Fans are going to need to be convinced without a shadow of doubt.
They’re going to need more than positive reports from practice and quotes about leadership and competitive nature. It’s going to take regular season wins (multiple) before fans jump in with both feet in support of Pierre Garçon. A quick review of Twitter mentions makes that readily apparent.
That kind of skepticism is understandable given the San Francisco 49ers rough patch in recent years. But it also doesn’t change the fact that Hoyer has completely taken the reins as the team’s starting quarterback. Thus far, the veteran has been very impressive by all accounts.
“I think (he’s) probably exceeded my expectations of how I thought he could play,” John Lynch said on Wednesday. “(He’s) been very, very good. We’ve only played one preseason game and we’ve got to continue to let it develop, but he’s taking this opportunity and I think doing a tremendous job with it.”
On paper, Hoyer is a journeyman quarterback who has appeared in games for five different teams. His success has been overshadowed by his injury history. Last season was the perfect microcosm of Hoyer’s career thus far. The quarterback appeared in five games for the Chicago Bears after Jay Cutler went down. Hoyer topped 300 yards in all five contests before suffering another season-ending injury.
Fans have also been hearing all about his reunion with Shanahan and the success they had together with the Cleveland Browns in 2014. Hoyer led the NFL with 13.7 yards per completion that year. But again, that success is moot until the production is replicated in San Francisco.
The 49ers are in search of stability at the quarterback position, and yet, the allure is far greater to look ahead at college prospects or a certain signal caller in the NFC East. Fans will have to be convinced that their guy may already be on the roster.
Sure, Hoyer may be a bridge to someone else, but that’s impossible to forecast at this point.
“We’ve said from the beginning we want a franchise quarterback around here, and a lot of people are making assumptions as to what Brian’s role is,” Lynch said. “Our response to Brian and to everybody is he’s got the first crack of being that guy.
“And I love the way he’s embracing that opportunity each and every day and really has been a tremendous leader for our group.”
Hoyer and the first team offense didn’t do much in the preseason opener. He completed 1-of-4 pass attempts for just three yards on two drives that ended in a three-and-out. An impressive throw that gained 15 yards on third down was wiped out due to penalty.
The offense rebounded on Wednesday during the first of two joint practices against the Denver Broncos. Hoyer completed well over 50 percent of his passes, many of which were chunk plays to Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garçon.
Moreover, Hoyer was clearly the vocal leader of the offense, taking command of his group against a talented Broncos defense.
“I just wanted to make sure our guys came out ready to go and if anything, we’d have to get pulled back a little bit,” Hoyer said. “You know, especially going against this defense that Denver has. I knew it was going to be a challenge and I wanted to make sure that our guys were ready to go.”
Don’t tell Hoyer, who is still only 31-years-old, that he doesn’t have a future with the 49ers. He will never say it in these terms, but the quarterback is eager to show fans that the grass might be pretty darn green on their side of the fence.