Rethink the Hoyer hot takes.


This can happen when you get quick snapped.
Look at it this way: Hoyer did better than Peyton Manning.

Let’s review Hoyer’s Monday night because I have yet to find a sensible take on the whole performance other than from Mike Pettine who said:


But just how bad were the players around Brian Hoyer?  Let’s find out.  I copied pasted all of Hoyer’s plays from here.  I found a highlight clip that you can see here.  I just grabbed some still shots to illustrate my points.  (You can click them all to enlarge but they are a bit blurry.) Let’s go.


Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.02.56 PM

Play 1:  Cameron in motion when he shouldn’t have been, while Hoyer tries to get him squared away Mack quick snaps the ball which apparently caught Schwartz off guard allowing the Skins best defensive player, Ryan Kerrigan, to come in untouched and sack Hoyer.

Ball is actually in Hoyer's chest but no one has moved.  Fact:  it's remarkable that he didn't fumble.

Ball is actually in Hoyer’s chest but no one has moved.
(Notice Mack is the only one moving.  The shadow in front of Hoyer is the ball.  Click to enlarge.)
Fact: it’s remarkable that he didn’t fumble.

Play 2:  False start, Joe Thomas.

Play 3 (2nd/21):  Hoyer nails Jordan Cameron in the ass with the football.  Repeat:  HOYER HITS HIS RECEIVER IN THE ASS WITH THE FOOTBALL TEN YARDS DOWNFIELD.  AND IN STRIDE.  All Cameron needed to do was remember to look back at the QB.

I don't know why Cameron's hands are down when he's facing the QB and the ball is about to hit him.  But they are.

I don’t know why Cameron’s hands are down when he’s facing the QB and the ball is about to hit him. But they are.

Play 4 (3rd/21):  Draw play, good gain by Tate but punt on 4th and 2.


Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.06.12 PM

Play 5:  Handoff.

Play 6:  Handoff.

Play 7 (3rd/4):  Not a perfect pass to Hawkins but a catchable pass.  The pass was low.  Short curls are supposed to be thrown low.  Less chance for interception; less chance of murdering your receiver.  I’d put the blame pie at 50/50 between Hoyer’s imperfect pass and Hawkins not making a play.  Hawk needs to sacrifice the YAC, get on the ground, make the catch, take the third down convert.  Instead, three and out punt.



Two Manziel drives (1. three-and-out; 2. 11 play, four minute drive, 60 yds — 35 of which were Skins penalties).


After Tashon Gibson interception Browns get ball deep in Skins’ territory. Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.16.22 PM

Play 8:  Absolutely perfect pass to Gordon on a slant-cross route.  Ball was chest height and required no reach — i.e., Hoyer again did not put his receiver in position to get creamed.  Gordon short-armed it, missed it.  100% on Gordon.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 12.25.41 AM

File under: You’re going to get hit anyway (he was), might as well catch the ball.

Play 9:  Handoff.

Play 10:  Here is the pass that has everyone spun up.  Hoyer throws behind wide open Hawkins.  But here again, I think he was back shouldering Hawkins due to not wanting to make a mistake.  Hoyer is not an inaccurate passer.  But the ‘can’t make a mistake or else I’m benched’ mindset is not helpful in the development of this or any QB.

Not a great pass but catchable.  Besides, it's not like Hoyer went all Dalton and got picked.

Not a great pass but catchable. Besides, it’s not like Hoyer went all Dalton and got picked.


Browns take over after Skins punt. 

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.25.05 PM

Play 11:  Handoff.

Play 12:  Handoff.

Play 13:  Perfect walk through progressions to find safety valve Gray with lots of green around him.  Hoyer hits him in stride, easy twelve yard gain.  And Gray fumbles.  I shouldn’t have to point this out but since no one else has taken the time to explore these subtle nuances:  fumbles by fullbacks 20 yards away from Brian Hoyer are outside of Brian Hoyer’s control.

Perfect pass, in stride, lots of YAC.  Just be sure not to... ooh too late.

Perfect pass, in stride, lots of YAC. Just be sure not to… ooh too late.

Play 14 was a silly pass (completion) right before halftime for who knows why but it was the only pass play where everything went right.

