Brian Hoyer walks into tonight’s Monday Night Football Pre-Season game holding on to the Cleveland Browns starting QB job. While that lead is seen as razor thin, it is a lead that if he is able to keep it would lead to him be named the Browns QB going into Week 1. That means that the job, to some extent, is Hoyer’s to lose. Here is how:
Fail to Make Adjustments
One of Hoyer’s advantages is his experience in the NFL. While he has not started even a full season, he has experience with NFL defenses in practice as well as a few games. Hoyer will need to make adjustments at the line to be successful tonight. If Hoyer is unable to make the proper line calls or audibles his advantage of Johnny Manziel would be significantly minimized. Failing to make any of those adjustments could aslo impact the results of the plays, a bad line call could blow up a pass play or run.
Poor Decision Making
Going through proper progressions is the second area that Hoyer should have a leg up on Manziel. Against a Redskins defense that struggled mightily last year, Hoyer should be able to excel. Forcing throws into coverage, failure to recognize coverages and not getting to his check down receiver quick enough could open the competition fully. Poor decision making could lead to interceptions, or close calls, as well as unmanageable down and distance.
Finally Hoyer can lose the starting QB for the Browns with poor physical performance. Over and underthrowing receivers, lack of power behind the throws and not hitting receivers in stride could be a sign of Hoyer’s response to pressure. An inability to make throws minimizes Hoyer’s to be seen as capable of winning games in the NFL. If Hoyer can’t make the basic throws, Mike Pettine will be more prone to using Manziel’s creativity as the best way for the Browns to compete.
Hoyer struggled with expectations at Michigan State but has a chance to grab hold of his dream job with the Browns. I don’t expect Hoyer to struggle with the mental aspect of the game. Where Hoyer may struggle is trying to make things happen in an attempt to impress. Trying to force balls into small windows, gripping the ball too tight and over throwing receivers are all signs that Hoyer is feeling the pressure. It may not be enough for him to lose the job on its own but combined with Manziel’s performance could lead to Johnny Football under center Week 1 against the Steelers.