Niners live is once again back in its controversial bag of tricks, and as always we’re telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Back on March 16, 2017, we told you Why some fans wanted to see a Colin Kaepernick vs. Brian Hoyer Battle and On July 16, 2017, we prophesied Why Brian Hoyer and Colin Kaepernick will be Joined at the Hip in 2017. Now, under further review of the first two games of the season, we are asking the million-dollar question, “Are Brian Hoyer’s Deficiencies a part of the problem on offense?” So far, running back Carlos Hyde and the Defense have come to play, is Brian Hoyer a liability? Let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?
Brian Hoyer, the career recap
Over the span of his career, Hoyer has amassed a lackluster 16-17 record as a starter. His longest tenure with a team came in his first three seasons in which he didn’t start a single game and accounted for only one touchdown pass. Overall, in 52 games played and 34 total starts, he has accounted for 8,900 passing yards, 44 touchdowns, 28 interceptions, 15 fumbles, and a career completion percentage of 59.8 while mastering the art of the dink and dunk averaging only 7.1 yards per attempt, 176 yards per game and a total quarterback rating of 84.8. He has spent time with six different NFL teams in his nine years, including the New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Chicago Bears and currently, the 49ers.
Was it all just Smoke and Mirrors?
The decision to sign Hoyer to a two-year deal with the 49ers new regime may have seemed like a no-brainer considering his most significant season came in 2014 with the Cleveland Browns and then offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan where he posted a career-high 3,326 passing yards and 12 touchdowns. When Shanahan and GM John Lynch evaluated free-agent quarterbacks, they sought players who are better suited to make quick, accurate decisions with the ball. That, they found with some familiarity in Hoyer and made signing him quickly that much easier.
“All these questions people ask about what I like in a quarterback, Brian is like that,” Shanahan said. “Brian is obsessed with the game. He will learn your offense, he will be able to execute and run it and that gives other guys a chance to perform in your offense” (via espn.com).
However, what seemed to be overlooked from the 2014 season was his 13 interceptions, less than desirable 55.3 completion percentage, and 42.5 QBR. All these things came to a head late that season when Hoyer was benched for then-rookie backup Johnny Manziel after back-to-back disappointing performances against the Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts in which Hoyer accounted for zero touchdowns and four interceptions.
After battling through injuries and being benched early in the 2015 season with the Texans, Hoyer threw a career-high four interceptions and had a career-worst passer rating (15.9) in his only playoff start. Hoyer looked to get back on track with the Bears last season after taking over the starting job and amassing 1,445 yards (only) six touchdowns and zero interceptions to go along with a 98.0 passer rating in six games. However, after leading the team to only one win in five games, he was then confined to the bench once again after a season-ending injury.
Aside from injury concerns, Hoyer’s trend of declining play during the season is something that has been a cause for concern throughout his career. Former GM and NFL Executive Charley Casserly summed it best in a recent interview when he said, “The more he starts, the more his accuracy betrays him.” Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, are your eyes wide open yet?
Are Brian Hoyer’s Deficiencies a part of the problem?
Throughout the first two games of the 2017 season, it has become painfully evident that Hoyer’s deficiencies are crippling the success of this 49ers offense. He has completed 39 passes for 282 total yards, averaging 4.59 yards per throw to go along with zero touchdowns, two interceptions, and a QBR of 13.2 and 7.8 respectively. Yes, there have been issues with pass protection, and yes, the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks have been two of the stingiest defenses in the league over the last couple of seasons, however, accuracy, repetitive arm strength and strength to break tackles and show mobility have been highlighted already too many times this season as deficiencies.
Important to note: The 49ers are rank 30th in total offense and averaging 6.0 per game second to dead last in the NFL under Hoyer’s and Kyle Shanahan’s watch.
To make things worse, the lack of improvisational skills causing telegraphed passes and making the decision pre-snap where he is throwing the ball based off past tendencies such as his week one interception to Linebacker Luke Kuchely, has led to costly turnovers at inopportune times and put the defense in bad positions. Hoyer had no choice but to take ownership of his performance on the field thus far after another disappointing performance against the Seahawks where he only completed 55.6% of his passes when the league average is 64%. Not to mention, he got beat on the same play by Linebacker Bobby Wagner for another interception, and in a post game interview said, “We’ve got to execute. I’ve got to execute, really. When it comes down to it, I’m really disappointed with myself.”
If he fails to produce again, how much longer can head coach Kyle Shanahan wait to pull the plug and yank the red carpet out from underneath the inefficient game manager? Will we see the rookie C.J. Beathard make his debut sooner rather than later? Hoyer will not have long to get his mind right as the 49ers gear up for a short week to face the Los Angeles Rams and another up and coming defense led by defensive guru Wade Phillips.
Please join us again soon on Niners Live, home of the fan and analyst.
As always, keep your eyes wide open, 49er fans. Niners Live will be watching with you. #eyeswideopen and often imitated but never duplicated… Go Niners.
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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author, Irvin Johnson Staff Writer at Niners Live. Co-Author, Content Creator, Editor Sequoia Sims.