We Will Soon Find Out If The Steelers Think Brian Hoyer Is More Than Just Smart

It is still too early to tell whether or not Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be ready to return to action this week for the Sunday game against the Baltimore Ravens and the same goes for injured backup Byron Leftwich as well. What we do know right now is that four quarterbacks on the roster will be one too many in a matter of a week or two.

Brian Hoyer was signed off of the street last week to play emergency backup to Charlie Batch against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. He was signed because he is a quick study and familiar with the terminology that offensive coordinator Todd Haley uses in his offense. Haley also said last week that the former New England Patriots backup is a smart guy who’s working his backside off to be in a position to help us if he needs to.

All of the above aside, you have to wonder if Hoyer is a guy that Haley, and the rest of the coaching staff for that matter, has confidence in moving forward. Is he a quarterback that can serve as a long time number two or number three quarterback on the roster moving past the next couple of weeks? If he is, then the Steelers should keep him and ditch Batch, guaranteed salary and all.

For those of you that thought Batch should have been the number two after Roethlisberger went down, I think you saw first hand on Sunday why he wasn\’t. Leftwich is indeed injury prone, but his arm strength, when healthy, gives the Steelers a better shot at running their normal offense should he ever have to play another down.

Can Batch beat the Ravens this coming week? He hasn\’t in his other two starts since arriving in Pittsburgh. Sure, it would have been hard for even Leftwich to overcome the 4 fumbles by the running backs in the Browns game, but Batch just can\’t keep defenses honest enough because of his lack of arm strength. The field becomes much shorter because of that.

Should Batch start again on Sunday against the Ravens and win it will be because the Steelers can run well enough against stacked fronts without turning the ball over. It will also require another top notch effort by the defense in addition.

Am I suggesting starting Hoyer over Batch against the Ravens if both Roethlisberger and Leftwich are indeed down again? No, but it does have to be considered even if the outcome will most likely wind up being the same. With the limited time that Hoyer has been on the roster it is hard to expect him to do much more than Batch did against the Browns. Timing and complete understanding of an offense just does not happen overnight. In short, that is very unlikely to happen as there just isnit enough time to prepare two quarterbacks properly.

This post, however, is not aimed at what may or may not take place next Sunday in Baltimore, but instead aimed at moving towards the end of the season and the future. If the Steelers think that Hoyer is “serviceable” down the road, they have to consider holding onto him at the expense of Batch.

Should the Steelers wind up waiving Hoyer soon, you will know that he was brought in only for his football smarts and not his ability. This of course would explain why he was on the street when the Steelers called. Good backup quarterbacks don\’t grow on trees.

  • Buccos9

    My question would be how can Hoyer do any worse? He has four years of watching Tom Brady. He’s not a complete rookie. They should whittle down the play selection even more and give Hoyer a shot. If they start Batch again, they might just as well mail in the “L”.

  • Clint Martin

    What makes me sick is the Steelers defense is so dang good and our offense plays a game like that just pathetic! Memo for the running backs HOLD DA BALL OR BE OUT OF WORK! TIME FOR SOMEONE TO MAN UP AND OWN THIS POSITION!

  • JT

    How much good did timing and complete understanding do Charlie this week? He’s really got nothing left. The ball was coming out like a soggy Nerf football. At least give Hoyer a shoot. Charlie can come in and manage his way to a loss if its really that bad for Hoyer. But he’s about the only guy with upside we have. There’s no reason not to really.

  • Bradys_Dad

    OK, Byron and Charlie are great guys. Good in the locker room and fantastic clip-board holders. They had their time in the sun and now it’s time. Business is business and it’s time to bring in some young arms, legs and minds to back up Ben. Hoyer was a smart signing and Kafka is lingering around out there too which creates more options. We can’t put all the blame on Charlie for Sunday’s outcome. The “O” played poorly however the line only let 1 sack take place against a young, decent defense. Hoyer and Kafka are not rookies and they can certainly play the game. The question is, as it’s been put, “would they do worse ?”

  • Chris Rhodes

    I put the blame on Tomlin for not
    drafting a younger QB and keeping them for this! Leftwitch isn’t # 2 QB material and no better than Batch probably worst with his slow pitch softball release!

  • JT

    Isn’t that on Colbert?

  • Pete

    I guess everyone now knows why Batch is 3rd string. But the Steelers O line is very banged up. The Browns D gave it to them pretty good. Hoyer? What do we know about him? I don’t think most teams seriously expect to win when you get down to your 3rd string QB. If you can win consistently with a 3rd string dude then he probably doesn’t deserve to be 3rd string.

  • Batch aside, in no way is Leftwich in a position to run our offense. Yes he has arm strength. And that’s about it. He has no touch, a slow delivery, and no mobility. Not that he has had many chances, but there are reasons why he has not won a game that he started since he was with the Jags…

    Batch looked bad yesterday too. We all know he can’t throw beyond 15-20 reliably and that limits the offense. But with a reliable running game, which we did not have yesterday, he is capable of winning games in our offense.

  • Bradys_Dad

    Misplaced loyalty to Byron and Charlie is what got us in to this mess.

  • prioris

    Hoyer has a very strong and accurate arm. If he can get protection in the pocket, he will play well. Of course he has to come up to speed on Pittsburgh offense and get in sync with receivers. The only weakness I saw was his pocket awareness. Pittsburgh should keep him so he can be part of the competition in training camp to evaluate him further. I’m surprised Hoyer hasn’t been selected by any other teams. He can be at least a decent back up.

  • SteelSpine

    Beachum too was kept on active 53 “because of his smarts” & look what that got us – a guy who at this stage is bad. Debating whether to go with a QB with a weak arm vs a new bum off street for QB, this is not good (understatement of the century).

    Bottom line is during the entire week heading into Browns game, we knew we were down to our 3rd QB & therefore was time to need/expect our run game to carry our offense in that game. Yet couldnt get it done against a 2-8 team, cant find any coach who knows how to stress avoiding fumbles in practice during weeks between games. Never thot a bringing in a coach even tho there’s no salary cap for coaches? Or what could it hurt to bring in Bettis to help them work on that, because Bettis took more hits onto the ball than anyone, because he was an inside runner & wasnt exactly outrunning anyone.

    I know coaches dont fumble etc. But that many (7) turnovers (fumbles & INTs) totals up to bad coaching the week prior. Why called plays requiring Charlie to throw it farther than he was able to, didnt any coach find out before that game how far Charlie can throw it? He heaved it as far as he could yet it hit the back of a DB’s helmet.

    Also, if the 3rd QB is a 10 year NFL veteren (in this case Batch), that should be good enough against a 2-8 team.. I know Weeden had longer to prepare but he’s a rookie; 10-year veteren backups dont get multiple weeks to prepare – that’s the way it is in NFL.