And that’s it.  Fourteen snaps for Hoyer.  And all is lost and we have no quarterback and we should delay naming a starter and if they both suck start the first round pick with higher ceiling and blah, Blah, BLAH. You guys were silly in your analyses yesterday.  Because here is the summary of Hoyer’s night.


Hoyer got fourteen snaps.

Six were handoffs.

That leaves eight plays.

On six of those eight plays, play-killing mistakes were made by just about every one of his teammates:

  1. Quick snap by Mack.
  2. False start by Thomas.
  3. Got hit in the ass by thrown ball by Cameron.
  4. Drop/miss by Hawkins.  (50% on Hoyer.)
  5. Drop by Gordon.
  6. Miss by Hawkins.  (80% on Hoyer.)
  7. Fumble by Gray.

I repeat:  on approximately six1 of the eight pass plays Hoyer tried to execute, his teammates failed.

The breadth of fail by Hoyer’s teammates is comprehensive and epic.  If you add in Schwartz, the math says 70% of Hoyer’s teammates let him down Monday.

And the Cleveland media and blogosphere and commentariat is just murdering Hoyer.

It ain’t right.

I’m not even saying Hoyer was good, yeah sure I’d like him to hit that TD to Hawk.  But mother of christ… look at what he was working with.

Smarten up.

Grossman’s ass.

Take a good long look at Rex Grossman in this picture.  Is that Peter Griffin and are we the now the London Silly Nannies?  There can be no way he gets a roster spot over Connor Shaw.  Please no more Ken Dorseys.


We’ve signed a suburban housewife to be our 3rd string QB. (click.)

And finally, completely unrelated but hilarious.

Seriously I can’t stop laughing at this Drennan clip.

“And then he gives a guy the finger!”

  1. I’m trying to factor in blame-weighting on the two Hawkins plays.  Hawkins could have made a play on both.  Would have been very good plays, yes.  But he didn’t.  It’s not like Hoyer went all Andy Dalton out there. [back]
  • ChuckKoz

    thanks Kanick,
    i sort of had this feeling when I watched but haven’t gone back through it.
    this makes me feel much better.

  • Tron

    Thank you. Can you send this to king douche-bag at PFT who had this as the title of his article:

    Browns should have made Manziel the starter from day one

    Seriously? How is this guy employed???

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Peter Principle proved.

  • Pingback: From the editor’s notebook … | Red Right 88()

  • nj0

    So I just got done reading this…

    While I don’t see myself as the overly optimistic homer, I have to say that I’m amazed at how many commentators give Hoyer zero credit and assume we’re opening 0 and 5. The guy had some success last year. It’s there on tape. At some points, he looked inexperience, but at others he looked very good. Players mature and get better. Things chance season to season in the NFL. We’ve got a lot of things to worry about and I’m not in the 10-6 camp, but sheesh… I don’t see why I should assume we’re in unavoidable, lost season territory before a single regular season snap.

    • mgbode

      yeah, all based on a preseason game, which are pretty well proven to not be an indicator of anything.

  • mgbode

    I agree with you on most of it Kanick though it’s hard to know what Cameron is supposed to be doing at that point in his route (perhaps it was a later route and Hoyer went to him too early? impossible to know unless Kyle tells us). definitely agree on the drop and the 2 Hawkins plays were definitely partially on Hoyer and partially on Hawkins (and we could debate exact % all day long).

  • Pat Leonard

    This is excellent, thanks Kanick. I remember thinking during the game last night that Hoyer’s teammates really let him down and made him look worse, but I wasn’t sure to what effect.

  • Alex

    Great take as usual. I was waiting for something to make me feel better about all this.

    On an unrelated note- I live in Chicago now and am going to Cleveland for the Sept. 21st game against the Ravens. Hoping anyone here can give me some recommendations on good pre-game bars. Won’t be able to tailgate so looking for a bar/restaurant with good pre-game atmosphere w/in walking distance of the stadium. If it’s somewhere that has a good bloody mary even better. Thanks!

    • nj0

      The Map Room? Not sure how it is before a Browns game, but it’s a nice place not far away. And has Cheddar Bay cred. Disclosure: I’m a Texan who has only been there once. Nice place though.

      • Alex


      • and be sure to put it on Art Brosef’s tab.

