Browns head coach Mike Pettine has been quiet about who will be his starting quarterback this weekend against the Colts, but according to a number of media reports this morning the Browns will stick with Brian Hoyer. The Browns have since confirmed that Hoyer will continue to start. FOX Sports' Jay Glazer first had the news.
Hoyer won the job over rookie Johnny Manziel out of training camp and has started every game since. The Browns have been a surprise team in 2014, as they currently sit at 7-5 and right in the thick of the playoff discussion. For much of the season, Hoyer has been a solid quarterback who has helped Cleveland win. He has completed 56.2% of his passes for 3,056 yards, 11 touchdowns and 10 picks. In the past few weeks, however, Hoyer has been terrible. In fact, five of those ten picks have come in the last two games while zero of those touchdowns have come in the last two weeks. Over the last four games, Hoyer has thrown just one touchdown pass combined while throwing six picks. Last week, he was benched in the middle of the game for Manziel, who completed 5 of 8 passes for 63 yards without a touchdown or a pick while adding 13 yards and a touchdown rushing.
After Hoyer's recent struggles and the spark that Manziel gave the offense last week, it was expected that the first start of the Johnny Manziel era in Cleveland would come this Sunday against the Colts, though no announcement was made. Still, most expected it to be Manziel getting the nod. That's why the announcement this morning that the Browns are sticking with Hoyer comes as a surprise.
"After thorough evaluation and talking to the staff, we feel Brian gives us the best opportunity to win on Sunday," Browns coach Mike Pettine said in a statement today. "This is a football decision and those are always going to be based on what we think is best for our team. Brian has led our team to a 7-5 record. I'm confident that we can get the entire offense playing at the level needed to accomplish the goals we set at the beginning of the season. Those goals are still very much attainable."
With the announcement that Hoyer will remain the starting quarterback, it seems like he will have a short leash this Sunday against the Colts. The Browns are still very much fighting for a playoff spot and can't afford to drop a game like this, as only four weeks remain in the NFL season. If Hoyer's struggles continue, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Pettine turn back to Manziel. I thought that the rookie quarterback might give the Colts more trouble than Hoyer, as Manziel is a running quarterback unlike any the Colts have faced this year and those type of quarterbacks have given Indy trouble in the past. Of course, there's the chance of rookie mistakes with him but he does bring an added spark. With Hoyer, when he's playing well he can definitely be a solid quarterback that can help his team win, but recently he has been awful. We'll see what Hoyer shows up this Sunday, but if it's the same one we've seen recently, I wouldn't be surprised to see Johnny Manziel enter the game, as it's one the Browns can't really afford to lose.
Brian Hoyer will remain the Cleveland Browns' starting quarterback this weekend against the Indianapolis Colts, so hold off on the start of the Johnny Manziel era - for now.