Kruger weighs in on Browns’ starting quarterback competition


At a time when the signs point to the Browns entrusting the starting quarterback job to rookie Johnny Manziel, one of the team’s key defensive players has cast a decidedly different ballot.

“Me personally, I mean obviously that’s up to the staff and coaches so they’ll make that decision,” linebacker Paul Kruger told 1320 KFAN in Salt Lake City.  “But in my mind, [Brian] Hoyer’s the guy.  Hoyer came in, won us four games, unfortunately got hurt.  But the guy was on fire when he was healthy.  He’s proven himself at different levels and has worked extremely hard.”

Actually, Hoyer won only three starts.  And one of them came after he exited early with his torn ACL.  So he actually won only two games himself, against the Vikings and Bengals.

This year, his effort to win the starting job will hinge, in Kruger’s assessment, on how Hoyer and Manziel perform in the preseason.

“In my mind, Hoyer has been a good leader for us and, you know, somebody who has been able to win us some games,” Kruger said.  “So it’s tough to say but I think the preseason will be a big deal for both of them.”

The bigger deal for the Browns will be devising a plan for splitting up preseason reps that will insulate Hoyer and Manziel from playing behind the backup offensive line while giving them both enough time to learn Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

The biggest deal for the Browns will be avoiding a situation in which Hoyer thrives and Manziel becomes the latest Browns quarterback taken 22nd overall in the draft to become a former Brown before ever flourishing.

58 responses to “Kruger weighs in on Browns’ starting quarterback competition

  1. “But in my mind, [Brian] Hoyer’s the guy. Hoyer came in, won us four games, unfortunately got hurt.
    Ahhh, Rose colored glasses at their finest.

    Hoyer won 2 games in which everyone likes to pretend that he played so much better than he actually did. He went down on the first drive against Buffalo, so you cant really count that as a win.

    Hoyer is not a franchise QB, by any stretch. If he was, he wouldn’t be a career journeyman 3rd stringer prior to arriving at a franchise whose severely lacked a QB for years.

    Oh yeah, and Manziel is no franchise player either.

  2. At least Favre was a 3 time mvp before people wouldn’t stop talking about him constantly on sportscenter, jeez. sick of hearing about manziel and he hasn’t thrown an nfl pass yet

  3. Pettine just said at the end of mini camp that Hoyer is “securely ahead” for the starting quarterback job. The media needs Manziel/Hoyer controversy to fill television minutes and blog pages.

  4. Kruger should worry about being another ex Raven who failed after he left the nest. Overpaid and messing with the franchise QB is a sure way to get cut.

  5. Hoyer came in and starting during a week were we traded TRich. Remember how the entire football world just said how the Browns gave up on the season already. Hoyer came in and got two wins in a time when no one believed in Cleveland. That is why we loved the guy. He gave us hope when all hope seemed lost. We haven’t seen enough of the guy to judge him either way yet. I say let the best man win. If Hoyer is the guy to turn this thing around, then who cares if we wasted the pick on Johnny Football if we win.

  6. You have to take perspective into consideration. He used to be a Raven, I’m sure Hoyer looks like an elite HOF QB comparitively speaking.

  7. $1.8 million per sack last year for Kruger. Get him to weigh in on that.

  8. Why would the Browns want to avoid Hoyer “thriving”?

    I don’t think the Browns really care who the QB is if he’s leading the team to wins. If that’s Hoyer and it gives Manziel time to learn there’s nothing wrong with that.

    Only the press thinks its a big deal and makes the team look bad if Manziel isn’t the starter. I guarantee you NO Browns fans will care if Hoyer is the starter and they win most of the games.

  9. r8rsfan says:
    Jun 16, 2014 11:06 AM

    “How do you not even know how many games Hoyer actually won? Exaggeration doesn’t help the cause.”

    Considering how many QBs the Browns went through last year, I don’t blame him for not knowing the exact number of starts or wins Hoyer got under center.

  10. Poor fellow AFCN fans… no stories about your teams so you have to post in lowly Browns stories!

    I am just as tired of the ginned-up and constant Manziel hype as you are.

    But I will revel in your extreme disgust for it.

  11. I think the national media is far more paranoid about this than the fans in Cleveland. I can’t say I know anybody in this city that is clamoring for Manziel to start game 1.

  12. This is sort of similar to the whole Vick vs Foles competition that went on last year in Philadelphia.

    Media peppered Chip about ‘just naming a starter’ and he wouldn’t. He said, they need to compete.. Vick won.. However, Foles ran more with the 1s than he would have if not for the competition. Thus when Foles came in a few weeks into the season, he already had been used to preparing to be the starter, working with the receivers and just leading the team..

