Browns-Rams Preview

Browns-Rams Preview

Newly minted starting quarterback Brian Hoyer needs to show something positive Saturday night vs. Rams

Brian Hoyer has won the Cleveland Browns quarterback competition. But, really, were there any winners?

Quick, name a quarterback competition in recent years that was this hyped in the preseason and this muddled but still ended with a lot of victories for the team that season?

I’m waiting …

Perhaps this is just a jaded point of view because Browns. This year wasn’t the first time a Browns’ preseason was dominated by dissecting who was getting the snaps and with what team during a mundane August practice, who was starting a preseason game, how long would they play in the preseason game and, finally my personal favorite, who has the “momentum.”

Think back to the debates we’ve all had: Holcomb vs. Couch. Anderson vs. Frye. Anderson vs. Quinn. Weeden vs. McCoy. I’m sure there’s one or two I’ve missed, but my goodness isn’t that a depressing trip down memory lane?

In 2014 and 174 losses since 1999 later, this all just feels sad and hopeless.

For now the job is Hoyer’s and regardless of the “winner” this season, after last Monday’s performance neither Hoyer nor Johnny Manziel seemed like a good solution.

In two games, we haven’t seen any signs of life from the Hoyer we briefly saw in three games last season, which brings us to Saturday night.

It sure would be nice to see a familiar Brian Hoyer. Remember that guy who led fourth-quarter rallies to beat Minnesota and Cincinnati last season? A quarterback who — for the first time since Tim freakin’ Couch — actually looked competent behind center? So far this preseason, Hoyer has looked like ghosts of Failed Browns Quarterbacks Past. He’s 6-for-14 for 92 yards with no touchdowns. Yes, there have been some poor efforts from his fellow offensive players and it is still preseason, but it’s been ugly.

Hoyer is coming off an ACL injury. His recovery has gone smoothly, but it’s rare a player bounces back the same or even better a year removed form blowing out his knee. Adrian Peterson was an anomaly while Carson Palmer, Tom Brady and Robert Griffin III seemed to be more typical.

Palmer’s knee was destroyed in the Bengals’ home playoff game against the Steelers in 2005 after a season in which threw for 32 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions. The next two years his touchdowns went down and interceptions went up. He’s never returned to that 2005 form.

Brady blew out his knee in the first game of 2008. In 2009 he threw for 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions before returning to his old form with 36 touchdowns and four picks in 2010.

Griffin’s rookie season ended with a blown out knee. After throwing for 20 touchdown and five interceptions and rushing for 815 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie, his 2013 season saw only 16 touchdown passes, 12 interceptions and 489 yards rushing with zero touchdowns.

Hoyer is dealing with more than a simple quarterback competition entering the 2014 season. He needs to overcome that knee injury and find that previous form. He needs to overcome Manziel Mania.

A month ago, many thought the Browns couldn’t go wrong with picking either Manziel or Hoyer. Now, it appears either option was poor considering Manziel isn’t mentally ready and Hoyer may still be physically unprepared.

This all adds up to another 4-12 or 5-11 season by the Cleveland Browns. That is, unless Hoyer can once again give Browns fans hope. If he could show something — anything — positive this Saturday at home against the Rams, it would go a long way to preventing everyone from studying that Cavs schedule for another month or so.

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