AP: Browns QB Brian Hoyer states his case to keep starting job, cites 10-5 record

BEREA, Ohio — Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer wants to finish what he started.

And he stated his case this afternoon.

“Because we’re here. We’re 7-5,” he said. “This just doesn’t happen by luck. It was hard earned, and we’ve worked to get where we’re at.”

Hoyer has started all 12 games, but was benched in favor of rookie Johnny Manziel on Sunday in the fourth quarter of the 26-10 loss to Buffalo. Coach Mike Pettine has to pick between them for Sunday’s game against the Colts.

At 7-5, the Browns are in the middle of the AFC playoff picture.

“We’re still in it,” Hoyer said. “We have four more games. Two of them are division games.

“You don’t get to 7-5 in the NFL just lucking into it. It’s been a lot of hard work, and I think I’ve proven that I’ve gotten us to this point. I feel like I can carry us through the next four games. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be ready to go.”

Hoyer went 18-for-30 for 192 yards with two interceptions, two sacks and a 51.0 rating versus the Bills. The North Olmsted native has slumped in the last three games, going 61-for-120 for 844 yards, a touchdown and six interceptions as the Browns scored 36 points.

He said the coaches hadn’t told him the plan moving forward.

“It’s up to Coach Pettine,” Hoyer said. “I’m sure I’ll know when I know.

“It’s his job and he can choose to do what he wants to do. For me, I can only worry about what I can control. Until he decides what he wants to do, I’m going about it as I’m the starter. I’m studying my tape on Indy, and I would do the same if I wasn’t.”

Right guard John Greco has been impressed with how Hoyer’s handled himself this season, despite Manziel looming in the background and Hoyer being in the final year of his contract.

“He comes to work every day and focuses because it’s his job,” Greco said. “I heard him say in the press conference yesterday he feels like he’s the guy and we do, too, and it’s his job. And he’s been our leader all year, but decisions are out of our hands, and we’re going to roll with it no matter what they choose.”

The fan base has been divided on Hoyer versus Manziel for months. Receiver Travis Benjamin said there’s no such split in the locker room.

“It’s no Team Johnny or Team Hoyer,” he said. “We just, as a team, as a unit, want the best for the offense. Even though they go with Johnny or go with Hoyer, we, as a receiver group, know we still have to catch the ball and we still have to block.”

Manziel showed his teammates something in his first extended action. He finished an 80-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown run.

“Johnny is a baller, no matter what,” Benjamin said. “Ready or not, you put him in the game and if he doesn’t make the play with his arm, he’ll make the play with his legs.

“We just figure, as receivers, we have to work more. If Johnny comes in the huddle and he pronounces the play wrong, we’ve got to make sure we correct it. We’ve got to make sure we correct him. Offensive linemen, tight ends, all the receivers, all the running backs, we’ve just got to make sure we’ve got to be in form when he’s in the game.”

Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or [email protected]. Like him on Facebook and follow him @scottpetrak on Twitter.