Tag Archives: Brian Hoyer


22nd overall pick in 2014 NFL Draft will make 1st career start

Rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel will make his first career start Sunday when the Browns host the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium, coach Mike Pettine announced Tuesday.

Manziel takes over for veteran Brian Hoyer, who led the Browns into the thick of the AFC playoff race but struggled in a recent stretch of three losses in the past four games.

“We’ve made the decision to start Johnny this week against the Bengals. This decision is really not about Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel, it is about the Cleveland Browns,” Pettine said. “We are always going to make decisions that we feel are in the best interest of the team. Brian has done everything that has been asked of him and he has done so as a true professional. It’s never just any one position when a unit is not functioning at the level you’d like. We are trying to get the offense to perform at a higher level. Johnny has worked very hard to earn this opportunity and it will be very important for every member of the offense to elevate their play for us to obtain our desired result.”

Manziel didn’t see the field in last week’s loss to Indianapolis but served as a spark the previous week in Buffalo. The former Texas A&M star led the Browns on their only touchdown drive of the game, as he completed three of his four pass attempts for 54 yards and capped it with a 10-yard touchdown scramble.

For the season, Manziel is 5-for-8 for 63 passing yards and 13 rushing yards. He caught a 39-yard pass from Hoyer earlier in the season on a play that was ultimately nullified by a penalty.

“I’m very appreciative of the opportunity that Coach Pettine and the coaching staff have given me to be the starter on Sunday,” Manziel said. “I’ve tried to spend my entire season learning what it takes to become a pro and it’s been great to watch Brian because he knows what it takes. I’ve prepared every week to be ready to help the team however possible and my focus has been on improving every day.  I’m very excited to get out on the field with my teammates on Sunday and to have the opportunity to make the Dawg Pound proud.”

Pettine said Monday he declined to insert Manziel for Hoyer, who was 14-of-31 for 140 yards and two interceptions, against the Colts because the Browns held the lead until the final 32 seconds. With five days to prepare, he expects Manziel to be ready for a game the Browns absolutely must win to remain in the AFC playoff race.

“When he goes out on the practice field, he executes,” Pettine said Monday. “I haven’t seen anything that would make me think otherwise.”

The Browns packaged two picks — No. 26 and No. 83 — to move up four spots to pick Manziel with the 22nd selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. Manziel starred at Texas A&M for two seasons, winning the Heisman trophy in 2012 and finishing with 7,820 passing yards, 2,169 rushing yards and a combined 93 touchdowns.

Hoyer was one of the main reasons why Cleveland bolted to a 6-3 start. Over the past four games, though, Hoyer threw eight interceptions and one touchdown pass.

The Cleveland native’s attitude remained positive after learning the news.

“Although I am disappointed by coach’s decision, I respect him and his choice and will be there to support Johnny,” Hoyer said. “As always, I will do whatever I can to help this team win.”



Dec. 3, 2014


Hoyer to remain starting quarterback

 BEREA, Ohio – Cleveland Browns Head Coach Mike Pettine has announced that Brian Hoyer will remain the starting quarterback.

“After thorough evaluation and talking to the staff, we feel Brian gives us the best opportunity to win on Sunday,” Pettine said.  “This is a football decision and those are always going to be based on what we think is best for our team. Brian has led our team to a 7-5 record. I’m confident that we can get the entire offense playing at the level needed to accomplish the goals we set at the beginning of the season. Those goals are still very much attainable.”



Missed my interview on 1480  with former QB  Time Couch previewing the Browns-Bengals game? Listen to the podcast right here –  http://www.

Tim Couch Photo


Brian Hoyer Sidelines vs SteelersOn how it feels to be 5-3:

“It’s pretty good. We came in to the week and knew we were 4-3 and (Head) Coach (Mike) Pettine always stresses it’s one week at a time so we wanted to get to 5-3.”