        • Petefranklin

          If Art’s buying, I’m showing up as well.

  • CleveLandThatILove

    Hoyer will be fine. Can’t help but think Johnny is breathing a sigh of relief today.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      CLTIL, Did you hear his “play call” when he was speaking with Gruden? He said absolutely nothing! I am not completely fluent in the vernacular of the Senseless Shanahan, but JFF was not calling a play, he was scrambling to say anything instead of sitting there silent, looking like an even bigger idiot. He needs to learn the playbook and Connor Shaw should move to #2. Have I mentioned Connor Shaw over the last three years?

      • CleveLandThatILove

        I heard about the Gruden exchange, didn’t see it. Even his mother knows he’s got a long way to go mentally. I do vaguely recall something about Shaw being your mystery under the radar choice for QB.

  • Jacquelyn Krystina Kozma

    thank you. that was the game I saw too 🙂

  • nj0

    I actually got to watch some of the game and caught the Hawkins miss.

    Obviously, it could have been a better throw, but Hawkins HAS to make that play. HAS to. There’s nobody in front of him ready to deliver a beheading, the trailing defender doesn’t have a hand on him, he’s got plenty of space all around, and he gets two hands on the ball. Easy play? No, but how many easy plays are there in the NFL.

    So yeah, it wasn’t a great throw. But that means the low light of the evening for Hoyer was hitting a receiver in the end zone square in both hands

    • maxfnmloans

      If I had a nickel for every time my Father said “hit your hands that’s on you” while playing catch in the backyard I’d be a millionaire…

      • actovegin1armstrong

        Wow max, you must have dropped the ball a lot.

        • mgbode

          he’s a Michigan fan, so a bunch of those times was probably just imitating Braylon 🙂

          • maxfnmloans

            Ha! This was the 80s so Braylon was probably limited to dropping bottles and binkys at the time.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Bravo Bode!

        • maxfnmloans

          Roberto Duran stole his nickname from me

          • actovegin1armstrong

            There may be a difference between Stone Hands and Hands of Stone. My dad had the rule, “Miss the ball and we quit”, that led to dad missing some of his sanchas, and me getting a “Golden Glove” every year.

    • Pat Leonard

      The potential TD throw? I watched it live and on DVR… looked like a nearly impossible catch to me considering Hawkins’ momentum was going in the other direction and the pass was well off of his back shoulder. I also remember it being pretty obvious that the ball was thrown closer to the defender by hitting the back shoulder rather than putting the ball in front. I wouldn’t even feel right saying “that’s a play that a great receiver should make”. It didn’t look like he got his hands on it from what I could see, but if he did it must have just barely grazed the tips. I think it’s ok to put that one 100% on Hoyer… he can have one bad pass that was entirely his fault, even if it’s for a potential TD.

      • nj0

        Maybe I’m misremembering the particulars. Need to find a video or GIF. At the time, I thought it was a difficult but catchable ball.

        Catchability of the pass aside, I do agree with your summation that the throw went to the back shoulder which wasn’t a good thing.

        • Pat Leonard

          Luckily we still have 2.5 weeks for Hoyer to get his timing with receivers to a better place. Bad game tape is the best game tape for film study, and the Browns’ offense has plenty of bad game tape to review before the Rams game.

          • mgbode

            we should have kept Brandon Weeden then just for teaching purposes

          • nj0

            FLAG SACK

        • actovegin1armstrong

          I saw that play differently, it looked like that should have been a back shoulder pass. That play was a Jerry Glanville special, “Not For Long when you miss TD catches like that.”

        • the video link at the top of the post is ‘ok’ but only offers one angle and it is yields this somewhat unhelpful gif.

          • nj0

            I have stared at that for five solid minutes and haven’t come to any conclusions. It does sort of flutter as it appears the DL might have gotten a finger on it (as mentioned above).

    • Capitalgg

      I’ve only seen the Hawkins near miss TD play a couple times, but from the endzone angle they showed during the game, it looked to me like the DL got a fingernail on the ball as it crosses the line because the ball wobbles a bit on it’s way to the endzone.

      My thought was, if he throws that lower into the window it gets batted down or even worse tipped into the air.

      Or was the DL’s hand not as tight on the throwing lane as I thought because of the camera angle?

