When the Cleveland Browns wheeled and dealt all over the place in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft to get Johnny Manziel No. 22 overall, everyone immediately penciled him in as the team’s starting quarterback. Despite the fact Browns owner Jimmy Haslam insisted Manziel was the backup, the common notion was that Manziel was the man. Now it appears the Browns might be smarter than they look; they named Brian Hoyer their starting quarterback for training camp.
The report on Thursday included a quote by new Browns coach Mike Pettine that read: “Brian is securely ahead of [Manziel] right now. But we will compete and we’ll decide.”
Judging by the variety of reports and what little practice film was reeled to the public, Manziel didn’t exactly set the woods on fire during the Browns’ OTAs. There were murmurs that he was having trouble learning the playbook and then reports of him throwing a lot of “rookie interceptions” during team drills. The problem with those reports is they’re standard; rookie signal-callers are supposed to go through growing pains.
Thus, the Browns are wise if they truly are leaving Hoyer atop the depth chart, at least for the time being. The young gunslinger won all three games he started in 2013 before a torn ACL ended his season. Had he not gone down with the injury, Cleveland could have ended up with at least a .500 record, and probably better, which may have resulted in the team not drafting Manziel at all.
Although the Browns have a long way to go before naming a Week 1 starter, it at least appears now as though they are playing it smart and sticking with the guy who was quickly turning around their franchise last year before he got hurt.