Sep 29, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns fans cheer after the Browns beat the Cincinnati Bengals 17-6 at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

What If Brian Hoyer Stayed Healthy?

Oct 3, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer (6) warms up before a game against the Buffalo Bills at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

When you live in the city of Cleveland, “What If’s” are more comforting than reality…especially when it comes to sports. Questions like “What if the Browns made the right coaching decision a few years ago?” “What if the Browns had won that game?” “What if Chud wasn’t fired?” “What if Haslam would have kept Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi?” What if, what if , what if? With all of these questions, one has to wonder, “What if Brian Hoyer had never gotten injured?” Would the Browns have continued their winning streak? Would they have even made a playoff run and conquered their division rivals? One has to wonder.

Brian Hoyer was some sort of a savior for the Cleveland Browns struggling offense and a quarterback whom almost every fan hated. The 28 year old Lakewood, Ohio native grew up a Cleveland Browns fan. He fulfilled his boyhood dream when he stepped out onto the field last season in Week 3 against the Minnesota Vikings in which he threw for 321 yards with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. That led the 0-2 Browns to their first win. Later the next week, then Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski named him the starter for Week 4 against the Cincinnati Bengals. He was named starter to replace starting quarterback, Brandon Weeden who was out with a thumb injury. Against the Bengals, the St. Ignatius High School graduate led the Browns to their second straight win improving the team’s record to 2-2. He was 25/38 and threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions.

By that time, Cleveland was crazy about Brian Hoyer. He was the Moses of the city and was going to lead us all to the Promised Land. The fans had faith in the Michigan State graduate who was named the starter for the third game in a row. This time, he would be up against the Buffalo Bills at FirstEngergy Field in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday Night Football. That night, Hoyer was injured, but Weeden led the Browns to their third win in a row, bettering their record to 3-2 and putting the Browns in first place in the AFC North Division. The city was buzzing with talks about the playoffs although it was too early and some sort of a jinx. The next game, Hoyer had an MCL tear that put him out for the rest of the season.  So much for happiness in the Factory of Sadness, eh?

The Browns had gone 1-10 the rest of the season with the substandard Brandon Weeden as quarterback. The disappointing season had been one of the worst and most depressing seasons in the history if the Cleveland Browns. The fans were unhappy with the performance of the team and wanted a change so desperately. They changed quarterbacks…again and replaced Brandon Weeden with Jason Campbell who did not do much better than Hoyer, but better than Weeden. The season had just gone down the drain with absolutely no effort t. It was evident to most people, that the Cleveland Browns organization was focused on the next season and had no interest in doing what they could to save it.

If Hoyer had stayed healthy throughout the season and did not suffer a MCL tear, there is no telling where the Browns could have been last season. The playoffs? A Wild Card appearance? 14-2? Maybe. The fact is is that things could have been so much better and Hoyer could have gotten better. Brandon Weeden would have been benched and Hoyer would have been named the official starter for the entire season. There is no doubt that the team would have made a playoff appearance and Brian Hoyer would have stolen the hearts of the Cleveland fans. They would have been deeply in love with him and he would be welcomed everywhere he went in Cleveland. He probably would never have to really pay for anything. They would have given the Bengals, Steelers and Ravens a run for their money and threatened to take the Division Crown. Chud would have kept his job. Easily. He would not have lost it if they had gone on a playoff run.

The possibilities would have been endless last season without a doubt IF only Brian Hoyer would have stayed healthy. This off season, Hoyer has made it clear that no matter who the Browns draft in New York City next month, he definitely wants to be the starting quarterback for the 2014 season. A lot of Browns fans are pulling for him too. If Manziel, Bridgewater, or Carr is drafted, Hoyer will have his work cut out for him.

He deserves a chance, but is it too risky?




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