  • I’ve continually talked myself in circles on this whole quarterback situation. At first I thought Manziel would have to significantly outplay Hoyer to be named the starter, But then I reversed course, figuring if all things were equal, why wait on getting the Manziel party rolling?

    I think the Browns have made the right call in making Hoyer the starter, even though neither player has looked good so far. Of course, as you point out, no one on the offense has looked particularly good – especially this wide receiver group which has me, at times, longing for the days of Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi.

    The thing that worries me is that we have yet to see any of the Hoyer from last year. It could be that he was feeling the pressure of being in contention for QB1 for the first time in his career. Or maybe this is what we would have eventually seen last year if he had not been injured. Neither scenario fills me with confidence, though.

    The best part is that, right or wrong, the decision has been made. Now the Browns can focus on getting ready for the season opener without sharing reps in practice and games.

    • i seriously think that jag-off QB coach and the OC have spent too much time working on movable pockets and such as for JFF and hoyer and the real offense has been an afterthought. there can be no other explanation for the lack of rhythm shown monday after a six weeks of camp.

      • I wonder too if Shanahan is overly complicating things. I keep reading about his 17-word play calls which seems absurd in an NFL where Chip Kelly can successfully call a play by simply holding up a photo of Homer Simpson.

        • mgbode

          I assume that photo means the play Belly.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            What does the Beyonce photo mean?
            Absolutely loved that last year, my retort is certainly not fit for this or any other forum, however I am certain that I am not the only person who thought of that line.

        • actovegin1armstrong

          Perhaps the first salvo of the Great Shanahan Rebellion to come. Bravo Tom_RR.

        • Petefranklin


      • RGB

        I’m glad I’m not the only one that thinks Loggains is worthless piece of poo.

      • Petefranklin

        I hate this offense. Seems like more of making the QB fit the scheme than coming up with a scheme that fits your QB. EVERY pass in this offense should be done with a good, not half assed, play action fake. It’s what made Peyton Manning early in his career.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      ” It could be that he was feeling the pressure of being in contention for QB1 for the first time in his career.”

      Surely you jest! The fans in Boston were always screaming for Hoyer to come in and replace that stiff they have at QB. What is that guy’s name? It starts with a B, I believe it may be Bundchen or something like that.
      (And yes, I meant to call you Shirley.)

    • Bluedog93

      There’s no need to talk yourself in circles over this. This was an easy decision that should have been made weeks ago. If you’re a young team only looking towards the future, there’s an argument to be made that you should start and develop the rookie. If you have a defense and running game good enough that even a moderately successful passing game will give you a real shot at a winning record, you go with the guy who’s ready to start now. Success in the preseason doesn’t mean much, and lack of success in the preseason is worrisome, but with Hoyer you have actual NFL games to look at from just last year which tell you much more than any preseason game can. Add on to the fact that, if you start with Hoyer you can change later, but once you start Manziel you’re committed to him until he’s injured or you give up on him and the decision is even easier.

      You’ll notice that both Bortles and Bridgewater have made better cases in the preseason that they’re able to start (not necessarily better than Henne and Cassel, just ready to start), yet this isn’t an issue in Jacksonville or Minnesota at all. With those franchises, everyone understands that you don’t have to start the rookie day one if there’s another option available and you want to taste some success this year.

      And that seemed to be what the Browns were planning, and (from 2000 miles away) it seemed to me like most of the fan base understood, most of the local media understood, and it wasn’t an issue until the national media began making the argument that Manziel should play (I’m looking at you, Pro Football Talk). And the Browns coaches. . . let themselves get bullied by the national media into having this quarterback “competition” instead of making the decision based on what’s in the best interests of the team for this year and in the long run. And once the “competition” was opened up the criteria was changed from “who gives you the best opportunity to win real NFL games” to “who looks the best against preseason defenses”, which is not the same thing at all. Brandon Weeden looked good against preseason defenses, for crying out loud, right up until the third game when they started rushing the passer. It’s actually kind of surprising that Manziel didn’t look better than Hoyer in the preseason, but if he didn’t there’s really no reason to make him the starter yet. Hoyer can win games this year.

      • nj0

        Yeah, I agree with Grossi (happening more and more since he’s moved to ESPN…. scary…..) that the whole competition was a mistake. Should have double downed on Haslam’s “you’re a backup QB” point of view.

