Has Brian Hoyer Been Serviceable Through Two Weeks of the NFL Season?

After an offseason of quarterback madness in Cleveland, has Brian Hoyer solidified himself as the main man for the Browns?

When the Cleveland Browns selected Johnny Manziel in the first round of the NFL Draft in May, it immediately made the Browns’ quarterback situation one of the biggest stories of the offseason.

There was debate when Hoyer was named the starter in late August, but we’re two weeks into the season now, and able to look more closely at how well Hoyer has played.

A Look at the Numbers

The numbers below show Hoyer's raw statistic through Week 2 of the NFL season:

CompletionsAttemptsCompletion %YardsYards/AttempTouchdownsInterceptions

So far, Hoyer's numbers aren't going to blow anyone away or put him into the elite quarterback discussion, but they're solid. Perhaps even more than solid. Hoyer’s done a good job protecting the football this year, which is a top concern for a team committed to running the ball like the Browns, who rank 11th in the league in run-to-pass ratio despite playing in two games against teams with better offenses than defenses.

Hoyer has also excelled in the red zone so far. He's completed 8 of his 9 red zone attempts for two touchdowns and a league-high 88.9 completion percentage. And remember, not only is top receiver Josh Gordon suspended, but number-two target Jordan Cameron has barely seen the field this year as well due to injury.

While preseason numbers are often misleading, they’re all we have for Manziel in his pro career so far. He completed only 50.8% of his attempts in the preseason, and averaged five yards per attempt. Not exactly numbers that inspire confidence.

Hoyer’s numbers within our Net Expected Points metric, which calculates how many expected points a player contributes or takes away from his team through performance, are again unexciting yet average, and sufficient for a game manager.

Passing NEPRankPassing NEP per Drop BackRank

Currently, Hoyer's numbers have him sandwiched between Jake Locker and Jay Cutler. And, through two weeks, Hoyer's outplayed Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Hoyer's decent metrics aren't simply due to easy competition, either. Though he played the Steelers and Saints, two teams struggling on defense, Cleveland's Adjusted Passing Net Expected Points total ranks 20th in the NFL, similar to Hoyer's quarterback ranking.

Historical Comparison

According to our algorithms, Hoyer’s 2014 season outlook is most similar to Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 2012 campaign and Andy Dalton’s 2011 rookie season. Take a look at how those seasons ended up:

CompletionsAttemptsCompletion %YardsYards/AttemptTouchdownsInterceptions
Fitzpatrick (2012)30650560.634006.732416
Dalton (2011)3005165833986.592013

If Hoyer can continue to take care of the football, he will remain an unexciting but serviceable starter for Cleveland. And with the looming return of one of the most explosive weapons in football in Josh Gordon, Hoyer stands to see his yardage numbers improve down the road.