49ers QB Brian Hoyer won’t — and shouldn’t — be banished to the bench

Didn’t we learn our lesson when we ran Alex Smith out of town?

Every time a 49ers quarterback doesn’t play well, we say, “Bench him.” When Smith didn’t play well, we said, “Bench him for David Carr.” Then for Troy Smith. Then for Colin Kaepernick. And when Kaepernick struggled, we wanted Blaine Gabbert. And when Gabbert struggled, we wanted Kaepernick again. And now that Brian Hoyer hasn’t played well, we want C.J. Beathard.

Are we going to do this every year?

Click here to read the rest of my Thursday column.

This article has 65 Comments

  1. Kyle knows best…and if he doesn’t think Beathard is ready..then we gotta ride out Hoyer some more..

    But if we get to 0-7 or 0-8.I think he will..

  2. Hoyer is not a good QB and the 49ers are leading the league in Drops. Not a good combination. Interior o-line is atrocious so it’s hard to pin it all on Hoyer. 49ers are obviously in a rebuild so this is all expected. I agree with Grant on this one. Let Hoyer take the beating and then the next guy will be the hero. I do agree though that if the 49ers get to 0-7 then Beathard needs to start.

    1. Doesn’t this feel a lot like the previous two seasons with drops and poor QB play? Our defense is improved. We have so much cap space and our offensive roster shows we need some upgrades at WR, QB and OL. A lot of people got caught up in the hype including Grant which surprised me. I started out saying 4-6 win team. I hope we get 4 wins.

      The offense has flashes of production. I watched some of niner nation’s sack break down of Hoyer. Several of those were on him for holding the ball too long. We’re still two seasons away from being competitive with upgraded players in the positions above.

      1. But we didn’t lead the league in drops the last two years. We had a 4.9% drop rate last year. Not great, but not the worst. In fact the Chiefs also had a 4.9% drop rate. Yet Smith still completed 67% of his passes. And you can see how bad they were, compared to the far more accurate Smith, by looking at the splits:

        1-10 yards: 70.7%
        11-20 yards: 49.4%
        21-30 yards: 26.9%
        31+: 35.7%

        1-10 yards: 63.3%
        11-20 yards: 36.8%
        21-30 yards: 38.9%
        31+: 20%

        1-10 yards: 65.2%
        11-20 yards: 43.5%
        21-30 yards: 22.2%
        31+: 0.0%

        So, yes, drops didn’t help. But drops simply doesn’t account for the lack of accuracy with Kaepernick and Gabbert, neither of whom has broken 60% for his career.

        1. Moses find the spot where I said we lead the league in drops? We’re still losing and that’s my point. Hoyer isn’t good, he’s not better than what we had before. We still are plagued by poor talent at WR and OL. We’re still short a QB and CJ isn’t ready yet.

          One question, is it a typo or did CK really complete 38.9% of his passes 21-30yds?

        2. Moses– There are more variables involved in passing statistics than drops. Another aspect is how big of a window a QB has to throw into. The separation a receiver gets also plays a big role. The number of passes thrown per area also plays a factor along with many other variables. As I constantly say- Evaluate a player on what he has to work with. and that can not always be answered via statistics. You really need the eyeball test. The problem with the eyeball test is that most people do not watch enough games in order to make a valid comparison. The bottom line is that the 49ers and KC of the last few years are entirely different teams so to many variable come into play to use stats as a valid comparison. Smith was just lucky to get out when he did. He got to play with a solid team rather than the train wreak the Niners became. Don’t even imply that Smith would have made the outcome any different.

          1. This

            Smith was just lucky to get out when he did. He got to play with a solid team rather than the train wreak the Niners became

    2. Why wait isn’t five losses enough give Cj a chance for a couple games let him get his feet wet it won’t hurt we still have chance if he does well preseason he did fine.

  3. Always strikes me as strange when I agree with every word Grant writes. On the other hand, I think this article would be stronger if Grant admitted he was among the most vocal calling for some of the changes he now criticizes.