On the touchdown pass to Taylor Gabriel:

“Yeah, he was probably mad about that, but you know, it was a play we had run earlier and the corner had jumped. I think I had thrown it to Travis and he batted it down and jumped, so I was a little nervous when I saw that coverage with that same corner over there on the same play. I was a little hesitant, I worked back to my second read which is usually over the ball, and I didn’t see him. I knew I had time – I think it was Terrance blocked the guy – I felt there was no one out there so I just bought time. We got some big plays on that this year and that’s something I talked with the receivers about. I said, ‘If you see me looking around, just go deep.’ Gabes did a great job and got a touchdown. It doesn’t always have to be the way you draw it up.”


On the big plays from the special teams and defense:

“This is the ultimate team sport. It wasn’t always pretty with the way our offense was playing, but we’re 5-3, and it doesn’t say in the box score tomorrow, ‘Well, the offense didn’t play so great and it was close but they won’. It says 5-3. We just have to continue to improve, and obviously, get the running game going a little bit more and continue to do the things we do. Similar to last week, we didn’t abandon our game plan. We were able to hit some play-action passes, still run the ball and take advantage of it and make plays when had to. Obviously, the defense played great and the special teams came up huge with those two plays.”


On how he feels about his stats:

“It’s been a tough three weeks, there’s no doubt. You go from Jacksonville, who I told you guys was going to be a tough front seven to last week with Oakland – you look at those guys on paper and you have Justin Tuck and Antonio Smith and, like I said last week, Khalil Mack, one of the best players we’ve played against. Then, you come in here with a guy who just signed a $98 million contract, (DT) Gerald McCoy. The one thing I’ll say about him is – the production people told me he had some nice things about me so I looked. He came up to me during the game and he’s like, ‘Hey, I meant everything I said’. You couldn’t ask to see a nicer guy. Obviously, you don’t want to him to be on the other team, whose a dominant three technique in this league. To know you’re earning the respect around the league and he’s willing to say that not only to you but also to the media, it means a lot. We knew this three game stretch was going to be – you know, everybody marked it up as it should be easy – but we knew it wasn’t going to be. Going against tough defenses with tough front sevens and, obviously, losing (DL)Alex Mack, we knew it was going to be a battle. To come out 2-1 out of those three games when people probably thought we should have gone out and killed those teams, that’s the reason this is the NFL and it’s week in and week out. They’re good players, too. Their records might not be what they want it to be, but we all get paid to do this and people are going to play no matter what the situation is.”


On the crowd booing in the second half:

“Obviously, we need to play better.  Our fans expect more out of us, and we expect more out of us.  We want to play better and you never want to hear (the crowd booing).  When it is all said and done, we are 5-3 and we are moving on.  It is a quick week. I have to get home and start watching Cincinnati.”


On McCoy making the comments to him on the field:

“It was during one of the timeouts.  I think there was an injury on the field or something. They mentioned it in our production meeting, and usually, I don’t look at the media, but when a player of that caliber has nice things to say, I made sure I read it before I talked to him.  Just to give my appreciation for something like that.”


On playing on Thursday night on national television:

“Hopefully, knock on wood – Thursday night games haven’t been good for me, but I’m looking forward to it. This is definitely one you keep your eye on. Before this three-game stretch, we knew in the back of our minds that if we do well in these three, it was going to be a meaningful game down in Cincinnati. I’m anxious to get home – thank goodness we have iPad’s – and I’m going to start watching those guys. The other thing is that I’ve played against them before. This isn’t a team that I’m unfamiliar with. Obvioulsy, a division opponent, but at least I’ve actually been out on the field and played against these guys. (Vikings Head Coach) Mike Zimmer went to Minnesota so we’ll see if there is any variation in how their defense plays. We know it’s a week of another tough front – (DL) Geno Atkins – you can’t say enough about a guy like that. I can’t wait to get home and start studying these guys.”


