The Chicago Bears add a quarterback on the final day of the NFL Draft, though not in the usual fashion. Just after the draft came to a close, the Bears signed veteran Brian Hoyer to a one-year contract to be the backup to Jay Cutler. The signing was reported by CSN Chicago. The Hoyer signing took place once the Bears decided not to go through with drafting a quarterback.
Most people called for the Bears adding defense. Drafting a QB with one of their initial seven last-day draft picks would have filled one of the Bears’ biggest needs. Brian Hoyer fills the void temporarily. His signing was a brilliant one. A huge problem still remains.
Backup quarterbacks do not get enough attention in Chicago. That is, unless Jay Cutler detractors begin calling for his head again. Bears’ fans, or anyone who follows the Bears, believe defense first, second, and third. Not much regard is given to the offensive side of the football. As often the adage goes, “defense wins championships.” Teams with a stout defense must outscore their opponents. Quarterbacks factor into that.
The Bears adding a backup quarterback to the team was a need whether they drafted one, or signed one. There is a report by Ed Werder that Michigan State’s Connor Cook was on the Bears’ radar in the fourth round. Connor Cook wound up with the Oakland Raiders, who outmaneuvered the Bears and the Dallas Cowboys by trading up (courtesy of ESPN) to draft him.
Having Connor Cook or even a Jeff Driskel would have given the Bears a young quarterback who could learn the system and fill in when needed. Holdovers David Fales and Matt Blanchard do not fit this description. Neither of them were drafted or added by this current Chicago Bears’ regime comprising of Ryan Pace and John Fox. Neither of the two have the ringing endorsement from Pace or Fox. Do not expect the holdovers to make the final 53-man roster when the season starts. Since neither Fales nor Blanchard are expected to make the final roster, the Bears needed a quarterback who will.
Enter Brian Hoyer. With the Bears, he will be one of, if not the best, backup quarterback in the NFL. That is a victory all in itself.
Brian Hoyer is an upgrade over former Bears’ backups Jimmy Clausen and Josh McCown. The David Fales experiment never got started. If the Bears were high on him, Fales would have started in the final game of the season. He was bypassed under John Fox and Marc Trestman a year prior. In Hoyer, the Bears get a proven commodity who was just recently a starter with the Houston Texans. At times he struggles, at times he shines. Hoyer has never had the commitment from a team to the full-time starter. Some wonder how would he perform if he did not have to look over his shoulder every time he enters a game.
Josh McCown was a capable backup for the Bears a few seasons ago. He kept the Bears afloat while Jay Cutler dealt with injuries. Last season, a knee injury took Cutler out of a game against the Arizona Cardinals, and the Bears were forced to put in Jimmy Clausen. Nothing good happened when Clausen was in the game. In fact, the Bears’ game plan was to not throw the football past 20 yards. It was the biggest indictment on Clausen. He was not asked to do anything but hand the ball off to a Bears’ running back.
Brian Hoyer has an above average throwing arm. His arm is reliable enough to hit Bears’ receiver Alshon Jeffery in stride. That could not be said for any of the holdovers on the Bears’ roster, or Jimmy Clausen, who the Bears cut ties with midway through last season.
Intelligence is a quality that Hoyer brings the to the Bears. That will help the offense. From the offensive line to the quarterbacking group, players will learn from Hoyer and the experience he brings to the table. This Bears’ team is getting younger, and needs a fair share of sage veterans to lean on for guidance. Jay Cutler is among them.
Cutler is at his best when there are respected people around him, helping him see things that he missed on the field. There is a lot that can be learned Brian Hoyer that will make Cutler a better QB for the Chicago Bears.
Hoyer’s biggest strong suit is his overall professionalism. It would not be surprising to see him as a quarterback’s coach, an offensive coordinator or even a head coach someday. How Hoyer handles on and off the field is that of a class act. Having dealt with the early stages of the Johnny Manziel fiasco in Cleveland after being with the New England Patriots becomes invaluable experience. The Bears have a winner with the Brian Hoyer signing.
Brian Hoyer may never play a down for the Chicago Bears except during mop up duty. How he fits with the Bears — what he brings to the table — is something that could help without playing at all. A draft pick who could learn under John Fox would have been ideal, but the Bears made good with Hoyer. Brian Hoyer now becomes perhaps the best backup quarterback in the NFL.
[Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images]