  4. CJ isn’t ready yet. Kyle called a run when he was at QB. CJ didn’t play well in his last preseason game.

    That doesn’t mean that every excuse should be made for Hoyer. Yes, many of us want to run Hoyer out of town. Why? Because he’s a stop-gap. A stop-gap that will be gone after this season or the year after.

    Hoyer will be out as soon as we have a decent QB, whether it’s Cousins, another draft pick, or a more polished CJ.

  5. Bears made a change to there rookie Wait and see how he performs with questionable WR’s and a pours line before 49ers make a change.
    If Hoyer can’t score a TD against the Colts then put the rookie in,

  6. Here’s a crazy notion. Jacoby Brissett is a better QB than Brian Hoyer. The Colts are absolutely terrible but Brissett’s numbers are very close to Hoyer’s. Brissett has a higher QBR and same number of TD’s in 50 fewer passes. Having said that, I don’t think Brissett is very good.

    1. The difficulty for Brissett will be learning Shanahan’s complex offense. That’s really the only advantage that Hoyer has. Both are stop gaps. I’m going to try and watch every Cousin’s game, because my early gut feel is that signing him after the season is over (unless Washington decides to pay him 35+ million) is the way to go. That would free up the draft picks to fill some other holes.

      1. knowing the offense is the reason why Hoyer was brought here. You can not really evaluate how players will work in your offense until you can run your offense. Having even a skilled QB running an offense he isn’t comfortable with is totally counter productive to what the team is now doing in respect to their long them plans. Some of you need to take off your myopic glasses and see the big picture.

      2. If Cousins is available it will pretty much be a no-brainer about whether to try and sign him. Shanahan clearly likes him so of course you do. And you don’t mind paying what others may consider as over the odds, because the 49ers have a ridiculous amount of cap space.

        I don’t think Cousins is a great QB, but he’s good, and will make this team better. And as you say they can then focus on other positions in the draft.

        1. Cousins is good and has the chance to be very good or even excellent in STY’s system. Greatness is bestowed on the very, very few.

  7. Finally, an article that makes sense. Remember everyone Bill Walsh was 2-14 and 6-10 in his first two years. Joe Montana only played in spots during his first year before coming the starter the following year. Yes, I yell at the TV during the games, but I wouldn’t miss one for a million dollars. Niners Forever!!!

  8. I was thinking along the lines of banishing him to one of Stalin’s old Siberian gulags….

    While I agree, I also understand the frustration. Hoyer is just playing badly, even for Hoyer the consummate journeyman-back-up. Sure, there are other issues. But he’s being incredibly scatter-shot with his passes and is throwing some serious ??? INTs.

    The funny thing in all this is that if it wasn’t for Saleh taking that barely upgraded defense and getting some really good production out of them (despite the whinging from the peanut gallery) we’d not even be able have this discussion. Because we’d be losing by 14+ points a week like last year. In fact, while we haven’t won a game, the fact is last year we were competitive in what, 3 games? Maybe 4? And if we say 4 that would have to include the Dolphin’s being stupid and letting us back in the game after having a 31-14 lead in the 3rd quarter.

    But since we’ve been competive in three games so far. And they were close, hard-fought losses… Well, let’s say it brings out the ‘contending delusions’ and impatience in people even though the reality is there’s no reason, despite this being a gut-and-rebuild year with 33 new players including 14 (or 15 maybe) rookies, to think think that throwing Bethard to wolves will make us suddenly ‘good.’

    Bottom-line is there are a lot of growing pains and lumps to take. May as well let Hoyer take them while Bethard learns. Just like DeBerg did.

  9. A voice of reason on the topic. While I understand watching the offense atm is pretty painful, I find the calls for Beathard to take over after just 4 weeks a bit funny. If Hoyer continues to struggle for another 5-6 weeks then sure, throw Beathard in to see if he has anything, but right now this team is best served having a QB out there that knows the system.

    This team isn’t good. I don’t think its quite as bad as the 2nd worst record in the NFL, but not far off it. I always thought the offense would struggle through the first half of the season so this start doesn’t surprise me. It should get better during the 2nd half of the season.

