Cleveland Browns Weekly: Hoyerable

Same Old Browns. After a huge victory over Pittsburgh last week the Browns faced a classic “trap” game against a winless Jacksonville opponent. The Browns looked to take a stride into NFL legitimacy by taking care of a weaker opponent. The Browns were outmatched in all three phases of the game and were embarrassed 24-6.

From the opening series the Jaguars dominated both the offense and defensive lines. John Greco was making his first start at center for the injured Alex Mack and Paul Mcquistan played right guard. The importance of Alex Mack was shown Sunday in the poor performance of Mcquistan. Pro Football Focus.com grades the individual performance of every player week to week. They then determine a grade with a score of 0 as average. Mcquistan graded in at a (-4.2). Mcquistan was the weak link of the line and Jacksonville exploited the Browns line with a heavy rush throughout the game. With poor line play the Browns running game was nonexistent. Tate led the Browns backs with 16 carries for a dismal 36 yards.

Without a strong running game to lean on Brian Hoyer struggled in by far his worst performance as a Cleveland Brown. From the opening series Jacksonville brought pressure and forced Hoyer into quick decisions. Hoyer was rattled after the first 3rd down of the game where Mcquistan was beat and Hoyer took a big hit. The Browns played at the Jaguars pace and were not able to find offensive consistency. Hoyer finished the day 16-41 (39%) for 215 yards and 1 interception. Given the poor line play and the lack of a running game, Hoyer could not find any rhythm or success through the air. Jacksonville did a great job of not giving Hoyer a clean pocket to work from. They disguised blitzes and made Hoyer uncomfortable. Throughout the game Hoyer was very inaccurate. He threw behind, ahead, and over the heads of intended receivers. Hoyer rushed throws and didn’t always set up in the pocket. One throw Hoyer wishes he could have back was with 4:22 left in the half. The Browns faced a 3rd and goal from the 4-yard line. Hoyer was in a shotgun empty formation. On this play Jordan Cameron ran a double move slant route where he beat corner back 37, Reggie Corner. Hoyer looked off safety 36 Sherrod Martin and then delivered back to Cameron. Cameron wass wide open for an easy touchdown and Hoyer sailed it over Cameron’s head. This could have been a difference maker in the game because following the field goal the Browns led 6-0 instead of 10-0. The Browns would have had all the momentum but this allowed Jacksonville to stay in the ball game.

Overall, Hoyer completed an awful 39% of his passes. He was inaccurate all game which is something we haven’t seen from Hoyer thus far. Hoyer forced decisions and was hurried by Jacksonville’s front seven. Hoyer was 2-10 for 14 yards and an interception when he had pressure. Hoyer has been successful this season with a strong running game which opens up the passing game. Hoyer has had a clean pocket to throw from but that wasn’t the case Sunday. Hoyer must improve in handling pressure and throwing accurately to all levels of the field when under pressure. For the Browns offense to remain successful without Alex Mack, Hoyer must remained poised and throw accurately with a rush. Teams will continue to blitz and pressure Hoyer and he must take advantage and deliver under pressure. Hoyer has been better than expected this season due to a strong running game and Kyle Shannahan setting up Hoyer with a steady balance of quick and bootleg passes which have been successful. Over the last three weeks (Ten, Pitt, Jax) Hoyer’s overall completion percentage is 47%. Hoyer needs to remain clam in the pocket and deliver accurately to what defenses give him.

Hoyer has been a pleasant surprise through the first 6 games but cannot afford bad performances against Oakland and Tampa Bay. Hoyer and the Browns offense must quickly regroup and find consistency early against Oakland and not allow the Raiders defense to gain confidence. Hoyer has played solidly thus far this season. One bad game won’t dictate Hoyer’s fate, but he must improve on his 47% completion percentage the past three weeks if the Browns offense is going to have success with less production from the run.

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