Entering the 2014 NFL season, most people believed there would be tons of quarterback controversy surrounding the Cleveland Browns. Brian Hoyer put that controversy to rest very early in the season. There was some inconsistency in the play of the Browns, but none the less Hoyer led Cleveland to a 6-3 start. This fantastic start was something this franchise hadn't seen in recent years. The hometown kid from St. Ignatius High School, Brian Hoyer, was giving his city and its fans something to rally around and something to be proud of. It was a great story.
This story might not have a fairytale ending though. After the 6-3 start that gave Cleveland fans hope that maybe, just maybe, this would be the year they end their playoff drought, Hoyer and the Browns lost two of their next three contests. This still currently leaves the Browns with a 7-5 record, which is already the most wins they have racked up since 2007 when they went 10-6 and still failed to make the playoffs. For a team with a new head coach (Mike Pettine) and a quarterback coming off an ACL injury who had previously appeared in only three games for Cleveland, the Browns have a lot to be proud of. On the other side of things, Brian Hoyer hasn't been impressive in his last three starts throwing six interceptions and throwing for only one touchdown pass.
Hoyer's recent struggles allowed for the emergence of Johnny Manziel in the second half of their game against the Bills. In his short time on the field, Manziel managed to run for a touchdown and completed 5/8 pass attempts for 63 yards. The whole city watched as "Johnny Football" threw up the money sign. It may be a small sample size to consider, but Manziel definitely got the quarterback controversy in Cleveland brewing once again.
Manziel's glimpse of success and Hoyer's recent struggles raise the question of whether the hometown kid, Brian Hoyer, or the new kid in town, Johnny Manziel, gives the Cleveland Browns a better chance of winning each Sunday in a quest to clinch a playoff spot.
It seems both quarterbacks have a good argument for getting the start on Dec. 7 against the Indianapolis Colts, but who really deserves it? The edge has to go to Brian Hoyer if you ask me. His struggles recently have been horrific and frustrating for Browns fans no doubt, but at the end of the day the Browns are 7-5 and haven't been in this position in many years. He might not be the hot quarterback right now, but Hoyer deserves the start because of his production as a whole this season.
The interceptions are inexcusable if the Browns still want to squeeze into the playoffs, but Hoyer has faced adversity before and nothing says he won't push through this adversity once again. When Hoyer and wide receiver Josh Gordon get on the same page, the number of interceptions will go down and the number of touchdowns will rise. If Hoyer can get back on track and rack up a few big wins alongside all of the weapons the Browns have both offensively and defensively, maybe, just maybe, the Cleveland Browns can sneak into the NFL playoffs.
We will see how the Browns and the hometown kid decide to finish writing the end to their story.