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- Brian Hoyer is still the Cleveland Browns’ starting quarterback.
- He will start in Week 14 vs. the Indianapolis Colts.
- He was benched in favor of Johnny Manziel in Week 13.
Amid all the rumors about Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer gets the start for the Dec. 7 Week 14 game against the visiting Indianapolis Colts.
The Browns issued a press release regarding the matter on their official website on Dec. 3:
“Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine has announced that Brian Hoyer will remain the starting quarterback.
“‘After thorough evaluation and talking to the staff, we feel Brian gives us the best opportunity to win on Sunday,’ Pettine said. ‘This is a football decision and those are always going to be based on what we think is best for our team. Brian has led our team to a 7-5 record. I’m confident that we can get the entire offense playing at the level needed to accomplish the goals we set at the beginning of the season. Those goals are still very much attainable.'”
A league source also confirmed Hoyer starting in the game against Indianapolis to The Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Mary Kay Cabot on Wednesday. Cabot reiterates the fact that Pettine and his staff review player performances on a weekly basis, meaning Hoyer has to do well on Sunday to remain as the Browns’ starting quarterback.
Pettine consulted with Cleveland offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and general manager Ray Farmer before deciding to settle with Hoyer. The Browns head coach told Cabot that it was a very difficult decision to make, but Hoyer’s work ethic and dedication eventually made the difference.
Not only did Pettine consult with Shanahan and Farmer, he also held informal meetings with his players to decide between Hoyer and Manziel for Sunday’s game, per Kevin Jones of the Browns’ official website. Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas was one of those who vouched for Hoyer, whose leadership qualities he holds in high regard. Thomas also gave props to backup quarterback Johnny Manziel on how he’s dealt with his own situation.
Manziel told Jones’ colleague, Andrew Gribble, that he will approach the game against the Colts with the same preparation and mindset that he’s had all season long:
“I feel like I’m seeing things a lot better. I’m getting used to the terminology, and it’s beginning to come kind of second nature. I figured that that would be the case as the weeks went on and the days continued to roll by and get more comfortable with everything. More than anything, I’m most excited about that.”
Hoyer was yanked in favor of Manziel during the fourth quarter of Cleveland’s 26-10 Week 13 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Cabot points out that Hoyer has thrown for just one touchdown pass and six interceptions in the Browns’ last three games. Three of those passes were intended for comebacking wide receiver Josh Gordon. Hoyer’s recent slide brings his season totals to 11 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions on a 79.9 passer rating.
Nonetheless, he told Cabot he remains unfazed.
“We’re 7-5. This just doesn’t happen by luck. It was hard-earned, and we’ve worked to get where we’re at. We’re still in it. With those other teams losing yesterday, we have four more games. Two of them are division games.
“You don’t get to 7-5 in the NFL just lucking into it. It’s been a lot of hard work, and I think I’ve proven that I’ve gotten us to this point. I feel like I can carry us through the next four games. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be ready to go.
“Yeah, I don’t have any doubt in myself. I never have throughout this entire process, going back to last year. I feel like we’re 7-5. We still have a chance to attain all of our goals. It’s still there in front of us. That decision’s not up to me though, and I’ll be ready. I’m going to go about it as business as usual and see where it goes.
“Maybe get a chance to start at home, Cleveland fans are nuts. It’s obviously a game that going down the stretch every single one of them is important to us, so we need to go out and get a win.”