    1. Will the fan base wait that long if the team is 0-8? Somehow, I don’t think so. Someone will always need to shoulder the blame. It won’t be KS or JL or even JY. So who is left. The one brought in May be sacrificed at the altar of blaming someone, even if everyone shares in the debacle.

      1. No, the fan base won’t wait to blame anyone. They already are. But Lynch and Shanahan don’t need to listen to the fan base.

          1. Sounds strange, but after the fiasco of the past few years I don’t think York would have the stones to exert much pressure on the GM and HC right now. Last thing he needs after agreeing to a long term rebuild with these guys, which apparently was something both Lynch and Shanahan considered an important thing, is to then turn around 4-8 weeks into the first season and start demanding better results.

            1. I think it may be of the persuasive type vs. the employee / boss relationship. Declining attendance, re energize the franchise etc.

              A tiger doesn’t change his stripes…

              I remain skeptical of the York’s ability to stay away without meddling.

              My challenges are:

              1) the organization needed a home run in free agency and the draft to get ahead of the shallow talent pool. Doesn’t look like that was accomplished to a significant degree. I.E. not enough. Perhaps a bridge too far, but it was attainable in my opinion.

              2) rookie head coach and rookie GM. Lots of mistakes as the learning curve is steep. Think we will see lots of this throughout the season. Already seeing some of it.

              3) too much trust in Shanahan’s system has been placed without proper scrutiny. I think the same was true to a degree with Chip Kelly. Shanahan still has much to prove in my book. To be fair, I do have a soft spot for Harbaugh, but think he has similar challenges as Shanahan (except experience and track record-minus the big one).

              4) essentially a franchise reboot. As anyone knows most of the time reboots stink (Ghostbusters). The team has lots of new faces, many rookies (lots of mistakes), veterans with questionable value (Garçon for as good as he is shines most brightly as a number 2, not a 1 – see Smith, Torrey), and questionable players from an older regime (Beadles, Ray Ray, etc.)

              5) the organization is still run by the same set of clowns that stuck by Baalke too long, fired Harbaugh, alienated the fan base, and were arrogant enough to think they knew more football than football people (hence-Tomsula). Mr. Hold Me Accountable-but you can’t fire me or get rid of me. I’m very skeptical about their long term capacity.

              To me this adds up to a very disappointing season and judging from the high aspirations that many posters had preseason (12 wins and playoffs were mentioned, lol) they will expect something.

              I stated that progress would be losing by narrower margins and being close. And to be honest, I thought both the Cardinal and Seattle would blow us out, but they didn’t, which was surprising. But winning is more than close games. The difference between that and a winning season is immense though and not trivial.

  10. You forgot one very important reason. We need Brian Hoyer to go 3 and 13 and get the number 2 overall pick to get the best quarterback next year.

  11. How many of you were around when Troy Aikman of the Dallas Cowboys went 1-15 in his first year with Jimmy Johnson ????? the hits, the pressures and the sacks were monstrous. Also, John Elway, in his first season as a starter in Denver, went through stretches which made him wish he either was back at Stanford or playing minor league ball with in the Yankee farm system……..

    FAIL –
    F – First
    A – Attempt
    I – In
    L – Learning

    Everybody goes through it….even all of you!!!!!! Based on your harsh critiques of Hoyer, how many of you would be where you are today if your superiors, bosses, administrators, human resource people, ordinary people on the street were as harsh and judgmental of you as you are of Hoyer???????????

    1. Hoyer is no Elway or Aikman at least I hope you’re not making that comparison. I think you’re right that every rookie needs a chance to learn but Hoyer has been in the league 7 years. I think what you see here is when people over hype a journeyman back up as if he’s a legitimate starter lots of disappointment ensues. I expected Hoyer to be what he is, a back up, he’s actually playing worse than I expected. I hoped to be 1-3 or 2-2 right now. Coaching plays a huge role in this too. Kyle is getting a pass for the most part in learning how to be a head coach. That’s fair.

      I think the trick is to have realistic expectations of people. People did this last year with Gabbert too.

