San Francisco 49ers QB Brian Hoyer Has Become Shane Falco

GREENBAY, WI - OCTOBER 20: Quarterback Brian Hoyer
GREENBAY, WI - OCTOBER 20: Quarterback Brian Hoyer /

The San Francisco 49ers get their exhibition season underway and begin the Hoyer era – an era that promises to be short and sweet.

The San Francisco 49ers, after a few incredibly tumultuous seasons that included a lot of drama – and not a lot of winning – have coasted through this offseason quietly and thankfully, drama-free. As the new regime headed by HC Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch has taken hold of the organization, they’ve more or less, been Team Copacetic.

And all of those good vibes the team has been riding this offseason will get their first test when the team takes on Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs to open up their preseason schedule.

This first exhibition game will also mark the beginning of the Brian Hoyer era – an era that, given the looming specter of Kirk Cousins – is likely going to be short and sweet.

And given that context, it’s almost hard to not see Hoyer as the Keanu Reeves character, Shane Falco, in the 2000 film, The Replacements.

San Francisco head man Kyle Shanahan recently gave an interview in which he said all the right things and really talked up his presumptive starting signal caller.

"“You could tell here after going through that process of starting again in training camp, he’s really starting to own it. It’s not about knowing it, I think he’s starting to feel it. (He’s) going through the progressions real fast and playing real sharp. He’s always thrown the ball well and I think he’s playing at a high level right now.”"

That’s a whole lot of platitudes and cliches to throw at a guy. And maybe he even really believes some of it. But Shanahan – not to mention anybody with half a brain, including Hoyer – knows that this isn’t the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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No, this is the start of what will likely be a one-season patch job. A season Shanahan and Lynch expect to be a losing year as they wait for the quarterback they’ve been flirting heavily with and from all indications, ultimately want under center for them – Cousins.

And it’s difficult to blame them Given a choice between Cousins and Hoyer, you’d have to think that ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the people are taking Cousins.

Ever since Cousins got a chance to be a starter, he’s been on fire. In just the last two seasons in Washington, Cousins has completed 68 percent of his passes for 9,083 yards, 54 touchdowns against just 23 interceptions.

In Hoyer’s eight total seasons in the league, he’s managed a completion rate of just over 59 percent for 8,608 yards, 44 touchdowns against 26 interceptions. Perhaps an even more stinging indictment of Hoyer is that in his eight seasons, he’s not come close to winning a regular starting gig.

And this, despite having a chance to win the job in places like Houston and Cleveland – places that don’t exactly have stable quarterback situations.

To his credit, Hoyer is making a good impression on his new teammates and is doing his best to prepare this team like he’s a franchise quarterback. He’s preparing as if he’s going to be the starting quarterback for some time to come – a reality that very likely isn’t going to come to pass. But he’s handling his business.

"“Going through that process and some of those tough times have made Brian a stonger person. He knows how to deal with that stuff, knows how to block it out and not let it affect his game. And since he’s been here he’s been a very confident person. He’s always been that way but I think I’ve see him mature even more. He can handle things like that. I think Brian’s in a real good place, mentally and physically.”"

As nice as Hoyer’s story is though – and it could be even better if he could help the 49ers shatter the incredibly low expectations for them this year – like Shane Falco, he’s only the guy for now. He’s merely keeping the seat warm for the next guy.

And armed with a boatload of cash to throw at him, it seems pretty likely, if not probable, that Cousins will be that next guy – immediately supplanting Hoyer as the starter.

If, for whatever reason, the 49ers aren’t able to land Cousins — which seems unlikely given the mutual love-fest and the mountain of cash they can offer him — San Francisco may roll with Hoyer again. Unless a better option comes along.

Though he’s their guy for now, it seems pretty clear that he’s not their first choice as a signal caller.

It’s unfortunate, but it’s the reality of life in the NFL and there’s a reason Hoyer is a career journeyman backup quarterback and not a regular starter.

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Shanahan’s words, though nice and well-intentioned, ultimately bring to mind a quote from The Replacements. When the character of Eddie Martel comes in to replace Falco, he says:

"“I think it’s terrible what they do to you guys. They make you believe that you’re better than you really are. Then they pull the rug out from under you. The cruelest thing that they can give guys like you… is hope.”"

Hoyer can be comfortable that he’s the guy this season. And unless he completely flames out, this is his team. But in the end, he’s just keeping the seat warm for the guy the team really wants to ride with.