Brian Hoyer told Cleveland.com on Sept. 16 he understands "the skepticism" people have about his ability to lead the Cleveland Browns as their starting quarterback. Hoyer, a Cleveland native, led the Browns on an 85-yard, game-winning drive on Sunday as Cleveland beat the New Orleans Saints, 26-24, for their first win of the 2014 NFL season.
Brian Hoyer understands why people have their doubts about him.
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The Cleveland Browns starting quarterback -- who was cut thrice and is coming off knee surgery -- told The Northeast Ohio Media Group's Mary Kay Cabot on Sept. 16 he gets why many are downplaying his ability to lead his team. Hoyer led the Browns to an 85-yard drive which led to the game-winning field goal in a 26-24 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday:
"Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer arrived home from FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday night to 56 messages on his cell phone after his amazing 85-yard game-winning field goal drive against the Saints.
"He got a shout-out on Twitter from Michigan State (Spartans) coach Mark Dantonio and texts from friends like Tom Brady.
"Peter King of Sports Illustrated's enormously popular Monday Morning Quarterback made him his Offensive Player of the Week, and other national columnists sung his praises.
"On a day when national phenom Johnny Manziel made his NFL debut, if only for three plays, all of the buzz was about...Brian Hoyer.
"'I understand the skepticism,' said Hoyer, who's improved to 4-1 for his hometown team. 'I'm a guy who was cut three times. I played a little bit last year and had some success. I'm coming off a major knee surgery. A lot of people doubt even the greatest coming back from that. I understand it. To me, I don't really concern myself with that because all I'm really concerned about is what happens in this building and this locker room and when we go out and play on Sundays.'
"Hoyer has made big-time believers out of the backups that came up big for him on that final 14-play field goal drive for the 26-24 win with three seconds remaining. They're the undrafted or unheralded players just like himself, who nobody really believed in. They're the Gary Barnidges and the Andrew Hawkins of the roster.
"'I trust those guys with all my heart,' said Hoyer. 'For me as a quarterback, I'll go with a group of guys who work their butts off and know exactly what they're supposed to do and give everything they have over a group of guys who are super talented any day. Because guys like that like Hawk, like (Taylor) Gabriel, like Travis (Benjamin), like Miles (Austin), we've all been overlooked -- myself included -- and when you have that mentality, you put the extra effort in and you make sure you're on top of everything and I think sometimes that overcomes talent.'"
Hoyer is getting better with every game, per Kevin Jones of the Browns' official website:
"Brian Hoyer hasn't thrown an interception in 139 attempts.
"Brian Hoyer has led two game-winning drives in the fourth quarter.
"But this, this is the big one: Brian Hoyer is 4-1 as the starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns.
"'I'm developing an affinity for winning, and he's a big part of it,' said head coach Mike Pettine of his starting quarterback.
"Hoyer is becoming a better quarterback every time he steps onto the football field. Defenses may be getting more tape to study the 28-year-old with, but so far in 2014, Hoyer's ability to make timely plays and his mental toughness in clutch situations have been one of the Browns' biggest strengths. To quote New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, 'When Hoyer plays, the Browns play well.'
"...Brian Hoyer doesn't panic. He battled through some inaccurate throws in the first half against the Saints and was quick to get rid of the ball. New Orleans only sacked the Browns' passer once on a scrambling play for a two-yard loss.
"Brian Hoyer is poised when the pressure of the game is supposed to sap more inexperienced quarterbacks.
"But this, this is the big one: Brian Hoyer's teammates legitimately trust their quarterback to go out and win football games for the team. A lack of faith in the quarterback position within the locker room has been Cleveland's biggest problem since 1999. Uncertainty may have crept in during Hoyer's so-so training camp and preseason. But those doubts have faded the moment Hoyer was handed the keys.
"...Brian Hoyer is elevating the play of receivers and tight ends around him, possibly the best trait a quarterback can have, and something many argued he didn't possess.
"Brian Hoyer, right now, is the unquestioned leader of the offense.
"But this, this is the biggest one: Brian Hoyer is playing like he wants to be Cleveland's quarterback for quite a while."
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