Q: What did Brian Hoyer do to win the QB competition?
A: It is more what he didn't do that won it...
Q: Why did Kevin Love choose the #0?
A: Because he is used to being the superstar on his teams...
Q: What are the Indians chances of making the postseason?
A: Mathematics says more than 0% so...
Q: Can I get a refund on those Browns season tickets I bought?
Q: Is there any hope for Steelers week?
A: I don't know, I just hope they keep Swagger on his leash...
Q: What is the worst thing about Cleveland sports right now?
A: There are Steeler flavored pierogies being sold in the area...
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Normally my post game rants I highlight some guys who played well and adversely call out some guys who under performed. This week that is easy, the defense was really good and the offense was really bad. As stupid and simplistic of an analysis that is, it really is the truth. The defense is set, and outside of some injuries at CB the Browns defense looked mean, nasty and tough. Three turnovers created by the first team alone should have set the tone for this offense in flux, but alas that didn't happen.
The reason that this is significant was that coach Mike Pettine wanted to name the starters, most significantly the starting QB. So the battle of Brian Hoyer vs Johnny Manziel had its final showdown on Monday Night Football. And did someone stand out? No.
Our offense way abysmal. It looked like the worst of Brian Daboll, Pat Shurmur, and Rob Chudzinski all combined into some new type of stupid that was painful to watch. And more importantly created more questions than answers to a unit that appears to be in way worse shape than many of us feared. So what better way to end an annual QB controversy in Cleveland than a completely disfunctional game?
And as the dust settled after that stinker it was Brian Hoyer awarded the starting position over fan favorite Johnny Manziel. Was it fair? Did Hoyer earn it? So lets take a look at both guys...
Truthfully that is where the positives end. Brian Hoyer may have just won a QB competition doing the least amount of good things in the history of the NFL. Boasting a 40% completion percentage and failing to convert third down, let alone a touchdown Hoyer has hardly given the Browns faithful a reason to forget about Johnny Manziel.
However I don't want to bury the guy, he certainly wasn't blessed with a ton of support from his teammates. Hoyer's inaccuracy was amplified by some very poor WR play, and his decision making hampered in the last game with some very poor offensive line play. The first team units under Hoyer looked disorganized and poor as a whole.
To be honest it is hardly the glowing endorsement I was hoping to give our QB going into the season, but I am guess I can see the coach's logic. So if I can see the logic in it, how bad could Johnny have been?
Considering the above pic was Johnny Manziel's NFL highlight so far, I can honestly say that I wasn't blown away. I haven't made it a secret that I don't see Johnny through the same rose colored glasses that many fans do. Johnny looked every bit the college gimmick offense QB who probably came out of school too soon. He did outplay Hoyer, but only barely.
While that may sound harsh, those aren't criticisms they are facts. The truth is Johnny Manziel isn't Brandon Weeden, he's a 21 year old kid. He has a lot of time, and an almost limitless ceiling. But Johnny isn't any where near that ceiling right now. The worst part of Johnny's game has been simple, but obvious... he isn't ready for the pro game. Simply calling a play in a huddle is new to him, and it has been a struggle for him. I noticed several instances where he turned to throw to a receiver who was running a completely different route than Johnny thought he was running.
Fixable overnight? Absolutely not.
So I am sorry to the people who were Manziel or bust this season. There are adjustments that people in Johnny's position need to make, and no matter how much you wish it to be true he is no exception. Brian Hoyer has more experience, a better grasp on the offense, and in my opinion gives this team a better chance to win during this brutal stretch that starts this season.
The fact is that Brian Hoyer's window is small, if he wants to make a career as an NFL starter this is his chance. It is now or never for him. I hope that ending the competition will allow him to regain some of the comfort in the offense he showed last season.
And as far as Johnny Manziel goes, chill out people. He isn't the exception to the rules, he's human and he will be well served to learn his position. The logic that players don't get experience backing up veterans is flawed, and if you really are a fan of the kid let him learn.
And if they both turn out to suck, there was one bright spot at QB...
Friday, August 15, 2014
The offseason before the 2008 season was one of my darkest times as a Browns fan. We were coming off a 10 win season, and things were looking promising. However I was stunned by the absolute hate being directed towards the QB that actually won those 10 games. Derek Anderson had made the Pro Bowl and looked poised to be the most successful signal caller in the new Browns era, but many people were still unhappy.
