Locker Room Report: Brian Hoyer rated as the best deep passer in the NFL


Brian Hoyer is throwing the deep ball as well as any quarterback in the NFL

  • Coach Mike Pettine called a meeting Saturday night at the team hotel. Brian Hoyer slowly looked around the room and could just sense the Cleveland Browns were going to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers the following day. It's becoming easy for this team to rally around Pettine. They want to win for him.
  • "He just said, 'Look, it's Pittsburgh. It's our stadium. It's a division game. What more do I need to say,'" Hoyer said about the pep talk. "He talked about what needed to be done, and you could just tell there was a feeling of confidence. I think…I can't really put it into words, but you look around the room and everybody was ready to go."
  • tweeted this about Brian Hoyer -- he leads all quarterbacks with 531 yards coming on deep passes traveling 16 yards or further in the air. Second is Philip Rivers (475); third is Andrew Luck (449). Hoyer's arm strength has been on display in every game this season.
  • Hoyer's deep passes were on the money against Pittsburgh. He only needed eight completions for 217 yards. Yardage numbers against the Steelers went for the following: 51, 42, 31, 31, 24 and 17. And this is nothing new, either.
  • It's offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's system that's also helping. If you re-watch the Browns games on All-22, more often than not, Hoyer's deep bombs have been in one-on-one coverage. The potent running attack lures safeties and the way the Browns disguise their formations (they used three tight end sets on several deep passing plays against the Steelers) has really thrown off defenses.
  • "The way that we scheme things up, as long as you get through the progress and you have time to do that – which our offensive line has done a great job of allowing me to do – it's definitely a matchup-type of offense where you get stacks, bunches, things like that. It makes the defense…maybe they don't like to play a lot of man, but sometimes in those certain scenarios they have to. Then you can get guys open."
  • Hoyer was asked about what 'exorcising the Steelers demon' can possibly do for the team from a big-picture standpoint. In his response, he offered one sentence about the Steelers and nine about the Jacksonville Jaguars. As cliché as it is, it's that in-the-moment attitude which makes Hoyer's leadership style real and meaningful at the same time.
  • "When you can beat a division opponent 31-10 that says enough," Hoyer said in an answer to a question later in his press conference.
  • "I just think [it's] his consistency," coach Mike Pettine said about what pleases him the most about Hoyer. "He's not just wildly all over the place. At a position where you need somebody to be rock solid, he's rock solid, not just from a performance standpoint, from a demeanor, from a leadership standpoint. He's been solid and he's been consistent. Guys know what they're going to get from him."

Mike Pettine's press conference highlights

  • After every win, Pettine puts up the same slide on the white board in front of his team regarding how to handle success. It was no different after beating the Steelers. The Browns were featured on the first page in Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback, the gospel for most football fans. National radio programs were full of Cleveland football talk all day long, too. Pettine has made the team aware that winning brings attention and storylines from all angles. That's arguably the best thing about the first-year coach: he tackles potential issues head-on.
  • "We want to have to deal with being favored in games," said Pettine. "We want to have to deal with, 'Hey, this is a potential trap game for you.' That's part of being a good program is being able to handle all those different situations. We warned the guys. Just make sure that we know, that we all know that there's an overreaction to every win and that there's an overreaction to every loss. We prefer to be handling the overreaction to the wins."
  • The 31-10 score seems as if the Browns played a near flawless game, but the tape said otherwise. Pettine said the team is looking to correct a couple glaring issues he saw: another slow first quarter start, losing composure in certain situations and fumbling. Cleveland put the ball on the turf three times, and was lucky to only lose it once.
  • The defensive game plan against the Steelers worked. Part of that was scaling back on exotic blitzes and part of that is Pettine and the staff are getting to know how to use their players better. The Browns will consider this as a continued strategy, but Pettine also said it's a "week-by-week" thing in terms of how voluminous the playbook will be.

Ben Tate: We expect to beat the Steelers

  • Please watch Ben Tate in video form, because you truly can't understand the confidence he has in this football team through writing only.
  • "To me, I expected it, honestly," said Tate about beating Pittsburgh. "I wasn't really that shocked when we beat them…I knew it wouldn't be close if we came out and played well."
  • "The city of Cleveland, it's big for them. I just got here, so I can't really say. But just from hearing the fans talk and reading what they tweet at me…it was a big deal. If it's a big deal to them, it's a big deal to me."
  • Tate does take pride in turning around this franchise. He never avoids those type of questions and always provides worthwhile answers. And wins, whether they be against the Steelers or any other NFL franchise, is the only way to silence the doubters.
  • "I can honestly say when I was in Houston and we had to play the Browns…it was whatever," said Tate about the old stigma surrounding his Cleveland's team. "But now it's a new era. Coach Pettine is trying to get this thing turned around. Now when guys see the Browns, [they'll say], 'Okay, we'll have to buckle up and play.'"
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