With NFL free agency set to begin a little over a week, there are still many questions in regards to who will compete for the starting quarterback position.
With Josh McCown signing with the Cleveland Browns a few days ago, there seems to be fewer and fewer options for the Buffalo Bills.
Sep 7, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) and quarterback Brian Hoyer (6) during warm-ups against the Pittsburgh Steelers before their game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Speaking of the Browns, an interesting name to keep an eye out for is quarterback Brian Hoyer. Although he does not have much starting experience, he has had some success with a below-average Browns’ team. It doesn’t look like Hoyer will be brought back to Cleveland so should the Bills go after the free agent signal caller?
After going undrafted in 2009, Hoyer was signed by the New England Patriots and was with the team until the 2011 season. He would split time in 2012 between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals, before finally signing with the Browns in 2013.
Despite only playing in three games in 2013 due to a torn ACL, Hoyer exceeded expectations. He threw for 615 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions. Even after the Browns drafted Johnny Manziel in the first round of the 2014 draft, Hoyer won the starting job. He would start the first 13 games for the Browns, before eventually being replaced by Manziel in Week 15. Hoyer played considerably well, throwing for 3,326 yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Sep 28, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel (3) during the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
The only quarterback on the Bills current active roster is EJ Manuel. General manager Doug Whaley will bring in at least one free agent to compete for the starting job. Will he consider pulling the trigger on Hoyer?
At 6’2” and 215 pounds, Hoyer possesses solid size to be an NFL starting quarterback. In fact, one of his greatest assets is his speed. When he is pressured, he does an exceptional job at avoiding sacks and as he has great footwork and can really escape the pocket. He has the toughness that is required at the position, and isn’t afraid to take some hits.
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When it comes to short to intermediate throws, Hoyer is fairly accurate. When he has time to make throws, he is going to convert. Despite not having too many weapons to work with in Cleveland, he made the most of what he had.
Even though he had moments of success this past season, Hoyer was too inconsistent. He would throw interceptions at costly times during games, and when the game was on the line, he seemed to make too many mistakes. Especially towards the end of the season, the Browns were in the playoff hunt, until Hoyer’s play took a dive. Between week 12-14, hoyer threw zero touchdowns and seven interceptions. When the Browns needed him to elevate his play, he wasn’t able to deliver.
Although we have seen some positive and encouraging things from Hoyer, there have been too many negatives. If he is in the right situation, Hoyer may be an effective NFL starter; however, this is not the case for Buffalo. The Bills have a win-now mentality, and cannot afford to take a chance on a quarterback such as Hoyer.
If the Bills want to be competitive this coming season, and maybe even squeeze into the playoff picture, they should consider bringing in former first rounder Jake Locker. Despite his inability to stay healthy over the past couple of years, Locker can provide the consistency and skill the Bills need at the quarterback position.
Hoyer will make a good backup in the NFL, but due to his inconsistency, and lack of experience, he will most likely find himself on the bench playing the role of a backup come September.
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