On if there is anything special that enables the Browns to win games late:

“Just the team – this is the ultimate team sport. One guy can mess up on a play and it can doom the rest of the team. That goes for offense, defense and special teams. Coach told us last night, every player is 1/11th. You have to do your job. The biggest thing for us is, whether it is special teams making plays, our offense or defense, we stick together.  For a team who’s culture has been losing, I don’t know if a few years ago – and I can only speak for my time here – I don’t know if a Browns team wins that game. With every win and with every moment where a guy steps up to make a play, you believe in each other more and it really pulls each other together. You never feel like your down.  It’s frustrating, trust me, sitting on the sideline and the defense is playing well and we (offense) can’t get anything going. That is the mental toughness part that plays in. Move on to the next drive or next play, whatever it might be and keep battling. There is a reason it’s 60 minutes.”


On throwing two interceptions:

“That’s the worst, when you throw an interception. The first one, that’s all on me. I’m trying to throw over a linebacker. But when you throw a pick, it’s just a kind of luck in the balance, especially when you get the ball moving and get the third down conversion. It’s frustrating, it’s disappointing but me personally and our team as a whole is going to have that mentaility to keep pressing on like, “Hang in there, hang in there,” and know that eventually, we’re going to push through. Fortunately, we’re a team that plays like a team.”


On if he wanted to go for it before the half ended, rather than kick a field goal:

“Well, you have to be smart so you don’t want to give the other team the ball back or a chance to score. At the end of the half or in a two-minute situation, first and foremost, you don’t want to give the other team the ball back and give them a chance to score and then obviously after that you want to get points. So for me, I don’t want to take a sack in that situation, but I also don’t want to throw the ball at a lineman and have it be an interception. Fortunately, we were able to hit (WR) Miles (Austin) on a third down and we get some yards back and, got the field goal, which was huge because we came out in the second half and were able to do more after that.


On if he prefers to huddle or a no-huddle offense:

“Not necessarily. Obviously, when you’re in the huddle, things are happening fast so you have to make quick decisions. I guess that suits me well, it suits our offense well; but there’s also times where a call on the field or know when to pull it back and call plays that have worked all week long. There’s a lot of no-huddle plays that you don’t set a ton of reps at. It’s just on a sheet, and it’s in the arsenal, but you might not get a ton of looks at those plays because we’re not in the huddle every day at practice. There’s good things in both.”


Might thoughts on the Cavs win in Chicago, Ohio State blowing out Illinois and the Browns getting the job done against Tampa Bay.



Brian Hoyer Sidelines vs Steelers

On how it looked on tape:

“Probably about as bad as it looked yesterday. We didn’t play well enough to win the game. Like I told you guys yesterday, that’s a good defense we went against. We needed to be on our game, and we just weren’t all around the board, myself included. I think if you asked any one of our guys, they would tell you that we didn’t play well enough to win.”


On if he’s concerned that other teams have seen enough on tape now to copy what Jacksonville did and take away the play-action:

“I don’t think they really took away the play-action. Our keepers were there. We hit some big plays on it. We only had one or two other play-action passes. Like I said, it’s a copy-cat league, but within that mindset, people are going to do what they do. Yeah, they might try to take something here or there, but I don’t think…this isn’t baseball. You don’t get a scouting report on a pitcher who throws a curveball with two strikes. It’s football and there are 11 guys on the field. I think obviously Jacksonville played well yesterday, and we didn’t play well. That’s a bad combination.”


On what bothered him most about his own performance:

“A few missed throws – things like that. There were times where I could have been more patient in the pocket. Things felt like they were flying around a little bit more than usual. Sometimes you’ve just got to hang in there a little bit longer even when you don’t think you can. It’s something that I need to work on.”


On if he had more time on the pass where he missed TE Jordan Cameron in the end zone:

“Yeah, it was quick. That wasn’t a thing with the pass-rush or anything like that. It was just…I’m trying to look off a safety and I came back to throw to his spot. He kind of…it was kind of that he thought one thing and I thought another. We’ve just got to get on the same page with that, especially on a critical play like that.”


On if he considers completion percentage a relevant statistic for a quarterback:

“Yeah, I mean you go 16 of 41, regardless if there are batted balls or throwaways, even with those, you’d like to be in the 60s. I think it’s about being efficient. For me, I wasn’t efficient yesterday regardless of the situation. You’ve got to be able to go out there and complete the passes.”


