Thoughts on Hoyer’s season-ending injury

Posted Oct 4, 2013

Senior Editor Vic Carucci gives his five thoughts on the season-ending knee injury to Brian Hoyer and its impact on the Browns’ quarterback situation.

Here are my five thoughts on Brian Hoyer’s season-ending knee injury against the Bills Thursday night and its impact on the Browns’ quarterback situation:

>It’s awful. Not just because of how well he performed in leading the Browns to their first two victories this season. Not just because of the desperately needed spark he provided the offense. It’s awful because, after four seasons and two games as a backup, this was Hoyer’s big shot. This was his chance to prove he had far more value than anyone could expect from an undrafted free agent, his chance to write his own Kurt Warner story. And, as a bonus, he’s a local guy. He was so easy to root for because he was living out the dream of playing – and winning – for his hometown team. It’s awful because, regardless of what happens through the balance of the season, we’ll always wonder what might have been. Said coach Rob Chudzinski, “He did a great job stepping in and really showing what he could do with his opportunity. It was huge for us. This is disappointing. I know he’s disappointed, but he’s going to make it back. He’s the type of guy who can overcome, and has overcome, a number of obstacles. I have no doubt that this will be another thing that he’s able to overcome. He’s already moving to thinking about how he’s going to get that done and the work that he has ahead of him and all of those things. He’s such a positive guy. He’s the kind of guy you just don’t doubt.”


>No, Brandon Weeden didn’t look nearly as prepared as he needed to be to promptly take over and get the offense rolling after a mostly slow start with Hoyer. No, he did not show good pocket awareness or seemingly go through a thorough progression of his reads. But he did NOT deserve to be booed and jeered as much as he was by large portions of a crowd that had moved on from him as the Browns’ starter and were clearly crushed by the sight of Hoyer being helped off the field with that immediately looked like the bad injury that it was. He needed to be supported. And he needs to be supported for as long as he is starting because, as Chudzinski said, “we have no other choice.”


>This is not an excuse; it’s a fact: Weeden had almost no meaningful snaps to prepare for Thursday night’s game. In a short week of preparation, all of the emphasis was on getting Hoyer ready for the game. Weeden had the thumb he injured in Week 2 taped in Wednesday’s practice, so he was physically and mentally trying to overcome that. And the fact that he rebounded from that bad start well enough to contribute to the Browns’ 37-24 victory is a credit to his mental toughness. “Coming in off the bench is always a difficult situation, especially at that position,” Chudzinski said. “There were some ups and downs. I think he was resilient and kept playing through those and was able to make some big plays. The drive that he had there in the second quarter and then obviously, when the game was tied, a couple big time throws that he made for culminating in Josh (Gordon’s) score was huge.”


>There is no available solution to magically patch the Hoyer hole. The Browns are back to where they were when the season began, with Weeden as their starter. They have to face the reality that this team will only go as far as he can take them, with the support of highly talented pass-catchers such as Gordon and Jordan Cameron and one of the top defenses in the NFL.


>Offensive coordinator Norv Turner will be counted on to coach-up Weeden. Turner will likely make some adjustments in the playbook and with play-calling to help Weeden process plays more quickly. He will concentrate on Weeden’s ability to become faster with his reads and getting the ball out of his hand and improving his footwork. He will continue to drill him on what he drilled him on since the start of offseason workouts: having a greater sense of urgency in the pocket and getting in and out of the huddle at a more rapid pace. These were areas in which Hoyer excelled. But Hoyer also had the benefit of being in the NFL three more seasons than Weeden and studying one of the masters of quarterback management, Tom Brady, while backing him up in New England.


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