Brian Hoyer shedding steady label for playmaking ability
- With the longest active interception-less streak in the NFL (156 attempts) and feeling refreshed from a rare weekend off, Brian Hoyer enters Sunday's game against the Titans as confident as he's ever been.
- The thought in training camp and during the preseason was the Hoyer would be a manager of the offense, and not necessarily a "playmaker." Through three games, Hoyer has shown that can do both – execute the right play calls and elevate the play of those around him with his often pinpoint throws. Ten of Hoyer's 61 throws have gone for 20 yards or more and his completion percentage (64.5) is higher than established quarterbacks in Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton and Joe Flacco.
- Besides the obvious results, what makes the Browns so comfortable with their 28-year-old quarterback is his hunger for improvement.
- "It's not like I sit there and think I've plateaued," said Hoyer. "I think there's a lot of room to grow, especially when you go back and watch the film. You might go out of a game feeling pretty good, and then you go, 'Wow, OK. I missed this, this and this,' and it could have been a totally different story. I think I'm always trying to continue to improve. It'll come."
Titans quarterback Jake Locker is inconsistent at times, but still talented enough to win games
- The Browns are fully expecting Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker to start on Sunday. Locker , who missed last week's game against the Colts with a wrist injury, was borderline brilliant (22-for-33, 266 yards, 2 touchdowns, no interceptions) in the Titan's season opening upset win in Arrowhead Stadium against the Kansas Chiefs. Without their 26-year-old quarterback throwing darts, Tennessee loses that game.
- But the theme of Locker's career has been his inability to ride consistency. Like a wave in the ocean, he normally crashes downward. After reviewing film of his next two games – Dallas and Cincinnati – Locker played poorly. He missed reads. He missed throws. He threw four interceptions. Backups Charlie Whitehurst and Zach Mettenberger showed more of the same filling in against Indianapolis.
- Locker might be a nice change of pace for the Browns after facing Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees and Joe Flacco, but by no means is he a pushover. He's played in 26 NFL games and even with a limited supporting cast and a shuffled coaching staff, Locker has more touchdowns (26) than interceptions (19). The Washington alum also is one of the league's top running quarterbacks, averaging 6.6 yards in his career per rush.
- Tennessee is hopeful and Cleveland is planning for Locker to play like he did Week 1.
- "Locker, can make all the throws but has the added element of the scramble – something we haven't been mindful of," said coach Mike Pettine during his Wednesday press conference.
- "He's an effective player," said linebacker Paul Kruger. "He's big, athletic and has a big arm…if he sees an opportunity he'll cash in."
Long snapping shuffle?
- Pettine announced that the Browns will be having an open competition at long snapper. The incumbent, Christian Yount, has admitted to some early-season struggles. Sticking true to their word of always improving the roster, the Cleveland front office signed Charley Hughlett to the practice squad on Tuesday. Yount and Hughlett will rotate in practice this week and then Pettine and special teams coordinator, Chris Tabor, will converse about which player has looked the part.
- "I just think it's something that we need clarity on that situation," said Pettine. "Christian's a competitive guy, and he's very serious about his job. We're not going to hide from the fact that he struggled. He'll be the first one to tell you. He knows he needs to get better, but at the same time we have to move forward and put the team in the best position to win."
- Limited practice on Wednesday were: Desmond Bryant (glute, wrist), Ben Tate (knee) and Joe Thomas (rest). Marlon Moore did not practice (illness) while Jordan Cameron and Barkevious Mingo were full participants. Both were dealing with nagging shoulder injuries for most of September.
- The Browns expected Tate to be limited and may up his repetitions tomorrow as Sunday's game nears.