It Doesn’t Have to Be Hoyer vs. Manziel

With everyone quick to judge how a first round draft pick’s career will go after six quarters of action, the debate has resumed about who the Browns’ quarterback should be going into the off-season.

Many fans are back on the Brian Hoyer bandwagon, and of course, they cite his 9-6 record as a starting quarterback, which gives no indication of how he played in those games.  Heck, Tim Tebow and Christian Ponder have led teams to the playoffs, and no one is thinking about either being an NFL starting signal caller anytime soon.

We believe that if Hoyer was from Lenexa, Kansas, there wouldn’t be a big clamor for him to be the starting quarterback.  Why?  Because he was one of the least efficient passers in the NFL this season, ranking 31st in the league, just ahead of Josh McCown and Blake Bortles.

Hoyer also had the second lowest completion percentage among qualifiers in 2014 ahead of only Drew Stanton, completing only 55.3% of his throws.

The point here is that Hoyer only looks good in comparison to the job Manziel did in his two starts, and quite frankly, you have to assume, the former Heisman Trophy winner will get better with his first NFL experience under his belt.

It is doubtful that at Hoyer’s age, he is currently 29 years old, he is going to get much better.

So, why settle for mediocrity at the most important position on the field.

There isn’t a glut of passers who can be free agents this off-season, so if Hoyer leaves via free agency, where do the Browns turn for competition for Manziel, who thus far hasn’t shown anything to suggest he can be a solid NFL quarterback?

However, there are four who caught our eye as guys who could come here and compete for the starting job with the Browns.

Jake Locker is a former first round draft pick who has battled injuries throughout his three years in the league.  He is 27 years old with a lifetime 57.5% completion rate and 27 touchdown throws against 22 interceptions.  He is mobile, which accounts for some of his injuries, and gave Cleveland fits earlier this season when they faced the Titans.

He would be our first choice.

Mark Sanchez will be mentioned as well, but he is very similar to Hoyer in that he has accuracy issues (56.3%) and is prone to critical turnovers, having thrown 80 interceptions lifetime vs. 82 TD throws.

Here are a couple of longshots.

Matt Moore has started a game since 2011 with the Dolphins, but he could be worth a look.  He’s 30 years old, has a lifetime 58.9% completion percentage and has thrown 33 TD passes against 28 picks in his career. You would think he’d be interested in coming to Cleveland for a chance to start.

Case Keenum was signed by Houston off the Rams’ practice squad at the end of the season, and might be worth a look.  His accuracy isn’t great (55.2%), but he did win two games down the stretch for the Texans and could develop into a serviceable type of player.

The point is the Browns’ front office shouldn’t be married to the notion that Hoyer is the only alternative to Manziel, and we don’t think they are.  Perhaps Cleveland can catch lightning in a bottle with a guy like Locker, and if healthy can be an upgrade over Hoyer.

No matter where one guy is from or the other guy is immature, the Browns need to get better at quarterback.  The veteran they have now doesn’t allow for much improvement.

JD

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