    It was a good strategy, but the media wouldn’t let Chip go a day without asking him to name a starter… just so they had something to write other than ‘Chip has not named a starter’

    To the Browns, let em compete. Play the best man week in week out.

  13. Browns fans care more getting wins than who starts. There will be few people second guessing the coaching staff on who is starting if we are getting wins.

  14. I think the national media NEEDS to stump for Manziel because it puts food on their tables.

    “The biggest deal for the Browns will be avoiding a situation in which Hoyer thrives and Manziel becomes the latest Browns quarterback taken 22nd overall in the draft to become a former Brown before ever flourishing.”

    Also, the above passage is absurd. Winning games trumps all, regardless of who’s under center when you do it.
    No one really knew what Tom Brady was prior to Bledsoe going down. The same goes for any QB that’s shown some skills and a modest amount of ability like Hoyer has. Same goes for Johnny, maybe he turns out great.

    We’ll never know until the play the games

  15. Kruger is still in the league?? He was so overhyped last offseason, like all SB-winning free agents. Now hes overpaid and unproductive…what a shocker

  16. The reality is the man who the staff feels can move the chains and score points – will start week one. Agreed that Krueger needs to worry about getting to the QB, in order to collect the rest of his contract… This story is dead – please change the subject…

  17. So now we can be sure that this Manziel thing is the same as Tebow. Not even the people on the field can make the slightest comment perceived as negative by Johnny Walker fans, without facing a backlash.

    All Kruger did was state is opinion. NEWSFLASH: he won’t be the last as we move closer to opening day. Other players will weigh in and they’ll be honest about it.

    Weeks ago Johnny threw 3 picks, 2 were pick 6s and he threw a 30 yd completion. His teammates see what happens daily. Why get mad when they tell what they see?

  18. Both QBs should have a shot and may the best man win. Hoyer has some experience, but his TD to INT doesn’t look good. Manziel is a rookie, but could end up being a great QB.

    Not a Browns fan, but I hope the team chooses well and they improve in the long run.

  19. Johnny needs to be in a real game to show what he can do….I don’t think his own teamates even know what he’s capable of…until they see it in a game….right now it’s like qb challenge on espn….wait till the real bullets fly to make your opinion….

  20. Hoyer threw two god-awful interceptions and then blew his knee away, he hasn’t proven anything. And little Johnny will probably do something similar to that. Next year has a real QB class, way to be impatient Cleveland… Have fun with yet ANOTHER QB controversy…

  21. Last year it DIDN’T matter who the qb was, our rb was WAY over the hill and ineffective after we dumped TRich. A qb cannot flourish in the NFL without the threat of a running game to help ease the pressure. EITHER one should do better this year….the RB situation is in MUCH better shape with Tate, West and possibly Dion Lewis or Isaiah Crowel.

  22. “I mean, they both suck, but one sucks less than the others.” – Kruger

  23. Hoyer should start. Manziel has a real Leinhart feel to him and could stand a little humble pie. If he ends up starting next year, he’ll at least have had to earn it.

  24. Given the complete absence of quality receivers on the roster, I don’t think anyone needs to worry about either quarterback “thriving”, and thereby creating any kind of problem.

  25. Hoyer is more than capable of starting the season. Let the rookie sit and get used to the speed of the game, gel the chemistry with the offense, and also the playbook before throwing him into the fire. Unless the other QBs on the roster are completely useless, the rookie should sit.

  26. Either one won’t win 4 games there. Cleveland….where QB’s go to end their career.

  27. Here are truths:
    – Kruger was ASKED the question, he didn’t just spout off on the subject. Relax, he knows he has to step up his own game.
    – Manziel hasn’t made it thru one-single weekend since being drafted where he, himself, didn’t self-promote or place himself in front of a social media opportunity. In other words, he is a MASSIVE DIVA, loves to spend his money in public as well. That bothers some people, but not others. To me, at this stage of the game, it just makes Johnny look kind of immature, and yea, possibly the next Ryan Leaf. I don’t want that to happen, but if there was ever a time for him to just cool his jets (or at least stop “putting out there in everyone’s face”) it would be the month before his rookie training camp as a non-established NFL Qb who is battling a veteran for the starting role.
    – Hoyer has always wanted to be the Qb of the Browns since childhood…and he really does have a lot of support despite what the national (& local) media would like you to believe. He will get a fair shot to KEEP the job, and im my opinion he will be ready.
    – Lastly, the “selective memory” of all the national media is epic when it comes to covering Johnny Fball. Never mind that it really is standard protocol with all teams to NOT hand jobs to rookie Qbs (not that none ever do start their first season, but c’mon already!) Almost always they have-to earn the job, as will Bortles and Bridgewater and Carr this year with their teams. The national media just make me…laugh. Uselessly stirring the pot, creating inaccurate polls and running their garbage up the flag pole for so many clueless fans to salute. All in the name of page views and ad revenue.., and just so…so…predictably boring this time of year.

