Browns' Pettine says Hoyer firmly our starter
Oct. 20, 2014
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Browns coach Mike Pettine brought a shovel to work, not a sledge hammer.
While disappointed in his team's overall effort in an ugly 24-6 loss at Jacksonville on Sunday, Pettine is not planning to bench starting quarterback Brian Hoyer for rookie Johnny Manziel.
"Brian is still firmly our starter," Pettine said.
Firmly, as in, for now.
Hoyer had his worst game with Cleveland, completing just 16 of 41 passes for 215 yards and an interception against the previously winless Jaguars.
He missed several throws, including one to wide-open tight end Jordan Cameron in the end zone on what should have been an easy touchdown. Hoyer had other passes batted away at the line and he was under pressure all day as the Jaguars underrated defensive front seven dominated the Browns' reshuffled offensive line.
Hoyer played poorly, but not bad enough to lose his job.
"Nothing's changed," Pettine said when asked if he would switch to Manziel. "Each week when the offensive staff gets together, and I'll jump in with them, too, they put the (game) plan together. It's what gives us the best chance to win. So if the situation this week maybe calls for him (Manziel) to play some then that will be the case.
"But we're not going to hit the panic button after one loss. While we know that the quarterback position needed to be more productive, it was more symptomatic of the entire offense."
The quarterback situation aside, Pettine urged his team to take something from the loss but not dwell on it.
"This one is going in a box and getting buried in the backyard," Pettine said. "We need to move on from it quickly. At the same time, we're not going to ignore it. It's not going to be one of those where we gloss over it and move on quickly because of the disappointment. There's a lot to learn from it and it's critical for us to leave here today knowing what went wrong, knowing how to fix it and moving forward to the next one."
Just a week ago, the Browns (3-3) were riding high after a 31-10 win over Pittsburgh. Pettine warned his players last week that the Jaguars were dangerous and they turned out to be even more perilous than predicted. Jacksonville shut down Cleveland's offense, which was playing its first game in more than five years without Pro Bowl center Alex Mack.
Right guard John Greco slid into Mack's spot and Paul McQuistan made his first start. Needless to say, the group didn't function nearly as well without Mack, who broke his left leg and tore ligaments against the Steelers.
The Browns couldn't get their running game going, which allowed the Jaguars to tee off on Hoyer. He was rushed into making throws quicker than usual and his timing was off.
Hoyer acknowledged he could have played much better.
"There were times where I could have been more patient in the pocket," he said. "Things felt like they were flying around a little bit more than usual. Sometimes you've just got to hang in there a little bit longer even when you don't think you can. It's something that I need to work on."
Pettine said the offensive line will be reassessed. It's possible Greco could go back to right guard if Nick McDonald, who recently returned to practice following wrist surgery, is ready to play center. Hoyer and McDonald were together briefly in New England.
Hoyer didn't use the changes in front of him as an excuse, and said he has not lost any confidence in his line.
As a Cleveland native, Hoyer can appreciate the emotional swing Browns fans have experienced this week.
Beat the Steelers. Lose to the jaguars.
"It's always an overreaction, whether you win or whether you lose," he said. "That's the way this league is because you only get to play one time a week. For us, it's not to get caught up in the hype. Yeah, we played yesterday. We (stunk). It (stinks) to admit it, but you have to be able to face the facts and just realize what you need to do to get better.
"I know for me, Sunday can't come fast enough. You want to get back out there and be able to play."
NOTES: Pettine said DE Phil Taylor (knee surgery) has progressed but may be a week or two from playing. Also DE Ahtyba Rubin (ankle) has received a second medical opinion and Pettine said surgery may be an option. ... Pettine said bringing in Manziel on Sunday was "discussed briefly." ... Pettine was asked if he second-guessed himself after going for a 4th-and-1 at the end of the first half. The Jaguars stopped the Browns, scored and 7-6 at half. "When it doesn't work, absolutely," he said. "You live with it."
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