Brian Hoyer Starter For Now, But NFL Trends Dictate The Job Will Be Johnny Manziel’s At Some Point in 2014


Aug 18, 2014; Landover, MD, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer (6) warms up before the game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns named quarterback Brian Hoyer stater heading into Week 1 early Wednesday morning, but NFL trends dictate that the job probably won’t be his for long.

The Browns’ coaching staff came to Training Camp deadset on maintaing a quarterback competition between Hoyer and rookie phenom Johnny Manziel. Instead of inserting Manziel as the starter from the get-go, neither quarterback seized the job.

It’s almost as if Hoyer was given the job by default, as the franchise realized somebody’s got to start, so why not use the guy who has actually started a couple games in this league?

There’s two schools of thought when rearing a franchise quarterback with Manziel’s pedigree: Bring them along slowly, or start them from day one. There is no right or wrong way, because both methods have produced studs and duds. But lately, the trend dictates not to waste any time, and to let those first-rounders start from day one.

Go back to 2007. Oh what a promising year. The Browns seemingly stole Brady Quinn with the 22nd pick in the first round. The future looked so bright. Quin was the second quarterback taken that year, behind No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell.

Both franchises chose to play it safe with their No. 1 picks, with both rookies starting the season on the bench. It didn’t matter, as Quinn’s career never took off and Russell is regarded as the biggest bust in NFL history.

Ideology regarding starting first rounders changed the next season. Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco were the first-round quarterbacks that year. Both went to quarterback-desperate teams and started immediately. Both are franchise players, while Flacco has a Super Bowl ring. Ryan has taken his team deep into the playoffs.


The trend continued in 2009 when Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman were drafted. Stafford and Sanchez started right away, while Freeman got his first start later that season. Sanchez had early playoff success with the Jets, but regressed the next few seasons. He signed with the Eagles this season as a backup. Freeman is currently out of the league.

Tim Tebow headlined the 2010 draft when he was surprisingly taken in the first round by the Denver Broncos. Sam Bradford was actually taken No. 1 that year by the Rams and started Week 1. After a stellar rookie campaign, injuries have slowed Bradford’s development, as St. Louis is still trying to figure out whether or not the former Oklahoma gun slinger can win a championship. Tebow didn’t start until December of that year, and is now a broadcaster with the new SEC Network.

The 2011 draft can viewed as the year organizations became quarterback desperate. Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder were all first-round picks. Newton and Gabbert started from day one. Locker and Ponder started later in the season.

Newton is a mainstay in Carolina, and the clock is ticking on Locker. Ponder and Gabbert have already gone bust as their respective teams replaced them with first rounders last May.

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  • The 2012 Draft played out much like the previous year, with four quarterbacks being plucked in the first round. The only difference is this quartet all started form game one. All are still starters with their respective teams, except for Weeden, who now backs up Tony Romo in Dallas.

    EJ Manuel was the lone signal caller taken in 2013. He started for new coach Doug Marrone and showed promise, but injuries relegated him to just 10 starts.

    This year’s draft looks intriguing because it could be the first time since 2007 that no rookie will start Week 1. The Jags said Blake Bortles will sit. Manziel has been relegated to the bench and Bridgewater will most likely bide his time behind Matt Cassel.

    Now that we know Manziel won’t play, the conversation has–as expected–turned to when he will start.

    Former Browns general manager Phil Savage tweeted that he believes Manziel’s debut will come in Week 5, in the home state of owner Jimmy Haslam.

    While we hold our collective breath on that decision, odds are Manziel will play sometime in 2014. Only three of the 16 quarterbacks selected in the first round of the NFL draft the past six seasons didn’t start at least 15 games as rookies, according to this ESPN report.

    It’s Hoyer’s job for now, but judging by his preseason work, it might not be that way for long.