  28. If Kruger and Ray Horton’s D didn’t give up 7 4th QTR leads Hoyer and friends would have won a lot more than 4 games!

  29. Did Kruger just play hard in the games Hoyer started? That would explain his poor stats last year. 4.5 sacks???? Paul. I think maybe you should be tired of your poor play last year, I know I was.

  30. Steeler fans obviously want to forget Kruger’s 2009 game-winning OT interception against the Burg.

    Apparently it’s considered grounds for criticism around here when someone who plays the game for a living gives his opinion about football. Not his fault the Browns overpaid.

  31. Browns fans, the Steelers drafted Ben Roethlisberger with the intention of letting him learn for a year behind Tommy Maddox.
    When Maddox got hurt Week 2, NONE of the Steelers vets were excited about it. When asked, Alan Faneca said “no veteran would want a rookie starting. They have to learn how to play the game”.
    I GUARANTEE YOU – There are no vets that WANT Manziel to start for the simple fact rookies have a lot to learn about the game.
    IF Haslam want to have ANY success this year, he should limit the in game action of Manziel, unless injury forces the issue. Long term, it is the best thing they could do for this kid.

    That being said, I think Manziel will start week 1.

  32. Kruger just answered a question with his honest assesment of Hoyer. Sorry if he wasn’t exact in the numbers, it’s not like he was trying to lie or fool anyone. (We should hold our elected officials to such a standard)

    I believe Kruger will do much better in the new defense. Remember, he came from the Raven’s defense, tried to learn Horton’s defense (while Horton was still learning the Brown’s players), and now has to learn another new coach and another new defense. As much as I liked Horton as a DC, his players did give up on him. I don’t think we’ll see that this year and I’ll bet the Browns D will be terrorizing the NFL by the end of the season.

    I’m a life long Browns fan (65+ yrs) and remember the glory days of the AAC and early NFL. I am not expecting too much this year. This will be a LEARNING year for Pettine, and they will take their share of lumps. We Browns fans must be patient, realistic, and believe the team is finally headed in the right direction.

    In Ray we trust!

  33. I don’t think it’s smart to answer that question if you’re Paul Kruger. What he should simply say is I want the starter to be the guy that gives us the best chance to win. I love his honesty and I completely agree, but, when you offer your opinion, the media will flip and do whatever they want to the comments to make them come off as rude or offensive.

  34. If Hoyer starts and wins for the Browns I don’t think anyone is going to rip them for taking Manziel.

    Rodgers sat for a few years behind Favre, Bortles is going to sit behind Henne, Romo sat for a few years behind Bledsoe, as did Brady. The idea that Manziel’s worth will be decided in the first part of his rookie year is ridiculous.

    The Browns need to win some games and it might help Manziel’s development to start as a back up.

  35. Apparently Paul Kruger is the only one who paid attention to the Browns last year (not surprising). He is actually CORRECT on the number of wins Hoyer had as a starter. Though he didn’t finish the Buffalo game he does get credit for that win.

    The reason no one remembers win #1 is that it was a pre-season game. Hoyer was the only QB used for the week 4 pre-season game between the Browns and the Chicago Bears which the Browns won 18-16.

    So yes Hoyer as a starter in Cleveland would be 4-0. 3-0 in the regular season.

  36. I’ve never coached an NFL game, a college game, or a high school game, and this is my expert opinion, and it carries the same weight as the rest of you, “OPINIONS ARE LIKE ASS***** EVERYBODY HAS ONE.”

  37. Pettine changes his tune. “I would become concerned if it was something criminal, and I would be concerned if it affected his job.”

    Sounds like the standard for reasonable behavior has been lowered because this guy will never abide by the old standard …and the Browns don’t wanna look totally inept.

    Everyday you can hear their position change in favor of lessening control. How long before they just wave the white flag and say, oh well “boys will be boys”? Someone said it best …TRAIN WRECK!

  38. Obviously Krugar is still aligned with the Ravens suggesting an under performing QB over a 1st round draft pick . Keep that factory of sadness running.
    Many thanks from B-more

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