Saturday, March 7, 2015

Why Hoyer Had to Leave the Browns

Many Browns fans are upset that Brian Hoyer, the winningest Browns quarterback since 1999, is headed to free agency.  

     Like many fans, I did not want to see Brian Hoyer leave the Cleveland Browns.   Many conspiracy theories have been aired in the press, charging that upper management hates him for whatever reason.  

    While not totally discounting the possibility that there may be bad feelings between Brian and the front office, I think that the situation is actually very simple.  Free agency provides the best chance for Brian Hoyer to continue to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.   

     The Browns offense looked great for the first month of the season, with the opposing defenses daring Hoyer to throw the deep ball by playing eight man fronts, and Hoyer responding and lighting it up.  

      However, as the season went on, other teams learned to use a more conservative approach.  Especially after All-Pro center Alex Mack went out with an injury, Hoyer lost his magic.  

      If you believe Bill Parcel's dictum, "You are what your record says you are,"  then Brian Hoyer is the 31st ranked quarterback in the NFL, with a paltry 12 TD passes and 13 INT's over 13 starts.  He wasn't the only reason, of course, but nevertheless it is very understandable if the Browns are unwilling to contractually commit to him as their first string quarterback.   But it is equally understandable if Brian Hoyer believe in himself and wants to be an NFL starting quarterback.   Hence, Hoyer must turn down offers from the Browns to be a second string quarterback, and enter free agency to see if anyone will offer him a first string job.   

      But even if he does not get an offer for a first string job, the Browns could not afford to wait to see if he might eventually consent to be a backup quarterback for the Browns.  The Browns had to sign a known quantity, especially since Manziel is in rehab and the team is losing confidence in his ability to be an NFL quarterback.  

        As mentioned in my previous blog I anticipate the Browns starting the season with McCown, with a high draft choice qb as the second string and Manziel as third string.  

      I tend to doubt whether Hoyer will get a contract with another team that is worthy of a starting quarterback. The teams looking for a first string quarterback include the Bills, who wanted McCown and eventually settled for Matt Cassel; the Jets (who have Geno Smith), Philadelphia (Nick Foles and Matt Barkley), Titans (Zach Mettenberger), Tampa (Mike Glennon, and the ability to draft Jameis Winston), Houston (even with Ryan Fitzpatrick ranked 9th in the NFL, and Ryan Mallett on the same team), Redskins (who blame RG3 for all their problems, with Kirk Cousins backing up).  I don't think it is likely that Hoyer can walk into any of these situations and be penciled in at the top of the depth chart, especially when there are other free agents available including Mark Sanchez, Mike Vick and Colt McCoy also ready to compete.   But Hoyer has to take that chance, no question.  
     So I tend to not buy into the conspiracies about not liking Hoyer.   It's really more simple than that.  With the NFL's free agency system, Hoyer has to try to sign with the team that gives him the best chance of realizing his dream of being a starting quarterback.  Even if that opportunity never materializes, he has to at least try.   I wish him nothing but good luck and great success--except against the Browns.



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