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Battle Red Onion: Tearful Brian Hoyer Admits To Never Learning How To Read NFL Defenses As A Child

Distributing sensationalized rubbish since 2010. More than a month after throwing four interceptions against the Kansas City Chiefs in this year's Wild Card round, Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer opens up about a debilitating childhood setback that has dogged him his whole career.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

HOUSTON -- Houston Texans fans are struggling to pick up the pieces of a 2015 season that was equal parts maddening, encouraging and logic-defying. A humiliating 2-5 start, followed by a thrilling 7-2 rally, was capped off by one of the worst playoff performances by a quarterback in NFL history. The man responsible for that performance (and for much of the roller coaster-quality of the season) is journeyman quarterback Brian Hoyer.

"As a child, I never truly learned how to read an NFL defense," the embattled eighth-year quarterback admitted to reporters this week, claiming that it's held him back his entire life. Growing up near Cleveland, Ohio, Hoyer admitted to never even reading a playbook until well into his twenties.

"Since first grade, the kids around me were talking coverage shells, route concepts and line calls," said Hoyer, 30, wiping a tear. "Can you imagine? All your friends knowing when to throw the curl and when to throw the flat. It's humiliating."

When his parents Axel and Julie Hoyer found out years later that their child had made it so long without properly learning how to instruct his offensive line to pick up a zone blitz, they were baffled. "We feel like we failed him," said Axel, via phone. "As a parent, you think you know everything that's going on with your child... but we had no idea." Julie added that perhaps a lack of sports video games hindered Hoyer's development.

"We should have bought him Tecmo Bowl," she lamented.

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The fundamental ability to differentiate between a Cover 3 shell and Cover 2 man under, Hoyer says, affected more than just his success in the NFL. "It's something that hangs over everything I do," bemoaned the former Michigan State Spartan. "I can't get through a game of "Risk" without getting into a land war in Asia." Hoyer went on to add that everyday obstacles like white picket fences still occasionally baffle him. "I mean, where's the freakin' gate?"

Despite his struggles, Hoyer has carved out himself a healthy NFL career with three different teams.  He wants to encourage parents to make sure their children are getting the proper teachings early in their lives. "Take the time and be a parent, you know? Sit down with your kids and do some good old fashioned film study. Break down their throwing mechanics if you have to," he implored.

"Don't let them grow up not knowing how to properly diagnose a defense and make the right audible like I did."

Hoyer's employer, Bob McNair, was supportive when pressed for comment. "It's a very difficult thing for the kid to admit to, and we're fully behind him for whatever he needs." McNair added that a renewal of Hoyer's contract, which is on its last year, is likely.

"We don't dump a guy at his lowest around here. Texans fans can rest easy that he'll be our quarterback for a long, long time."