The Cleveland Browns added another quarterback during voluntary workouts by officially signing Vince Young. Young, who hasn’t started a game since 2011 as an injury replacement to Michael Vick, is expected to come in and, by all accounts, compete with current starter Brian Hoyer. Hoyer, who started the 2013 campaign as the third quarterback on the depth chart, absolutely earned the starting role last season through only 10 quarters; but those 10 quarters were the most exciting that Browns fans have seen in seven years.
Young came into the tryout obviously ready to play, although his range of motion in his throwing arm has certainly been diminished based on pictures released to the public from his tryout. Still, one must wonder how three years out of the game has affected the man who in his last significant role ended up walking out on his coach’s postgame speech after being pulled from a game. Young’s in locker room behavior, from what we as the public know about, is an obvious question mark. That’s what makes Hoyer all the more compelling of a choice.
Hoyer is the model of consistency, from his time at Cleveland’s St. Ignatius High School, through his years at Michigan State and finally into the NFL. Hoyer was the replacement to Matt Cassel as the backup to Tom Brady and was considered expendable when the New England Patriots brought in Ryan Mallett. Hoyer, through his limited time as the starter last season in Cleveland, proved himself a certainly competent game manager, and Brady had clearly worn off on him. If offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan truly believes that Young is a better answer at quarterback than Hoyer, one would not be surprised to watch Shanahan be shown the door as quick as his predecessors.
It’s widely expected that the Browns will be taking a quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft next week, possibly as early as the No. 4 overall pick. With the signing of Young, one now has to wonder what the Browns’ plan is at both No. 4 and No. 26. It has been widely speculated the Browns could be trading down out of No. 4 if wide receiver Sammy Watkins from Clemson is not available.
Still, the fact that Hoyer hasn’t been given the nod that it’s his job to lose, by head coach Mike Pettine is upsetting as a fan. Hoyer provided fans with more hope in those 10 quarters than in, quite honestly, the entire existence of the Browns franchise since their return to the NFL in 1999. Allow Hoyer to determine if he has a future in his hometown based on his play within the new offense. He has certainly earned that right. Hoyer is not going to be the quarterback to lead you to a Super Bowl; anyone with eyes can figure that out. But he is certainly better than a rookie or a washed up guy would be.