Skip to main content


Brian Hoyer confident he can lead Browns through playoff push


When assessing Brian Hoyer's performance, the No. 5 can be viewed in two different lights.

On one side is the five interceptions Hoyer's thrown in the Browns' past two games, the worst such stretch of his 2014 season. On the other is the number of losses Cleveland takes into its Week 14 showdown with the Indianapolis Colts, a total low enough to have the Browns right in the thick of a crowded AFC playoff race.

Hoyer, as he stood in front of his locker with reporters surrounding him Monday, emphasized the latter as he reiterated why he believes he's the best option to start Sunday against the Colts.

"We're 7-5. This just doesn't happen by luck," Hoyer said. "It was hard-earned, and we've worked to get where we're at. We're still in it. With those other teams losing yesterday, we get to play.

"We have four more games. Two of them are division games. You don't get to 7-5 in the NFL just by lucking into it. It's been a lot of hard work, and I think I've proven that I've gotten us to this point. I feel like I can carry us through the next four games. There's no doubt in my mind that I'll be ready to go."

Double that five and you get 10, the number of wins Hoyer's quarterbacked over the past two seasons. That hasn't been forgotten, either.

"That's not bad," Hoyer said. "Coach (Mike) Pettine always says it - there's always a lot of overreaction regardless of if you win or lose and obviously a little more this time because of the circumstances, but this doesn't waver my confidence in myself one bit."

Pettine stressed Monday his decision to pull Hoyer in favor of rookie Johnny Manziel for the final two series of Sunday's loss at Buffalo had nothing to do with his overall confidence in his veteran starter. Rather, it was an in-game decision to "spark our team."

And that's exactly what happened, as Manziel led the Browns on an 80-yard scoring drive capped with the first rushing touchdown from a Cleveland quarterback since 2010, a 10-yard Manziel scramble that ended a 41-minute scoring drought.

Pettine's decision between Hoyer and Manziel is expected by Wednesday.

"There's a lot to consider," Pettine said. "I know that after watching the tape everybody on offense needs to play better. You can't just pin it all on the quarterback when the offense isn't as efficient as it should be, but the truth of the matter is, in order for the quarterback to play well, they all need to play well around him. It is a team deal, and I think our guys know that after watching the tape."

Hoyer admitted Sunday he was shocked by Pettine's decision to play Manziel for the final two series of the Browns' 26-10 loss but he stressed Monday that he didn't take it personally. The decision is in the hands of Pettine, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, general manager Ray Farmer and quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains.

With Tuesday's off day -- at least when it pertains to on-field preparation -- on the horizon, Hoyer said he's preparing as if he'll start his 13th consecutive game Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium.

"I'm studying my tape on Indy, and I would do the same if I wasn't," he said. "That's just the way I've always prepared. For me, nothing's changed. I go about my business the way I handle it every week, and that's his right. He's the head coach. He gets to make those decisions."

Since he completed 15-of-23 passes for 198 yards in the Browns' 24-3 win at Cincinnati, Hoyer's gone 61-of-120 for 834 yards with a touchdown and six interceptions. The Browns have gone 1-2 in those games and averaged 14.3 points.

Hoyer's two most promising drives Sunday ended with a combined three points. After moving the ball effectively between the 20s, the execution lagged inside the red zone.

"You've just got to find a way to get it done," Hoyer said. "When you get down there, you've got to be able to take advantage of it because the good teams score touchdowns. We haven't been able to do that. If you go back to Atlanta, we were able to do it. We were able to run it in, and even going back to Cincinnati, we got it down on the goal line and those types of things.

"We have to find a way to either stay on the field or convert some of those third downs low in the red area with touchdowns."

Set up with an opportunity to add to a 3-0 lead early in the third quarter after a Joe Haden interception, Hoyer and the Browns offense went three-and-out and punted. The drive began in field goal range but ended outside of it when Hoyer took a sack on third down.

For the season, Hoyer's completed 56.2 percent of his passes for 3,056 yard with, 11 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, seven wins and five losses.

"We still have a chance to attain all of our goals," Hoyer said. "It's still there in front of us. That decision's not up to me, though, and I'll be ready. I'm going to go about it as business as usual and see where it goes."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content