      1. Aikman was fortunate to play on one of the best teams of all time. Once he lost his elite RB, Wr and the O-line got old he turned into trash. He received so many concussions he got the yips as well. He was suited for the team of the decade that Dallas was but not the wreak they became quite suddenly via player loss and age. . It is really difficult to evaluate QB’s because they have different teams to work with but I would say Aikman was over rated due to how suddenly his production declined. He looked as bad as any QB in the league. He was as immobile and once his elite O-line was gone he really stunk it up. Aikman should be an object lesson as to the importance of the team around a QB.

    2. I remember that. It was horrible. Not that I minded as it gave me bragging rights over one of my friends who is a die-hard Cowboy fan.

      And, FWIW, I’m really enjoying ribbing him over the Cowboys being 2-2.

  12. A few see the big picture, most do not. It’s true here in this tiny blog, and even more true elsewhere.

    Enjoy the fantasy.

  13. Hoyer is not the main problem here.
    The Line cannot protect the QB. Anyone who is playing QB is not going to last unless this gets corrected. The line can improve this year, but it will not substantially change until next year.
    The 49ers lead the league in drop passes. this is a concentration issue, and is correctable.
    The 49ers lead the league in penalties. Inexcusable. This needs to stop now.
    These stupid mistakes are killing the Niners. Get these reduced and the 49ers can win some games and would have if they would have avoided just a couple of penalties.
    Reduce the penalties and dropped passes and they can win a few games. Improve the line play to reduce the QB touches by 10% and they will win more. In other words; Stop beating your self.
    I still think they can win 6 games if they can cut back on the unforced errors.

  14. The rookies need to get some playing time. The team is not going to the playoffs this season anyway. 0 tds in 3 out of 4 games and at least 1 turnover in each game. Hoyer needs to be given the clipboard and a seat on the bench.

    1. Putting in Beathard now would be a mistake. There is still plenty of time to give him a look later. Wait at least until the season is half over. The issues the team has that can be fixable need to be fixed first. If you want to evaluate what Beathard has you need to give him a chance to succeed and not throw him in with this team right now. Hoyer is the sacrificial whipping boy who will take the beating while this team develops. He is in because he knows and can run the offensive system and right now that is more important than wins.

      1. Hoyer has 0 tds in 3 out of 4 games. He also has more turnovers than tds. In the wise words of Herm Edwards you play to “win” the game.

  15. CJ might be ready in the 2nd half. Currently it’s a learning situation and at some point the 49ers will start him in order to prepare (take stock of what they have) for the 2018 NFL Draft.

    1. 49ers run a sophistocated offense—lots of shifts and motions=false starts, so even the O-Linemen are having difficulty, not just Hoyer.

      Apparently, even if the 49ers were the New England Patriots, it takes 1/2 a year to reach a comfort level. The Rams game was only a temblor in the earthquake to come following the 8th game.

  16. Now that baseball season is over I thought it would behoove the Giants to draft more excitement for their lineup than trotting out the Shinjo’s, Manny Aybar’s, and Matt Duffy’s for their major league team.

    How about drafting a real major leaguer this season in Seth Beer .

  17. “I understand the NFL is a quarterback-driven league and the QB is the focus of every team. But he isn’t the whole team. He can’t make up for everyone’s deficiencies. He isn’t God.”
    ~ Grant

    Really? Did Kaep ever receive this type of pathos from you last year? Your “stand by your man” attitude towards Hoyer is beginning to take on a sappy effect.
    Your C – minus grade for Hoyer on Sunday says it all – and now this.
    I guess Kaep lost all those games by himself, right?

      1. Shoup,
        I get that, but that does not absolve Hoyer’ bad showing. One of the issues (according to Grant) is that there is miscommunication with WRs. If this is suggesting the Hoyer is throwing behind wide open WRs because they did not run a precise route, then that theory is ridiculous.

        Actually, this has nothing to do on whether Grant likes him or not. This is about a QB (whomever it may be) making a snap decision to throw to an open WR.
        Hoyer doesn’t seem to have the wherewith all to do this and making excuses to brush aside his flaws is wrong – especially given the fact the Kaep’ faults were highlighted on this site in full display.
        Let’s call it what it is – below average QBing.

