San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer came over in free agency from the Chicago Bears on a two-year, $12 million deal. Niner Noise breaks down the 49ers new signal-caller and his chance to surprise.
Under-the-radar signings exist every year in NFL free agency. These signings usually go unnoticed because fans and analysts write off certain players.
There are many reasons for this. Sometimes it’s injury related. Sometimes performance plays a part. But sometimes, it’s a combination of the two.
Brian Hoyer seems to have been written off as a stopgap quarterback.
San Francisco 49ers
This year, Hoyer was a great signing by the San Francisco 49ers.
I know what you’re thinking — Hoyer, really? Yes Hoyer will prove to be more than serviceable with the team during the 2017 season. He could even make the Pro Bowl.
Now, he probably won’t become elite or even a tic below that. But Hoyer could have a great season and is a integral part of new head coach Kyle Shanahan’s plan.
Brian Hoyer’s time with Kyle Shanahan
As Peter Panacy points out in his article San Francisco 49ers: All You Need to Know about New Quarterback Brian Hoyer, Hoyer was coached by Shanahan in Cleveland. While Panacy writes that Hoyer was a starter in two years — 2014 and 2015 — Hoyer also started three games in 2013 before an injury ended his season.
Hoyer’s statistics don’t jump off the page, but he played really well in Cleveland considering how things usually go in Ohio.
And he had two of his best seasons under Shanahan, despite narrowly missing the postseason in 2014.
Brian Hoyer’s time in Houston
In 2015, Hoyer played for the Houston Texans. In 11 games with nine starts, Hoyer threw for 2,606 yards with 19 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. He completed 60.7 percent of his passes and had a 91.4 quarterback rating. Again, while not staggering numbers, there are other contributing factors besides Hoyer’s play.
When 2015 began, the Texans starting offensive line looked promising. They had left tackle Duane Brown — a perennial Pro Bowl player. And right tackle Derek Newton had just signed a contract extension. Right guard Brandon Brooks, now a Philadelphia Eagle, was also turning it on.
But there were also changes taking place. Center Chris Myers was released and guard Ben Jones took over his position. At the same time, 2014 second-round pick, Xavier Su’a-Filo, stepped in at left guard.
Su’a-Filo has not worked out, Newton hasn’t performed up to his contract and, overall, Houston’s line was inconsistent that season. Jones was also just hitting his stride. He now has, with the Tennessee Titans but that didn’t help Hoyer then.
Basically, Hoyer hasn’t had everything he needed to succeed in one place while he’s been healthy. And he hasn’t been healthy for a full season either.
This will be Shanahan’s biggest challenge with Hoyer. Consistency is important and, for Hoyer to be consistent, he will need consistent pieces around him.
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He will also need to stay healthy.
The 49ers have new wide receiver Pierre Garcon who could help. They also have some solid pieces on the offensive line with left tackle Joe Staley, new Pro Bowl center Jeremy Zuttah and right tackle Trenton Brown.
The biggest question is how will the 49er offensive guards fair? How will Zane Beadles, Joshua Garnett and free-agent signee Brandon Fusco perform? Could tackle Garry Gilliam or center/guard Daniel Kilgore maybe win a job?
The coaching staff will probably answer there questions with the best players and, if they do, Hoyer could flourish with the opportunities he’s being given.
He’ll also stay healthy if the offensive line can keep his jersey clean.