Brian Hoyer was an inspirational lift to the Cleveland Browns when they needed it most. However, have recent franchise changes altered that magic he had?
Matt Schaub news marks first hurdle cleared for Hoyer
For a three-game period in 2013 it looked like things were starting to come together for Cleveland. Thanks to an unlikely journeyman quarterback who was a former understudy of Tom Brady, the Browns won three-straight games and were contenders in the AFC North. Then Brian Hoyer tore his ACL, abruptly ending his season and sending Cleveland into a tailspin. It makes perfect sense that a number of fans are more than willing to give Hoyer another chance in 2014 given the success he had. It also looks like that thought could be coming true what with Matt Schaub on his way to Oakland from the Texans via trade. At present Hoyer is the only viable quarterback on the roster. Naturally the Cleveland Browns still have the NFL draft to find their next starter but many remain convinced Hoyer will get the first crack. He’s 28-years old, should heal nicely from the knee injury and knows the personnel of the offense and how to use them. Give him better protection and a running game and he’ll do great, right? If only it were that simple.
No Rob Chudzinski or Norv Turner creates different formula
Having good players in place for a quarterback is only part of the puzzle. One key to the success Hoyer had with the Cleveland Browns in 2013 must lay at the feet of former head coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Both came in as respected offensive minds noted for their ability to maximize the effectiveness of quarterbacks. Chudzinski turned Cam Newton into Rookie of the Year and a Pro Bowler. Turner guided Troy Aikman down a path to the Hall of Fame and then elevated Philip Rivers into a top tier passer. That kind of coaching presence no longer exists for the Browns. It is the Mike Pettine show in Cleveland now. He is a noted defensive specialist. Offensive coordinator belongs to Kyle Shanahan who has had success elsewhere but much of it came under the careful watch of his father, Mike Shanahan. Can Hoyer be expected to have the same success he did a year ago coming off a torn ACL and not have nearly as much offensive coaching experience guiding his every step like Chudzinski and Turner did?
There is no question Brian Hoyer can find the sweet spot that made him a folk hero for the Cleveland Browns. Still, the odds are a little further against him going into 2014.