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Jeff Garcia: Brian Hoyer can thrive with 49ers

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Kyle Shanahan's presence in San Francisco brings hope to an offense that scored fewer points than all but five teams in the league last season.

The question is whether one of the most creative play-callers league-wide can turn Brian Hoyer into more than a milquetoast journeyman floating through the Bay Area.

At least one former Niners star passer believes that's exactly what Shanahan will do.

"When he stepped on the field in Cleveland under Shanahan's system, I did like what I saw and how he operated the system," Jeff Garcia told 95.7 The Game on Wednesday. "Now getting a full offseason, a full training camp to be that guy -- a guy who was able to study under Tom Brady in New England -- and take that Shanahan system ... Now it's a matter of him staying healthy and executing the system. I think he's very capable of doing it and taking advantage of this opportunity."

Acknowledging that Hoyer is seen by most as a stopgap, Garcia noted: "Well, so was I. It's all about opportunities in the NFL and taking advantage of those opportunities. ... This is his opportunity to ... take the bull by the horns."

He's far from perfect, but we've seen Hoyer produce in a variety of NFL stops. He completed 67 percent of his throws last season with a 6-to-0 touchdown-to-pick ratio in Chicago. Nobody remembers anything from his Houston run other than a vicious meltdown in the playoffs, but Hoyer tossed 19 touchdowns to just seven picks in 2015, while posting a 91.4 passer rating.

In Cleveland, Hoyer got the Browns off to a surprising 7-4 start under Shanahan, who maximized the Browns' ground game and used Hoyer wisely in a rollout-based attack that helped the quarterback and his receivers compile a league-best 13.7 yards per catch in 2014. The wheels fell of that team down the stretch, but it was proof that Hoyer can operate under his new coach.

Hoyer remains the quintessential journeyman who could very well be forced to compete with Kirk Cousins next summer -- if the Niners choose to pursue the Redskins starter -- or a fresh-faced rookie set to be groomed into the role of a franchise passer. That's a job Hoyer isn't seen fit for long-term, but a solid season in San Francisco will keep him bopping around the league for years to come.

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