You can't catch Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer by surprise.
When asked if he would treat the Redskins game like a regular season contest, considering that his starting spot is still up for grabs, Hoyer remained unfazed.
"I play every game like it's a regular season game," said Hoyer. "There's no way to go about it other than that. I think the moment you think it's just a preseason game is the moment you're not prepared mentally, and all of the sudden something sneaks up on you and you're losing 14-0 in the first quarter."
NFL fans aren't deciding who plays quarterback for the Browns. Neither is the media. Nor are the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hoyer has to win over the offensive coaching staff. So, far he thinks he's done that.
The offense gained big yards on chunk plays when Hoyer was in the lineup against the Lions, and if not for some untimely drops, were close to getting the football in the end zone. Being close to touchdowns is not something Hoyer wants attached this name, though. He knows there are improvements to make.
Foot work has been a big emphasis from the Browns to Hoyer. The quarterback said he tends to get tall and stiff legged in the pocket. The coaches are trying to make sure Hoyer's base is a more athletic position.
"I think I've played well [but] I think I can play a lot better," said Hoyer. "There's no doubt about that. I think we're always trying to improve, and for us, I think things are coming up quick now."
Hoyer has waited his turn and he now takes pride in being the leader in Cleveland. A big part of the way how he carries himself can be credited to the three seasons he spent with the New England Patriots. There were times during practice where Tom Brady would try and steal extra reps. As an undrafted rookie from Michigan State, the preparation aspect in New England was something Hoyer had never seen.
Although he only attempted 33 passes in his stint with the Patriots, Hoyer's career was forever altered. It's the countless intangibles like his work ethic and knowledge of the game which derived from his time under Bill Belichick.
"I think I attribute my time in New England as learning football in light-years," said Hoyer, praising his former organization. "I think I learned more in my first year there than I learned in my entire career about the game of football – not just offense and quarterback play, but defenses, how to attack, things like that."
Pettine has prefaced his looming quarterback decision this week, by saying naming a Week One starter is not a season long commitment. Hoyer is completely fine with this. In 2013, he opened the season as the third-stringer behind Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell.
"I think the best quarterback should play regardless of the situation," said Hoyer. "It's a situation I dealt with last year when I came in and we kind of said it was a week to week thing. For me, I just want to be the starting quarterback of this team whatever the situation is."
Hoyer is preparing to be the starter for 16 games this season. That's how it will be for him today, tomorrow and the rest of his NFL career.