One needs to look no further than continued rumors about the San Francisco 49ers future quarterback options to know that Brian Hoyer has almost become an afterthought before he has even started with the team. But a reunion with Kyle Shanahan on a team looking to make a fresh start is the perfect setting for Brian Hoyer to exceed expectations in 2017.
Brian Hoyer is originally from Ohio and attended Michigan State University. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the New England Patriots in 2009 but did not get his first real significant playing time until his 2013 season with Cleveland, when he went 3-0 as a starter filling in for injured Brandon Weeden until Hoyer sustained a season-ending ACL tear on Thursday Night Football.
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Prior to Cleveland’s 2014 season, Kyle Shanahan took the Browns offensive coordinator position and Hoyer beat out newly drafted Johnny Manziel to be the number one quarterback. Under Shanahan’s guidance, Hoyer started out strong, leading the Browns to a 6-3 record and the largest comeback in franchise history. Hoyer’s play faltered over the second half of the season, leading to him being benched in favor of Manziel.
After signing with the Texans in 2015, Hoyer was named starter but was benched for the first two games of the season, only reclaiming the starting job after Ryan Mallett was injured in week 5. As the starter for the rest of the season, Hoyer helped the Texans win the AFC South for the first time since 2012, but played poorly in their playoff loss to the Chiefs.
During his 2016 season with the Bears, Hoyer became starter after Jay Cutler was injured and became the first in franchise history to throw for 300 yards in four consecutive games (while only winning one of the four). His 2016 season ended with a broken arm against the Packers.
Since his first season with Kyle Shanahan in 2014, Hoyer’s completion percentage and rating have improved each year: 55.3, 60.7, 67.0 and 76.5, 91.4, 98.0, respectively. According to Football Outsiders statistical analysis, Hoyer’s DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) and total QBR in 2014, 2015 and 2016 ranked 25, 20,18 and 31,19, 17, respectively.
Brian Hoyer is entering his first season ever as the unquestioned starter on a team that is freshly rebuilding under the guidance of one of the sharpest, youngest offensive minds in the game in Kyle Shanahan. At the age of 31, Hoyer is also at a potential turning point in his career with the chance to show that he can be more than a journeyman. With a healthy running attack and bolstered receiving corps on the 49ers, we see a healthy Brian Hoyer reaching career highs in completion percentage and finishing top 15 in DYAR and total QBR in 2017.