  18. Wow for the last decade all we did was criticize the QBs and basically blamed them for almost everything when they lost now all of the sudden Grant is coming up with every excuse he can come up with that it’s the team that stinks and Bryan Hoyer is the next coming of Joe Montana lol

  19. I thinks it’s fair Hoyer gets criticized as he has played poorly at times and has missed throws. However, Everyone thinks Hoyer is a bum cuz we are 0-4 But we could have won the Zona game if not for drops and offensive PI. We could have won against the Rams if not for offensive PI and a missed XP. And we could beat the Seahawks if not for a variety of factors. And if Shanny coached better who knows bout the panthers game. So if we were 3-1 or 4-0 we would be saying Hoyer does enough to win despite bad coaching, drops and penalties. But because we are 0-4 Hoyer sucks? No he is just limited and can’t overcome those things. It’s who Hoyer is. If guys weren’t dropping passes and were protecting and not committing penalties he would be good. He just isn’t good enough to overcome those things… is Bethard? Prolly not.

  20. It’s such pointless exercise to lecture what Shanalynch needs to do. A more worthwhile approach is to try to predict what they are likely to do. My feeling is that the Niners may go 0-16 and STY still wouldn’t start Beathard until he thinks the latter can implement his offense at an acceptable level. Alternatively if Beathard makes unexpected amount of progress, he might start even f Hoyer goes 6-2 in the next 8 games.

  21. LOL, Grant is trollin’ me. ;p
    Kaep, the QB they did not want? Guess what? They are 0-4 because they refused to consider a superior QB. The only thing Hoyer was better at is the fact that Hoyer is not named Kaepernick. They do not want Kaep, but they NEED Kaep.
    Kaep is bigger, stronger, faster, more elusive, can out run the safeties, has accomplished way more and has set playoff records. In Hoyer’s only playoff game, he threw the ball like the DBs were the intended receivers. So far this season, he has managed to give the ball away at least once per game.
    Hoyer is getting bludgeoned, and Grant was smart to point out the cumulative effect of all those hard hits to the cranium. The worst was when Hoyer fell back against his own player and had his helmet ripped off. The end result is that Hoyer looks skittish and easily rattled. His inaccuracy was too apparent when he threw the ball to KS, instead of Taylor who was behind Mathieu.
    Yes, this is a results driven business, and Hoyer is failing. Even he admits it. The results are bad. If they continue with Hoyer, it just means they do not care if they win or not, and are probably tanking for a good draft position.
    I can see why they will not bench Hoyer, but favoritism has always been a staple with the Niners. Look at Gabbert, Devey, Beadles and Bellore previously. Now we have Hoyer and Robinson. Hoyer is pulling a Gabbert, with a predictable outcome.
    How can they improve? First of all, they need to be honest. Hoyer is a journeyman QB and plays like one. He does have skills,but he is a practice warrior. He looks like Tarzan in practice, but turns into Jane on game days. Hoyer is immobile, and eliminates all rollouts in the playbook. He is easily shaped.
    They need not bench Hoyer, they should just make it competitive. CJB will get Kizered, so he should be used only as a last resort. They should sign Kaep to a cheap- prove it- contract, and make it an open competition. Let Hoyer start, and as long as he can lead the Niners to a score, he continues starting. If they have to punt or there is a turnover, Kaep should be allowed to start. He should lead until the Niners fail to score. Eventually, the most effective QB will play the most. It would reward success, and punish failure.
    I do not know what they are afraid of, since the protesting is continuing. Kaep is the only player being blackballed, so that is giving the NFL a big black eye, and elevating his plight into the Martyr status.
    If Jed wants to act with class, he should stop being afraid of a tweet, and stop acting in a mean, vain, vindictive and petty manner.
    If Lynch wants to change the culture, he should welcome competition and players need to merit their promotions. They need to treat players better, and act in a manner in which they will receive praise, not criticism.
    KS needs to be honest with himself. He is not a God, and he is not infallible. The 0-4 start proves that. KS needs to make honest assessments, and not be afraid to ask for help. Kaep could bail him out, if only he will let him. With all the other improvements on the team, Kaep has a good chance to lead them to victory. KS can either be rigid, or flexible. Rigid, and just expect more losing, Flexible, and they may turn things around.