How was this possible? A young man named Brady Quinn was on the team, and people were pissed that he wasn't the guy that did the winning. I've already went into detail about Quinn earlier on this blog. But the point is people wanted Quinn to win because he was a hometown boy (if you can count Dublin as being hometown) that grew up a Browns fan. The splitting of the fan base took a toll on everyone, and in my opinion did a lot to affect the product that eventually made its way onto the field.
Fast forward to 2013 when a genuine hometown boy named Brian Hoyer took the reigns of the Browns offense and actually looked good. His success was short lived, due to an injury which ended his season, but Hoyer seemed poised to bounce back and at give it another shot. Hoyer's story is like something out of a fairy tale, and up until May it looked like people were going to get that Brady Quinn moment that they all longed for years ago. Then along came Johnny Manziel...
I don't need to explain who Johnny Manziel is. If you don't know, go turn on ESPN for about 15 seconds and no matter what is on you are bound to hear a Johnny Manziel reference of some sort. I'm not trying to bail on Johnny but I'm not so blinded by the hype that I can't see him for what he is. He is a very athletic QB with a surprisingly good arm... who also came out of college as a sophomore and didn't play in anything close to a pro offense. Most people in that spot would be considered a good prospect, and be expected to pay his dues in the league, but he isn't most people. He's Johnny Football, he is the end all next gen Anti-Tebow that ESPN, NFL Network and TMZ can't get enough of.
All of that is cool, but suddenly people hate the hometown boy. It's not like Hoyer ever did anything wrong. He is 3-0 as a starter, he didn't set the world on fire, but he looked better than any QB in an orange helmet in a long time. Yet that has not stopped the hopes in many, that the Browns find some way to make Hoyer simply go away. That way Johnny Football has no competition for the starting role.
On the flip side many of Brian Hoyer's top supporters have become Johnny Football haters as well. As far as I'm concerned it is all nonsense. I don't know why people are so resistant to embrace the fact that we essentially have two promising QB candidates. How quickly people forget the Browns history of QB need. In fact the Browns have only had 4 seasons since 1985 in which one guy has started all 16 games, and haven't done it in consecutive seasons since 1980-1981 when Brian Sipe did it.
So for those of you that just want one of our QB's to go away, look at this year by year of our starters and maybe you won't be so eager to get rid of anyone, and maybe your will even want to add a few more...
- 2013 - Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer
- 2012 - Brandon Weeden, Thad Lewis
- 2011 - Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace
- 2010 - Colt McCoy, Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace
- 2009 - Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson
- 2008 - Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, Ken Dorsey, Bruce Gradkowski
- 2007 - Derek Anderson, Charlie Frye
- 2006 - Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson
- 2005 - Trent Dilfer, Charlie Frye
- 2004 - Jeff Garcia, Kelly Holcomb, Luke McCown
- 2003 - Kelly Holcomb, Tim Couch
- 2002 - Tim Couch, Kelly Holcomb
- 2001 - Tim Couch
- 2000 - Doug Pederson, Tim Couch, Spergon Wynn
- 1999 - Tim Couch, Ty Detmer
- 1995 - Vinny Testaverde, Eric Zeier
- 1994 - Vinny Testaverde, Mark Rypien
- 1993 - Bernie Kosar, Vinny Testaverde, Todd Philcox
- 1992 - Mike Tomczak, Bernie Kosar, Todd Philcox
- 1991 - Bernie Kosar
- 1990 - Bernie Kosar, Mike Pagel
- 1989 - Bernie Kosar
- 1988 - Bernie Kosar, Mike Pagel, Gary Danielson, Don Strock
- 1987 - Bernie Kosar, Gary Danielson (Jeff Christensen started as a replacement player during strike)
- 1986 - Bernie Kosar
- 1985 - Bernie Kosar, Gary Danielson
Sunday, August 10, 2014
New Browns coach Mike Pettine has said this offseason that the Browns were going to "break off the rear view mirror," this season. Blowing a 4th quarter lead in a football game isn't going to make that happen any quicker. But it is the preseason and I'm not going to sweat some bubble players letting a game get away. The real competition is between teammates in these games. So I am going to look at some of the battles for positions that were fought last night.
