In case you hadn’t had enough “Johnny Football” news, we’ve got some more for you. On Friday, Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine said that Tuesday is his target date to name his team’s starting quarterback for Week 1. Pettine says a group consisting of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains and general manager Ray Farmer will have the final say in who wins the team’s starting job.
Johnny Manziel is battling incumbent starter Brian Hoyer for the job and most seem to feel that Hoyer will get the nod. Mike Florio believes owner Jimmy Haslam will also have a say in who starts Week 1, and Florio thinks that favors Manziel. Pettine downplayed the possible influence Haslam would have, but there is no way it won’t be in the back of his mind.
Hoyer will start Cleveland’s second preseason game, when the Browns face the Washington Redskins on Monday night. In the preseason opener against the Detroit Lions, Hoyer completed 6-of-14 passes for 92 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions. Manziel relieved him and completed 7-of-11 passes for 63 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions. He also ran for 27 yards on six carries.
Watching the two guys play, it’s obvious that Hoyer is the more seasoned, safe choice. He knows the offense, can run through his progressions and find the open receiver. Manziel is far more talented and can make things happen with his feet and scrambling ability. But it’s also clear that Manziel tends to lock on to one receiver and if he isn’t open, kind of panics. That has to change if he wants to start this season.
Manziel was also late to a team meeting on Monday, further displaying the immaturity that has followed him since his college days. If he can put the off-field stuff on hold and focus on football, he has a chance to win the starting job. If he doesn’t he could wind up being another cautionary tale.
So who will be the starter for Week 1? The smart money is on Hoyer right now.