As Day 2 of the legal tampering period begins on the West Coast, Brian Hoyer becomes the next quarterback the San Francisco 49ers will be linked to.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 8, 2017
I worked for the Cleveland Browns in 2014, the year Kyle Shanahan used Brian Hoyer to race the Browns to a 7-4 start. In 14 games, Hoyer threw for 3,326 yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Using the deep ball and play-action passing, Hoyer was able to turn Andrew Hawkins, Taylor Gabriel and Miles Austin into very reliable targets. It was Cleveland’s best start to a season since returning to the NFL in 1999. He struggled down the stretch and was benched for Johnny Manziel, a management decision that eventually led to Shanahan resigning from his offensive coordinator post.
The quarterback and coach became inseparable inside the orange and brown Berea, OH facility. The two were constantly swapping ideas, even via text message after going home for the day.
“One thing Kyle does a great job of is marrying things together,” Hoyer told me when I wrote for ClevelandBrowns.com. “One play may look like this, and then you have three plays (where) at the snap of the ball they look the same. We’re doing a bunch of different things. I think the longer we go out and continue to have success, the more we can add and be more creative.”
Hoyer is a much more realistic starting quarterback than Matt Schaub. Hoyer had a great start to last season with the Bears — six touchdowns, no interceptions, 67.0 completion percentage — before breaking his arm. Shanahan is a big fan of the 31-year-old.
“I think it’s a mystery to everybody because (Hoyer) hasn’t played a lot of games,” said Shanahan in October of 2014. “He’s played five this year, and I think he’s gotten better in each game. I always will say you get better or worse, and if he continues to get better each week I think we’re going to have a pretty good quarterback when it’s all said and done.”
“They have a good relationship,” former Browns head coach Mike Pettine added on Hoyer and Shanahan. “It’s like football-speak. They talk the same language. You can be sitting close to them and be taken aback by the conversations that they’re having about defense and fronts and plays and checks and just a lot of different things.”