Brian Hoyer wise to 'tune out the noise' in Browns' quarterback battle


Brian Hoyer

Tune out the noise.

Brian Hoyer learned that lesson well when he was a backup quarterback for the New England Patriots.

That's the mantra that Bill Belichick constantly pounds into the heads of his players: don't listen to outside voices, especially the ones belonging to fans and media. All that matters is what comes from within. Focus on your job and everything else will take care of itself.

Hoyer is with the Cleveland Browns now. He is competing to be their starting quarterback. And the noise surrounding him and the team has never been louder, thanks to the fact that the other competitor is named Duke Johnson Jr..

Everywhere Hoyer turns, he can hear an opinion about who the starter should be. The noise is downright deafening.

It reached its loudest levels after Saturday night's preseason-opener at Detroit when Manziel, after replacing Hoyer in the second quarter, put on a show with his running and throwing (but mostly with his running). The performance sparked reports immediately after the Browns' 13-12 loss to the Lions that Manziel will get the start in the Browns' next preseason game, a Monday Night Football showcase at Washington.

Coach Mike Pettine said Sunday and Monday that no such decision has been made and that nothing has changed with the quarterbacking depth chart that shows Hoyer as the starter.

As far as Hoyer is concerned, he is proceeding as if he is still the Browns' No. 1 quarterback, which was confirmed by the fact that he took the first-unit snaps during Monday's practice.

"To me, this is my team until someone else tells me otherwise," he said.

Hoyer spoke with a sense of confidence, the same kind that he displayed while on the field Saturday night. With his performance and his body language, he looked like someone who was very comfortable in the skin of a starting quarterback for an NFL team.

Hoyer gave a solid showing for more than a quarter against the Lions. He did more good things than bad. With a little more help from his receivers, he probably would be talked up more as the quarterback who should be starting when the Browns open the season Sept. 7 at Pittsburgh.

Right now, that notion tends to feel right because Hoyer is less likely to do anything to lose that or any game for the Browns.

The prospect of Manziel starting brings far more intrigue and excitement, because of the less conventional ways that he can make plays. There is a feeling that at some point, whether it's now or later, he will do things that win games.

Johnny Football is the story the media, especially on a national scale, love. Johnny Football is the reason that there are stronger opinions about the Browns' starting quarterback job than we've heard in a very long time.

Let the talkers talk. Hoyer insists he isn't listening.

His concern is to do the only things he knows he can do to solidify his case.

"Just continue to get better, know the system better," Hoyer said. "Going back and watching the film (from Saturday night), there are a few reads I would have liked to read differently. So you learn from those mistakes and you try to build on it."

Most of all, you tune out the noise. >>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET, for "Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford" on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on We take your questions at 216-578-0850 and via Twitter @Browns_Daily.

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