More Hoyer, more YAC: the Bengals game tape.
As compelling as a one game tape review of Brian Hoyer was in demonstrating the folly of drafting magic beans at #4 when our long regional nightmare can be not just over but addressed by a bona fide hometown hero… the discerning Kanick readers are looking for more:
I simply haven’t seen enough of Hoyer to form a solid opinion one way or another, and if we have a chance to get a guy who has a higher ceiling, …
The open question is whether Hoyer’s quick ball release is dependent on jumping reads like this, whether he can keep the pace but still react in that last split second, pull a ball like that back, and make the defense pay for going off-script.
… while he may be a nice quarterback it seems unlikely that he will be the guy to lead the Browns to any real success.
I just can’t get over the fact that Hoyer was cut by two different teams.
Fair enough. Understandable for Browns fans to be skeptical, we haven’t seen a good QB wearing the iconic helmet di tutti helmets since Vinny Greenballs. History demands that we prescribe the Hoyer praise. Sane Browns fans will allow no commit further than Brian Hoyer is Jake Delhomme without the sprained ankle; possible ceiling of Kelly Holcomb + Jeff Garcia.
Is Hoyer good in his own right or is it just a “tallest dwarf” thing, i.e., we can already affirm that he’s better than (click for list).1
Or… what if Hoyer really is the quarterback we saw for two games last year?
It’s a question worth asking and I’m a-askin.
We have the Vikings game sequel, home versus the Bengals to review today. Spoiler alert: Hoyer looks good again. Not perfect, but looks like a QB that could get you to the playoffs and even win you a game or two there. As we did in the last post, I have an annotated screen capture of NFL’s Game Rewind and placed it in my dropbox share. Access it here (1st half) and here (2nd half).2 You’ll find most of Hoyer’s pass plays, coaches film highlights of big plays, and random items of interest to me are highlighted.
After winning with three turnovers in the prior week against the Vikings, there seems a conscious decision to go more ball-control and to eliminate turnovers versus the Bengals. Rush plays are way up with 30 versus the Bengals (compared to 17 vs. Vikes) and contributing 89 yards but, importantly, Browns won time-of-possession 31 minutes to 29. Hoyer’s line is very impressive: 25-38, 247 yds, 2 TDs, 0 INT. Browns converted 9 of 18 3rd downs. Very efficient offense. (Defense was huge also.)
Here’s a recap my takes of the drives.
Drive #1, 3 and out.
#2, 12 play, 95 yd, TD.
Ball control passing highlighted by very crisp execution on Benjamin screen, Bess drag route, and Cameron back-shoulder TD.
#3, missed FG.
About the silly Gordon catch over Pacman Jones, I say in defense of the seeming under thrown jump ball:
- Maybe Hoyer saw DB back was turned;
- Maybe Hoyer trusts Gordon to be awesome;
- Since it was third down, a pick would have been effectively equal to a 30 yard, net, punt.
Hoyer takes no chances once in the red zone; FG should have been a bunny.
#4, 3 out.
#5,3 missed (long) FG.
A nice two minute drill drive. Moved team 61 yards right before half and even though missed FG, kept the Bengals off the field.4 Really liked the five yard completion with no timeouts which brought FG try to 50 yds.
#6 (3rd quarter).
Mack gets a (questionable) cut block penalty, then another penalty was declined, and it was very Browns-y way to convert a Bengals turnover.
There’s a bad pass to Cameron that Iloka should have picked (see photo at right and click to enlarge). Manage to get inside red-zone then go backwards. Greco overmatched by Atkins.
Another Atkins over Greco sack.
Drive #9, super-terrific 12 play, 91 yard, 6:37 minute, game clinching TD drive.
We never see these around here. Strange is that Browns hadn’t run ball all day (30 yards total) and they get 27 rush yards on this drive. Very nice seam-reading on the key Cameron pass/catch. Pretty perfect one yard TD pass.
Browns in clock killing mode after Dalton gets picked. We see the second bad Boyer slide of the day and a foreshadow of the Bills game.
As he did last week, Hoyer delivers the ball fast and on-target and in-stride allowing them chances to make plays in space. Hoyer’s YAC numbers are good again: I charted 10 passes with notable running after reception and a total of 112 yards after catch. That’s up from the already good 9 passes, 90 yards in the Vikings game.
It’s precision passing. Kosar and Sipe did this and did it in Cleveland without cannon arms. (Take that, Tony ‘You Must Have a Strong Arm the AFC North’ Grossi.) However, I don’t see flutter-balls. I don’t see any problems getting the ball to his targets outside the numbers. On the contrary, his out-routes are money. See PFF chart below. Hoyer is 4 for 4/1TD on short outs left; 3 for 4/1TD short outs right; 10 for 12 short over the middle. I guess you could say he didn’t stretch the field but I would counter with why should he stretch the field when he’s 17 for 20/2 TDs with short balls?
Dare to dream. We’ve got a QB who can read a defense and get rid of the ball. There’s no directional tendency. (Remember how Colt McCoy threw right and only right?) Like Tom Brady, his favorite receiver seems to be the one who is open. His pass distro goes like this:
- Gordon 17+9+1 =27
- Bess 10+5+2 =17
- Cameron 9+12 =21
- Little 8+1+1 =10
All of which brings me back to the original premise: I think the idea that there’s a college QB in the draft who will give you more than Hoyer. And I mean ever. How many big, talented, athletic QBs master the craftsmanship of quarterback as well Hoyer seems to have it now? Not many. Here’s a link to first round QBs and I’d say one in five own the nuances listed above as well Hoyer did in these two games.
My Hoyer report card for measurables not found this weekend in Indy:
Decision-making under pressure: B
Looks poised to me. His bad passes weren’t due to pressure; they were just bad passes by themselves.
Pocket presence: B
He’ll stand in maybe a tad longer than he should, but generally has a good sense when pocket is collapsing. Sacks were of the ‘never had a chance’ variety.
Most balls are right between the numbers; misses are deliberate or placed where d-back can’t pick.
Not getting his receivers killed over the middle: A
No receivers were crushed due to stretching for balls in face of d-backs in these two games. This is a biggie.
Among leaders in average time-to-pass.
Gunslinging tendency: C
Might have to live a bad turnover now and then… kinda like the Broncos do with Peyton.
Arm strength: B
Not seeing any evidence that he can’t throw an out; needs to step into throw to get ball downfield.
- Bobby Rainey was clearly a good RB on a team featuring Willis McGahee. His cutting was stupid. There was enough tape to know better. Big fail for Banner-Lombardi.
- Chud and/or Norv out coached Marvin Lewis in this game. The plan was smart and executed well. The coup de grâce drive was beautiful in-game adjustment. Someone in the coaches’ booth decided the time was right to run it down their throats. Canning this staff was a blunder. I am not sanguine about Pettine. I lean pessimistic that he and his staff will be as good as Chud and his.
Already gents, let’s hear your takes.
(We’ll try to embed for the time being but I don’t expect this to stay up indefinitely.)
- Hoyer’s arm could fall off and his play already ranks him higher than Weeden, Campbell, McCoy, Quinn, Frye, Dorsey, Detmer, Wallace. [back]
- I cut it into two parts, but they’re still pretty huge, ~150MB combined. I recommend downloading them and viewing it locally versus trying to stream it in your browser. I have also uploaded the whole she-bang here at screencast, but I suspect this won’t provide long-term access. I embedded it at bottom of post too, but no promises, expect it to be pulled. [back]
- Mis-labelled as Drive 6 on the tape. [back]
- Silly delay penalty on Bengals stops clock and gives first down. [back]