On if it’s too simplistic to say that the changes on the offensive line were a major factor yesterday:

“No, we’re not going to use that as an excuse. I think we did more than well enough in the second half, even a little bit in the first half, against Pittsburgh with those guys in there. There are no excuses there. We’ve just got to play better. You talk about ‘next man up.’ They did a great job last week, and that’s not going to be an excuse for us after a loss.”


On if he thinks it would be better if they focused on one or two running backs instead of trying to work in three:

“No, I don’t think…because we’ve had success doing it before. Like I said, there’s no excuse other than they played better than we did yesterday. That’s the NFL. Yeah, that was their first win, but we knew going in that that was a tough, tough defense. It wasn’t anything about us underestimating or anything. We just got outplayed, out-toughed. It hurts to stand up here and admit that, but that’s the truth.”


On if this was a bad day or a step back:

“It’s just a bad day. There are 16 games in the NFL. You’re not going to be perfect in every one. The biggest thing for us is we need to take this – we just watched it – learn from our mistakes, bury it and move on. We get two games at home. We’re playing Oakland. As soon as I get done here talking to you guys I’m going to go back and start watching them. That’s the mentality that you have to have in this league. Whether you win or lose, you’ve got to be able to move onto the next one and learn from the game that you just played and take what you’ve learned and apply it the next week.”


On if the Browns’ offense planned to come back onto the field on fourth-and-5 late in the game after sending the punt team on:

“Yeah, we’ve practiced that a few times.”


On what running back onto the field does:

“I don’t if you remember back to New England did it against…It was Kansas City. That’s where we got the idea from, and just really try to force them into a timeout or 12 men on the field or really just see what happens. We just didn’t execute it the way the way that it was supposed to be executed.”


On if everyone thought it was 12 men on the field when one of Jacksonville’s players was running off the field:

“No, I know someone mentioned that after the game. They saw that on the TV copy, but that had nothing to do with why the ball was snapped.”


On what the offense has to do to beat teams that put eight men in the box:

“When we played Pittsburgh there were nine men in the box. It’s not anything other than just going out and executing. (Browns offensive coordinator) Kyle’s (Shanahan) run this system for a long time. He’s been running this system with eight men in the box for a long time. It’s not anything that we should be worried about. It’s something that go out and you watch the film, realize what we did wrong. Give Jacksonville credit, but there were times where we just flat out made mistakes. When that happens and you play a good defense they’re going to make you pay. When you’re in third-and-long a lot of the game it makes it tough.”


On it seeming like the Jacksonville defense knew what was coming at times:

“We knew going in (that) they’re really well-coached, and you can see it on film. When you do play action they zone-drop really well, and they’re looking up your routes. Their defensive linemen are reading your techniques on the offensive line and tight end to see if it’s a run or a keep. We know it’s a very well-coached team, and they played their scheme very well. Like I said, we just got outplayed.”


On if he and WR Miles Austin weren’t on the same page a couple times:

“Yeah, there was one where – like what I talked about before – I rushed a little bit. It’s something I can’t do. One I threw behind him. It’s more me than it was him.”


On if he’s confident the offense can have success in the passing game if a team shuts down the running game:

“Yeah, no doubt. The games where we’ve been behind we’ve had to drop back and throw it, whether it was New Orleans or the last drive of Tennessee. It’s not a concern for me. I think the biggest thing is people know it’s always an overreaction, whether you win or whether you lose. That’s the way this league is because you only get to play one time a week. For us, it’s not to get caught up in the hype. Yeah, we played yesterday. We sucked. It sucks to admit it, but you have to be able to face the facts and just realize what you need to do to get better. The biggest thing is for us to have watched it and move onto Oakland and not let this linger and come out because, I know for me, Sunday can’t come fast enough. You want to get back out there and be able to play.”


On if he thought that it might have gotten into his head a little bit that he had to worry about the center, the snap exchange or the rush:

“No, I don’t think anything like that was involved. You just know you’re going against a good front. You saw it all week. I think they were second in the league in sacks, so I didn’t want to take sacks. I think, for me, you’d rather throw the ball away if you can. At least you’re not losing yardage. For me, maybe I went into the game a little too worried about not taking a sack and trying to get through it a little too quickly.”


