brian Hoyer re-signs in his hometown.
If you really think about it, what veteran free agent would be a better option than Hoyer? Josh McCown? No thanks. Mark Sanchez? No thanks. Brian has been with the team for a few years now and is familiar with the players and coaching staff. He has shown the ability to win games as a starter and is from the city of Cleveland. He grew up rooting for the Browns, he is one of us for God’s sake. He has a true passion for this city and wants to see the Browns succeed more than anyone. Unlike many of the players we’ve watched over the years, he actually wanted to be here and played his heart out every time he stepped on the field. I find it amazing that within a fan base that takes so much pride in their Cleveland and Northeast Ohio roots, Brian Hoyer has such little support.
You would think a guy from Cleveland who is the only winning quarterback since 1999 would be beloved, but that has certainly not been the case. We have been starving for anything that even resembles a winning quarterback, and with a 10-6 record, as the starter, Brian Hoyer has been just that. Beggars cannot be choosers, Browns fans need to wake up and appreciate what Brian Hoyer has been able to do. Yet in typical Cleveland Browns fashion, the fan base and front office seemed hell bent on bashing and forcing out the only quarterback who has won and appeared to be a true leader. On top of that, for an immature and unprepared rookie who would rather be out boozing than preparing for a game.
Not only has Hoyer actually won games, he has done it with very little talent and support around him. During the 2014 season, Hoyer played with two rookie running backs and a receiving corps that was well below average to put it nicely. His all pro receiver and number one target Josh Gordon was suspended for ten games and gave very little effort when he returned. Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron was injured for a majority of the year and he lost his Pro Bowl center Alex Mack early in the season. Another factor that no one wanted to acknowledge is the fact that he was coming off a devastating knee injury the previous season.
Hoyer worked so hard at rehabbing that he was back and ready to start training camp in much less than a year. That is extremely hard to do after suffering the serious ACL tear that he did in 2013. He clearly was not the same quarterback as he was before the injury and was fighting through it the entire season. His mobility suffered and he took a number of big shots, but continued to get up and did not miss a game until the end of the season. He showed incredible toughness and fought through adversity, exhibiting all the qualities you look for in a starting quarterback. During games against New Orleans and Atlanta, he struggled for most of the game but showed tremendous resiliency, leading the Browns on clutch game-winning drives in the final minutes. In addition to all the of that, he battled through the “Manziel Mania” and won the job in training camp.
Even with all of the things working against him, Hoyer led the Browns to a 7-4 start and meaningful late-season games for the first time in years. The Browns have stated that they want a quality, veteran quarterback on the roster in 2015. With Manizel playing so poorly, already being injured and now entering rehab, there is absolutely nothing that assures you he can start in 2015. Therefore, having a viable veteran as an option does make a lot of sense.
For all the reasons stated above, the Browns should hope that veteran is Brian Hoyer.