Obviously the most hotly contested battle on the team is between the hometown boy Brian Hoyer and the media darling Johnny Manziel. While tons of fans have a personal agenda is at play in this battle, I personally want to see the best man win. The trouble is that objectively I didn't see one guy take a resounding lead in the competition.
Hoyer's was 6-14 with 92 yards in three series with the offense. He made a few nice reads and throws, but the kink in his armor on Saturday night was a couple overthrows that could have potentially lead to big plays for the Browns offense. The worst part of his night was that perhaps his best two thrown ball of the night were also not hauled in. Miles Austin dropped a pass near the end zone that would have set up first and goal. And Josh Gordon couldn't haul in a well thrown ball in the end zone, due to a very nice play by the Lions' defense.
Manziel's debut was also somewhat polarizing. Johnny went 7-11 for 63 yards with 27 rushing yards. While Johnny didn't set the world on fire, it is important to remember this was his first ever professional action. Kyle Shanaham wasted no time letting Johnny be Johnny as he rotated between standard pro offensive plays, and more gimmicky style offense. Johnny made a couple nice reads and throws, and a couple drive saving runs to keep the offense on the field. Probably the most impressive moment of his game for me came when Johnny was under pressure and threw an awkward, but catchable ball to Terrance West in the flat for an 8 yard gain. Not many QBs in Browns history make that play. But Johnny's night wasn't all positive as he had a fairly bad overthrow on a comeback route and fell victim to some poor WR and OL play.
While the numbers were a bit pedestrian I felt that both guys did a nice job of moving the ball and despite no touchdown drives, we consistently flipped field position, putting our defense in a good position to shine. Neither guy probably gained or lost much ground.
Some other guys who really helped their cause vs. the Lions:
RB-Ben Tate: Tate had 25 yards on 6 carries, while not great numbers you must remember the Browns passed the ball more than any team in the NFL last season because we weren't getting solid carries out of anyone.
RB-Terrance West: 22 yards on 10 carries doesn't sound that great, but considering he lost a fair number of his yards on poorly blocked runs out of the pistol sort of balances that out. When given ample opportunity West showed some power and vision and had several nice runs of his own.
TE/FB-Marqueis Gray: The former Golden Gopher QB showed why he was in camp showing a unique blend of size and speed. Gray had two nice catch and runs for 51 yards. He will just have to clean up a bad drop that he had in the red zone, that looked more like a borderline fumble to me.
WR-Charles Johnson: Browns WRs did not have the best night against the Lions, so Johnson's performance probably will allow him to sit smugly during positional meetings this week. Johnson made three tough catches for 30 yards, showing off his hands and running ability.
G-John Greco: The block of the night came from Greco as he alertly blasted a back side rusher. The block was so vicious that it was initially flagged, but was ultimately deemed a clean block. He helped a first team offensive line that really stood out as a unit.
S-Donte Whitner: Whitner has nothing to prove as one of the veterans on this team, but he had a couple hard yet clean hits. I felt he really motivated the rest of the defense to tighten up after a shaky start.
MLB-Craig Robertson: Robertson showed great improvement over last season in both run support and pass coverage. With draft pick Christian Kirksey (who stood out himself) breathing down his neck, Robertson didn't do anything to indicate he is going to give away his starting position easily.
OLB-Barkevious Mingo: Last year's first round pick made the Browns only sack of the night, but it was a highlight reel sack. Mingo powered through what I thought was an obvious hold by a Lions fullback to get his first preseason sack.
K-Billy Cundiff: Cundiff made all four of his FG attempts, quieting critics of the team for not bringing in multiple kickers for this year's camp to challenge for the spot.
WR-Marlon Moore: While Moore wasn't involved much in the offense he made the most of his one touch by returning a kick 52 yards, showing incredible speed in the process. With the Josh Gordon suspension looming there may be an extra spot available. All eyes were on Willie Snead for that spot, but Snead really hurt his cause last night opening a possible door for a guy like Moore.
Hopefully next week's game in Washington will answer even more questions.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Here is another big blast of photos that Browns Memes Kid and I got at training camp. I know it's not my typical rant spattered with jokes, but I hope you enjoy them. I will be back to my normal jokes next week!