You may have forgotten, but the Browns actually had pretty good play at quarterback last season. It lasted for about two weeks and came from 28-year-old journeyman Brian Hoyer . He compiled five touchdowns and close to 600 yards against the Vikings and Bengals. Then in his third start, he tore his right ACL against the Bills in Week 6, and he's been working hard to get back ever since.
Hoyer said Thursday that he is "definitely on schedule, if not ahead" with his rehab. He underwent surgery about four months ago and said expects to be on the field when the Browns begin their offseason conditioning program, which is tentatively scheduled to open April 7.
"At this point now, we're kind of out of the rehab phase and more into the strengthening," Hoyer said via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. "... To me, it seems more and more conceivable that April is a [realistic] target date now."
Hoyer added that he is coming back with his eyes focused on being the starter even though he understands that the Browns will likely add competition early in May's draft. But Hoyer said he is "looking forward" to what lies ahead.
Hoyer was the Browns' best QB this season. However, to say he was better than Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell isn't a high bar to reach. But he's got Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron at his disposal, and he did show in a small sample that he is capable of keeping the offense afloat. The question is whether the Browns' coaches and execs want to see an immediate return on their investment right away. If they want to see Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, or Blake Bortles under center in Week 1, that's what will happen. Considering the previous head coach didn't even last a calendar year, such a scenario seems more likely than not, and Hoyer will have to settle for a backup gig. I don't think that would be the sensible move as each of the newbies are not ready-made star NFL quarterbacks. They really need time to learn and work away from the threat of an incoming Terrell Suggs or Geno Atkins. But "Browns" and "sensible" don't find each other in the same sentence often these days.