Several years ago, a local broadcaster started referring to the various calamities that have befallen Cleveland sports using the phrase “Only in Cleveland”, which over the years has been shortened to OIC.
We have always hated that expression, mostly because most of what happens to our teams is a result of just not being good enough, not anything else.
“Red Right 88” was the result of not having a strong armed quarterback on a day that required one.
“The Drive” occurred because the coaching staff decided to change the defense they used to contain John Elway all day was changed. The only lucky play on that series was the one were the snap hit the motion man and went right to Elway.
“The Fumble” may have been bad luck for a great running back in Earnest Byner, but the Browns’ vaunted defense gave up 35 points that afternoon. For all emphasis Marty Schottenheimer put on his area of expertise, never forget that it was that side of the ball that failed the team in both AFC Championship Game losses.
“The Shot” was simply the greatest player in the history of the sport beating us.
Even though we can’t stand the term, we have to laugh at some people around town who are still pining for Johnny Manziel to be the Browns’ starting quarterback as soon as this Sunday against Tennessee.
Only in Cleveland would the quarterback play be debated while the team scores over 20 points in each of the first three games since 1969.
We understand that Brian Hoyer doesn’t have a sexy nickname like “Johnny Football”, and he wasn’t a first round draft pick, but to make a change at that position, wouldn’t you have to be losing games because of poor quarterback play?
The Browns currently rank 12th in the NFL in scoring offense, averaging 24.7 points per contest. That would rank just behind (by .3 points) the 25.0 a game scored by the Denver Broncos, who have Peyton Manning at QB.
Now we aren’t saying Hoyer is Manning, not by a long shot, but scoring points hasn’t been Mike Pettine’s team’s problem in 2014.
That would be the defense, which is allowing 25.7 points a game, ranking 23rd in the league in that category.
The Browns’ defense has allowed the fourth most rushing yards per game in the league, behind only Green Bay (2-2), Oakland (0-4), and St. Louis (1-2), and they allow the second most yardage per play (6.4), trailing only Dallas.
The pass defense ranks seventh in the league, but that is a hollow statistic because if you can move the ball by running it, why would you put the ball in the air?
Hoyer? He ranks 11th in passing efficiency, mostly because he hasn’t thrown an interception this year, and he also ranks 12th in ESPN’s QBR stat.
And for all of those who claim he is a nickel and dime passer, feasting on short throws, he is right in the middle of the pack in yards per pass attempt, right between Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger, and ahead of both Mannings and also higher than big arm throwers like Joe Flacco and Jay Cutler.
We wouldn’t disagree with people who say Manziel is the future of the franchise and we look forward to seeing him play too. But right now, the right man to quarterback the Cleveland Browns is Brian Hoyer.
Until he shows otherwise, any talk about playing Manziel should be muted.