On his level of confidence that the offensive line can gel without OL Alex Mack:

“I don’t have any lack of confidence in those guys. There was no lack of effort out there yesterday. I will tell you that. Everyone is playing as hard as they can. Sometimes it’s mental mistakes, and sometimes the guy across (from) you is pretty good too. I think we all just need to learn from this, get better, get back onto the practice field on Wednesday and move onto Oakland. That’s what this league is about. You can’t dwell on a win or a loss.”


On if he’ll have confidence in the offensive line if OL Nick McDonald moves in there and OL John Greco moves back to right guard:

“Yeah, we’ll see. The good thing with Nick is I’ve played with him before. Even when he was coming through his rehab, I would go in there – because he was just trying to figure out if he can snap the ball – and take some snaps with him. I don’t know how that will play out. You’d have to ask me that later on in the week and see how that’s going.”


On if he took a fair amount of snaps with him at New England:



Here my extensive breakdown of Jacksonville beating the Browns 24-6 for their first win of the season.

Browns Helmet Sideways Photo


1) START FAST AND DON’T STOP – Even though Jacksonville is winless on the season, the Browns can’t afford another horrendous start on the road like they had in Pittsburgh and Tennessee. You don’t want to give a lousy football team any hope or belief that they can win. So Brian Hoyer and the offense needs to score early and play from ahead or at least be even going into the locker room at the half and then turn on the 2nd half after burners and put this terrible team away.

2) HANDLE THE JAGS ONLY STRENGTH, THEIR DEFENSIVE LINE – The one thing the Jaguars have done a decent job off this season is getting to the quarterback. Through 6 games they have racked up 19 sacks. Most of that pressure comes from their D-Line out of their 4-3 defense. Defensive ends Chris Clemons and Andre Branch have 3 sacks each, while defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks has 2. With Alex Mack out and John Greco moving over to center and Paul McQuistan in at right guard, the Browns O-Line will be tested this weekend. How they handle the pressure up front, will go a long way in determining the outcome of the game. While Jacksonville’s defense has struggled the first 4 games of the season giving up an average of 38 points per game, that same defense has yielded only 33 total points in its last 2 games.

3) PASS THE BALL – While there is a concern about Jacksonville’s pass rush, if you can control it, you can do a lot of damage through the air. The Jags pass defense is ranked 30th in the league giving up 294 yards per game. Use the running game to soften up the pass rush and keep Paul Posluszny  and those defensive linemen honest, and then hit them for the big play like the Browns did with play action and misdirection against the Steelers. Big chunks of yardage and points are there for the taking.

4) PIGSKIN PROTECTION – Brian Hoyer, Ben Tate and Isaiah Crowell, the guys who handle the ball the most, need to make sure they don’t give it away. Nothing breathes life into a team faster than getting turnovers and short fields.

5) STUPIFY BLAKE BORTLES – The 3rd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft is making his 4th start of the season since taking over for Chad Henne. What Mike Pettine and defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil need to do is change up their defensive looks every series to get Bortles thinking and guessing instead of just playing. Make it as uncomfortable for the rookie both mentally and physically, so he can’t get into a rhythm and gain any confidence as the game goes along. You don’t want the game close in the 4th quarter allowing Bortles to think they have a chance to win it late. Also Bortles is a threat to run it, so Karlos Dansby and Donte Whitner need to be ready. After what Jake Locker did to the Browns 2 weeks ago, I’m sure it’s something Bortles will be looking to exploit.

6) SECONDARY SUCCESS – The Browns did a much better job last week against the Steelers in the backend of their defense. Another solid game from Joe Haden, Buster Skrine and Justin Gilbert will help make up for a pass rush that is lacking do to all the injuries the Browns have up front. Allen Hurns is the Jags homerun threat, so give Haden some help over the top with him, but also keep an eye on fellow wide outs and a now healthy Cecil Shorts and rookie Allen Robinson.


