Brian Hoyer may not be the long-term solution at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers and possibly expendable in the near future, but at this moment, he’s invaluable. Kyle Shanahan’s system isn’t exactly the easiest one to learn and given the youth of this team, the last thing that offense needs is a signal caller trying to put everything together right along with them.
Hoyer is taking advantage of the opportunity and experience to try and get everyone on the same page with Shanahan’s system and step into the leadership role that he’s being offered. The work that Hoyer is offering for the team well justifies the price tag he has, even if he’s commanding the offense for a short while. It will get things going much, much quicker when you have a quarterback who isn’t stumbling around the field along with the other 10 guys in formation. Hoyer won’t, he’s not only done Shanahan’s system, but he had his best year as a pro in that system.
Hoyer had his first meeting with the media following the start of the offseason workout program and talked about his new leadership role and how he’s trying to ease into a new group of guys that are going to depend on him to describe all this lingo from the playbook.
Is this the first opportunity you’ve had to look at the playbook today?
Yeah, it’s basically the same stuff I did in Cleveland so I went back over my old Cleveland stuff. I always keep a filing cabinet in my house and always store that stuff. So I’ve been looking that over and then today to get back into meetings and stuff like that.
Any surprises in this playbook?
No, very similar. Some of the terminology has changed. I think every year, systems grow. So there’s a few things that are different but I think the core of what I used to do in Cleveland is still the core here.
So is it built more around you? Are you Matt Ryan like here?
No, I think, like I said, each year our system evolves. I’m talking about the core terminology, formations; we haven’t even gotten the plays yet. We’re talking formations; just where to get people lined up, I’m trying to help those guys with that and still kind of relearn it myself, but, for me—like I said the core—the way you call the play, the way you line up, those are very similar to what I did in Cleveland.
Players who played under Kyle Shanahan, every position group, maybe the exception the offensive line, how much is that familiarity, how much of that is going to help you guys learn the offense?
Yeah, I think hopefully that helps us help those guys, the new guys that have never played for Kyle before. For me, at the quarterback position, you’ve got [Tim] Hightower who played for him at the running back position, Logan Paulson who played at tight end, Pierre [Garcon]. Like you said, those positions, we’ve gotta be the ones to help those guys come along quickly. Fact of the matter is, we practice in two weeks. We have our minicamp before the draft and we want to hit the ground running when that comes along. I look at it as part of my responsibility to help those guys out.
Terminology and the winding group of play calls, is it one of the more complex offenses that you’ve learned.
Yeah, it’s right up there. I’ve played in just about every system now. It’s comparable to others. It just depends on the play. There’s playcalls in every system that are going to be long. I think a lot of it has been made over the years about his terminology and all those things, but it’s something that I’ve done before so I feel comfortable stepping right back in day one and listening to what we just listened to in meetings and picking it up right where I left off.
You dealt with him [Kyle Shanahan] as a coordinator, how did he come across as a head coach differently today?
I think the thing with Kyle is, when you go from coordinator to head coach, I had to deal with that with too with Bill O’Brien in Houston there’s definitely, you have to take more ownership—you’re not just talking to an offense you’re talking to an entire team. And Kyle, it’s what he’s worked so hard for, it’s really what he’s born for. Learning from his dad, you saw him coach, and then coaching on his way up to this. I mean he came here like it was nothing and was very head coach-like. To me, it’s exciting for me, because it’s the first time I can be with him in a football setting. We’ve gotten to see each other over the past couple of weeks since I signed here, but to get back into that football mode with him and hear him talk football, it was really exciting.
Try to do the first day of school here and you’re coming in as the starting quarterback. What kind of tone did you want to set and what did you try to do today with your teammates?
I think today is try to meet as many people as you can. For me, other than the guys I walked in here with and sat up here with you guys about a month ago and met, , that day the free agent guys. Other than I think Garrett Celek, that was really the only other guy coming in here—because we played in college together—that I knew, so I tried to go around, introduce myself, meet as many people as you can, try to put a name with the face. Obviously there’s a lot of players here, I know their name, but when I see them, they have a helmet on. You’re getting to meet people and try to reach out to as many as you can and do that the next couple of weeks and when it comes to the football aspect of it is, like I said, having knowledge of the system is try and help those other guys who are getting ready for that mini camp in two weeks.
Have you had contact [with Matt Barkley] as far as learning or teaching him schooling him.
For sure and now that we’re here together and we’re going through the same meetings and stuff, obviously me having experience in the system and I want him to learn just as fast as I can too.
This feels like a totally different team. Expectations maybe closer to 8-8 this year?
That’s hard for me to speak on because I wasn’t here last year. This is just the first day. To me, the biggest thing right now is learning peoples names and trying to put it to their face. We’re going to come in here, I think Kyle set the tone, of coming in here and working our butts off. That’s what it’s going to take. Obviously everybody knows the result of last year here, it’s our job to not let that happen again, so, it starts day one with the workouts, the meetings, and you just build on that day after day.