Brian Hoyer Helping Cleveland Browns Fans to Forget About Johnny Manziel
Cleveland Browns 2014
Six wins in first nine games of 2014
The Cleveland Browns have established toughness this season as a member of the AFC North, and the results have been one of the more pleasant surprises of the 2014 NFL season so far. Before the season started, nobody would have imagined that the Browns would win six of their first nine ballgames. Fans wanted to see Johnny Manziel play quarterback for the Browns this season, because they believed he was the franchise's future at the position. This may not be the case now with the way Brian Hoyer has handled himself in the Brown's offense with his top offensive weapon suspended for the first ten games of the season. The Browns have had a running back by committee carrying their running game this season, but with the holes their offensive line has been opening, they have found a way to establish a ground attack in nearly every ballgame. With the support of a rushing attack, Brian Hoyer has been able to complete a high percentage of downfield throws, often utilizing the play-action passing game. The Brown's success this season may come as a surprise to their fans, but for Brian Hoyer who is confident in his own abilities, this success is just meeting expectations to a certain extent.
The Browns running attack
Ben Tate suffered an injury in the Browns season opening loss, but in his absence two other running backs were able to emerge for the Browns. In a huge comeback attempt against the Steelers in the season opener, Terrance West and Isiah Crowell played a huge role in carrying the ball for chunks of yardage during the Browns rally. Now that Ben Tate is back and healthy, the Browns have three different running backs with a bruising running style. This allows the Browns to keep each one of them fresh and effective while giving the combination of them a large number of carries to gain a significant percentage of their offensive yards on the ground. With fresh runners coming into the ballgame throughout, and an offensive line with great size across the board, the Browns running attack allows them to beat up other teams physically in the trenches. This type of toughness and physical style of play has been successful for many years in the past for teams that have gone on to win the AFC North division title. The Browns running attack is not the only reason the Browns are having success though, as Brian Hoyer's downfield passing has helped to open things up for the Browns physical style of play.
Hoyer proving to be great on tough throws
This season Brian Hoyer's passing numbers have jumped significantly when he has dropped back and attempted a pass of more than 20 yards downfield. On passes that are attempted by Brian Hoyer between 21 and 30 yards downfield, he has 12 completions in 18 attempts for 352 yards and two touchdowns. None of his four interceptions have come on these throws, and he has posted a 146.8 quarterback rating on these pass attempts. This type of efficiency to complement a strong running game, forces opposing defenses to play their safeties deeper downfield, which in turn has the Browns checking to running plays against these favorable defensive looks. Brian Hoyer's arm strength and accuracy have proved to be the perfect complement to the Browns physical running attack between the tackles this season. While the efforts of Brian Hoyer with the downfield passes, and the Browns running game have not led to elite numbers being posted on the scoreboard, the Browns defense has been handed leads that they are more than capable of protecting. With the way the Browns have called plays this season, there are questions about Hoyer's role within the offense, but the downfield passing game that the Browns have put on display should say something positive about Hoyer's abilities.
Is Brian Hoyer a game manager?
With the Browns relying heavily on their running game this season, and Brian Hoyer only having 10 touchdown passes in nine games, he has not reached the franchise quarterback status for the Browns quite yet. This does not mean that Brian Hoyer is just a game manager though, and his success in the downfield passing game suggests that he may be trending toward becoming a franchise quarterback for the Browns. Ever since Brian Hoyer was given the opportunity to start games for the Browns last season, the Browns passing attack has reached new levels. Last season the Browns passing success was largely the result of Josh Gordon playing so well, but to this point in the 2014 Josh Gordon has not played because of his suspension for failing a drug test. Hoyer has been able to lead multiple game winning drives this season where his downfield passing was not aided by play action passes. Hoyer has been everything the Browns could ask for from the quarterback position without their best offensive playmaker, and as a result the fans are now able to move past the early season clamoring to see Manziel as the starting quarterback.
With Hoyer passing for nearly 250 yards per game, and the Browns winning with a very solid offensive effort nearly every week, Cleveland fans are very satisfied with Brian Hoyer at quarterback for their hometown team. Right now and ever since he has been starting games for the Browns, Brian Hoyer has run the Browns offense exactly the way it was intended to be run. His athleticism, smarts and arm strength at the quarterback position make him a much better option than Johnny Manziel for the Browns. At some point Hoyer may struggle, but everything seen from him so far as a starting quarterback, has been good. Hoyer's ability to protect the football while avoiding sacks and turnovers has been a huge part of the Brown's success this season as well. This is why Brian Hoyer has been able to help Brown's fans to forget about Johnny Manziel.