Had a blast as I always do whenever I join one of my favorite guys in sports, Dan Dakich on “The Dan Dakich” show on 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis. We talked Cleveland sports, Cavs vs Pacers, LeBron, Browns and Brian Hoyer.


Dan Dakich 2



Browns Stadium vs SteelersWithout any hesitation I can say that the Cleveland Browns were the far better football team yesterday in all aspects – offense, defense, special teams and coaching. I picked the Browns to win the game because after watching the Steelers over the last 2 weeks I was able to see that they are an old team that lacks talent and should replace both of its coordinators.  The Browns are a young team that has some proven talent and some potential young talent, with a head coach who actually seems to know what he’s doing and really loves his job. Kudos to Mike Pettine and his staff for making this team respectable this early in the season. Now let’s see how they handle prosperity.

The Browns should be favored in their next three games; at Jacksonville, then home against Oakland and Tampa Bay. I expect them to go no worse than (2-1) in those games and be at least (5-3) if not (6-2) after 8 games. Then the schedule gets tough with games at Cincinnati, Atlanta, Carolina and Baltimore. Plus home games with Houston, Indianapolis and Cincinnati. So you better win the games you’re supposed to win and see if you can play .500 ball the second half of the season. If the Browns can do that, they could be looking at 8, 9 or even 10 wins. If you get to 9 or 10 wins, then you could be talking playoffs.

Having said all that, the Browns were (3-2) after 5 games last year and ended up (4-12). The difference this year I believe is an easier schedule over the next 3 weeks, Brian Hoyer is your QB and not Brandon Weeden or Jason Campbell, and a coach who the players actually believe in. Those 3 things should make a huge difference.

alex-mackHowever the Browns are going to have to do it without one of their best and most respected players – Alex Mack. The Pro Bowl center reportedly broke his leg in yesterday’s 31-10 win over the Steelers and is expected to be lost for the rest of the season. John Greco filled in nicely on Sunday against Pittsburgh, but how he performs moving forward will affect the Browns offense in a big way, not to mention Paul McQuistan moving over to take Greco’s spot at left guard. The offensive line has been this team’s MVP’s so far this season. Their depth is going to be tested the rest of the way.

Nobody was harder on the Browns front office for ignoring the wide receiver position in the draft and in free agency than yours truly. Early on it looks like Ray Farmer and the Browns were right and I was wrong. We’ll see if Taylor Gabriel and Travis Benjamin can both continue to make plays and if Miles Austin can stay healthy, but this group with some help from the O-line and Brian Hoyer have performed better than I thought they would. Plus they’ll get All Pro wide out Josh Gordon back for the 11th game of the season at Atlanta, which will have a huge, positive impact on the entire group.

Hats off to Chris Tabor and the special teams.  A few weeks ago they were a laughing stock. The last 2 weeks, they have been solid and made big plays to change the momentum of the game. They were a big reason the Browns won in Tennessee and also against Pittsburgh yesterday. Good decisions, fundlemental play and no mental mistakes go a long way in helping your team win.  Some of those things might not be sexy, but they help you win.

Brian Hoyer Sidelines vs SteelersAnd last but not least, happy 29th birthday to local “Mr. Hero” Brian Hoyer. I used it as a trivia question yesterday at my Browns appearance at Jo Jo’s Sports Bar in Medina and someone knew right away that October 13th was the Browns starting quarterback’s birthday. A year ago I don’t think anyone would have known or cared, but after you lead the biggest road comeback in the history of the NFL and your kicking the Steelers butts all over the field, people start to notice and pay attention. It’s still a small sample size (8 starts), but it’s getting bigger and the results are the same. Hoyer is now (6-2) as the Browns starter and can be a free agent at the end of the season. Your call Jimmy Haslam and Ray Farmer. Do you believe enough in him to sign him now and maybe save some money, or do you wait until the end of the season and roll the dice? Yes you have Johnny “Jam Boogie” waiting in the wings, but he is nowhere near being ready to be a starting QB in this league. The Hoyer contract situation will be another story line to follow as this season progresses.