      1. I tend to repeat myself, because then I will imprint those words into your psyche.
        Soon, some poster will parrot them, making my job even easier.
        Ad nauseum….. you mean the screeds against Kaep? Yes, I am sick of the lies and smears. I would much rather talk about the Niners winning, and think Kaep would give them the best chance to win.

        1. Seb sez : ..

          ….”Yes, I am sick of the lies and smears.
          I would much rather talk about the Niners winning,
          and think Kaep would give them the best chance to win……”

          really ? … h-mmm …
          I never would have guessed .. that was the reason for
          your never ending mantra !

          Challenge for ya …

          How long can you stand … NOT .. mentioning
          Kaep ?? …

          I bet you can’t do it for an entire thread !!

          (let alone for two or three threads)

          But here’s something to cheer you up
          in the meantime … =>


          1. I did not bring up Kaep. Grant wrote about him in his article.
            Other posters keep bringing up Kaep and engaging me, so I feel perfectly comfortable talking about him.
            Maybe if they stop the lies and smears, I will talk about other things, like the deficient game management and preparations.

  22. Kaep….I used to deride the published praise that was based on the fact “he beat the Rams”. But I would take anyone who can beat the Rams right about now. Except Gabberts. Gotta say No Never on Gabberts. Kaep beat the Rams. Hoyer did not. May God strike me with lightening….

  23. How many games would we of won , minus the penalties . We as a team got hit with some calls that weren’t even there . Two offensive PI calls , that should of been TDs . Questionable refereeing at best .

    CJ just not ready yet . Probably get to see him after mid-year . That appearance , might be for ks evaluation of him . Remember how he brought cousins up . Behind rg3 . Ran that horse right into the ground . ( Put him back out there ,before he was ready . Imo .) But looks like he slow playing CJB . That’s probably a good thing .

  24. “Didn’t we learn our lesson when we ran Alex Smith out of town?”

    @Grant …..Who is WE?

    you mean you and your articles on how ……

    “Jim Harbaugh deserves the highest praise for benching Alex Smith and starting Colin Kaepernick.

    It would have been easy for Harbaugh to hand the starting quarterback job back to Alex Smith after he returned from his concussion. Very few experts would have criticized Harbaugh for that conservative, timid move. After all, Smith is the fourth-highest rated quarterback in the NFL, and he’s a veteran and he’s a winner.

    Harbaugh didn’t make the safe decision. He made a bold decision, an unprecedented decision, and the right decision.”

    turned out to be the WRONG decision

    1. Alex would be confronted with the same situation. Alex Smith would also be incapable of stopping the opposition from rushing for 200 yards per game.
      Alex would not thrive after Iupati, Gore, Boone, Crabtree fled this dumpster fire.

  25. We all agree they will draft a QB next year.

    What’s the point of not playing CJ? …….Let’s see what he can do now…….

    Maybe he could be our future back up QB……….

    I say play the rookie now…….

  26. Grant…I agree. I get fans are down on Hoyer, but to be fair, the inconsistent offense is the cumulative result of too many mistakes from a lot of players. Holding calls have killed drives, and in last Sunday’s game in Arizona, it cost a TD that could well have won the game. Dropped passes are another drive killer. Hoyer’s missed on some throws, but he’s also had way too many dropped and/or receivers aren’t where he’s anticipating they’ll be. Fans have to remember, this is largely (almost 70% of the roster) a new team and it’s going to take some time before Coach’s intricate offense clicks. I feel they’re getting close to being a much better offense. Tomlinson’s played at least decently since being inserted into the starting OL. Trent Brown’s become a much better pass blocker. Kilgore & Fusco have struggled, especially in pass protection. Throwing Beathard out there isn’t really fair to Hoyer or CJ right now. If Hoyer’s struggling when they go into their bye week, then Coach might make a move. He feels they’re about to start clicking, though, and we fans should respect that and have some patience.

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