        • Bluedog93

          For the record, as of this moment there are 48 comments on WFNY’s post on the decision, and 50 on this post, and not one of those 98 comments is a clear statement that the commenter disagrees with the decision and thinks Manziel should be starting week 1. This was always a national media push, not a Browns’ fan thing. And I, for one, think less of the coaches for having allowed themselves to be pushed.

          • Sam Gold

            “This was always a national media push, not a Browns’ fan thing.”

            I’m in favor of Hoyer starting but I don’t think WFNY is representative of the masses as demonstrated on the many, many fansites geared to the “average” knuckle dragger fan. There are no shortage of Brown’s fans that boisterously want Johnny! Effin! Football! under center day one.

  • maxfnmloans

    A conspiracy theorist might think the coaching staff finally convinced the front office to bring in Grossman to expedite Johnny’s absorption of Shanahans offense. Which means Rex is here for the foreseeable future. I’m not wearing a tinfoil hat but I’ll call it a hunch.
    IMHO, flip flopping QBs (in practice or a game) puts everyone in a bad spot. Linemen need to get used to a QBs cadence or else you get things like false starts, and early snaps. WRs need many many reps with a QB so they can get used to each others nuances (ball placement, release point, timing). If they don’t have time to build a rapport you see things like receivers not being ready when the ball comes their way.
    This one was on the coaches. They need to make a decision and stick with it or we’ll have one win (at best) going into the bye week…and if that happens, well…back to my tinfoil hat and theories about setting Hoyer up for failure

    Good stuff JK

    • hah. my conspiracy is that ray farmer told everyone on the offense to take a turn screwing up so he’ll sign a cheaper contract.

    • nj0

      I’ve never understood the clubhouse 3rd string coach when NFL teams already have eighty-nine positions coaches. Why need Grossman to help JFF when you have a freaking QBs coach?

      • maxfnmloans

        Only reason I can see is it gives the younger guy a chance yo ask questions/ make stupid comments/ look foolish without having to worry about backlash…a more informal forum to learn wihout being “graded”. Plus sometimes its easier to ask a peer for help than a coach (or a parent or teacher in other circles).

        Also, on the sidelines during a game where the coaches are worried about the task at hand it gives the rookie someone to talk to who might impart some wisdom

        Just spitballing

        • nj0

          Hard to look foolish in front of Loggains, I think.

          • maxfnmloans

            Yeah, he’s uhhh…well he’s ummm…he’s on the coaching staff alright

        • Petefranklin

          Please no Rex.

  • actovegin1armstrong

    Good job jk!
    “There can be no way he gets a roster spot over Connor Shaw. Please no more Ken Dorseys.” Needless to say I am with you on this one!
    Also, now that you mention Dalton, I heard a completely unsubstantiated rumor from an unreliable source that the Beagles really like Shaw. (I do not know why they did not draft him or sign him as an UDFA.)

    • i saw your note from yesterday and wasnt sure it you were talking bengals or eagles so i let it go. lookit, i’m on board after his 4th quarter. they wont be able to sneak shaw onto practice squad. worst case, let him develop into our ryan mallet trade bait.

      put grossman on practice squad if shannahan needs to have his presence so badly. hell fire loggains and make grossman QB coach.. i’m completely in favor of that move.

      • actovegin1armstrong

        I am sorry about the typographical error jk, of course I meant Dalton and the Bungles.

      • Pat Leonard

        Why do you say they won’t be able to sneak Shaw onto the practice squad? Who is going to steal an undersized QB with one preseason game’s worth of good-but-not-great film against 3rd string players? If teams could steal him to their own practice squad, I would understand, but this isn’t a player who can play special teams or contribute in another way. The team signing Shaw would have to be sure that they love him based on his play in the preseason… that’s a very risky move. I see no problem with attempting to get Shaw onto the practice squad as the 4th QB, especially with the expanded 10-player squad this year.

        • mgbode

          I’m torn. I want Shaw as QB3 because I don’t want to risk losing a player I think will be a very good backup QB. Other teams may see it. That said, NO did the same with Griffin(Tulane) last year and he’s their QB2 now. So, it can be done.

          But, I personally think that the South Carolina QB with a 27-5 record and good statistics who has at least moderately shown that he has the arm (Krause throw) to get by in the NFL would get scooped up by some QB needy team if their starter got injured (so they would use Shaw as QB2 on their roster for 3 weeks before moving him to THEIR Practice Squad if he didn’t stick on the roster).

          • Pat Leonard

            Possibly. The Krause throw was nice, but Krause made it look a lot nicer. Poor guy won’t have anything to show for it after first wave of cuts, too. Shaw showed good arm strength, but he had so much time in the pocket on that throw… was really able to put his whole body into it. Take away the long hail Mary pass and the amazing catch from Krause and Shaw’s day is a lot less impressive.

            I say these things not to rip Shaw… I actually like him a lot as a future backup QB. I just think everyone is blowing his stats out of proportion. You could be right and if a team suffers an injury to their 1st-string QB, you could see them sign Shaw away from the Browns, but I just really like the idea of putting him on the practice squad. When it comes down to it, Grossman at least has a lot of NFL experience and can call in a play among the best of them.

          • mgbode

            as Kanick points out, Rex also seems to have a bunch of experience at the buffet line. really though, I am allowing my bias towards Shaw paint the picture for me. I was really excited to see him sign here and it would hurt (a little) to see him get stolen away. in the end, it really doesn’t matter.

          • Pat Leonard

            Fair enough… I thought he was quite the get as an undrafted free agent as well. If he and Aaron Murray had flipped places where Shaw was drafted in Murray’s spot, and Murray went undrafted… I wouldn’t have batted an eyelash. Unfortunately, I feel pretty sure that Shanahan didn’t bring in Supersized Rex to then cut him, so I think we all should prepare our minds for the Browns trying to put Shaw on the practice squad.

          • mgbode

            that was my initial feeling, but I also wonder if it isn’t Kyle doing Rex a favor. He didn’t find the cushy backup QB job he was expecting, so Kyle can allow Rex to showcase himself for other teams in our 4th preseason game to try to catch on somewhere (or after an injury happens). Proves to teams he is committed to playing this season and keeps his name on the waiver wire (and in GM heads).

          • nj0

            Googles Weeden’s preseason stats…
            Nods in agreement…

            I just don’t see how keeping Giambi on the roster… er, Grossman makes any sense. If he or Shaw are getting regular reps in-game, we’re boned. So why keep the guy whose career is on the downward slide. Just look at depth charts around the NFL. And Grossman STILL couldn’t get a job.

            Plus, it reeks of cronyism. Oh, you played for and are friends with the coaching staff? Oh, you’re not good at all and shouldn’t be on the field? Welcome aboard!!!

          • Pat Leonard

            I feel like that’s just how the NFL works… the whole league reeks of cronyism. Thad Lewis came along with Pat Shurmur. People were terrified that Derek Anderson was going to accompany Chud to the Browns. I have no doubt that Shaw is a better QB than Rex Grossman right now… for some reason I feel like I need to prepare everyone for the eventuality that Grossman is going to be on this roster.

          • Scott Johnson

            Not sure I understand how the Practice Squad thing works. If another team claims him, doesn’t he have to make their roster? (they couldn’t slide him to PS) Or he just has to be on the roster for at least 3 weeks?

          • mgbode

            he needs to be on their 53man roster for a minimum of 3 weeks. I am not exactly sure how it works with QBs and if he needs to be on the 45man (gameday roster) or if they can hide him as the QB3 (emergency 46th man on gameday).

        • actovegin1armstrong

          Last year Shaw played a tough SEC schedule and finished the year with 24 TD’s and 1 int, with 162.94 passer rating.
          The only QB’s I really liked in the draft were Bortles, Shaw, Wenning, Mettenberger and Carr. With a possible nod to JFF too, if he could be picked up with a second round or lower pick.
          They need to put Shaw on the team as QB3, (but really QB2), and put Rex out to pasture in a few weeks.

      • mgbode

        Rex is not eligible for the PS.

      • Petefranklin

        I was going to reply above to make Grossman a coach if he is so “needed”.

  • Sam Gold

    Thank you, Kanick. I wish you would write more (regular season perhaps?) as your site is one of the few worth reading. PLEASE, keep ’em coming.

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