Don’t Read Much into Johnny Manziel Taking Reps with Cleveland Browns Starters Today

By Casey Drottar
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Well, at least fans can get excited about the fact the latest news regarding Cleveland Browns rookie QB Johnny Manziel actually involves football this time.

After going through the majority of the camp playing with the second-team offense, Manziel actually spent today working with the ones. This of course shook the national media’s world, leading to speculation the reported “gap” between the rookie and veteran Brian Hoyer is closing. However, just what exactly can Cleveland fans take from this latest headline coming from camp?

Absolutely nothing.

Speculate all you want, Manziel playing with the expected starters likely has minimal impact regarding his position in the QB competition with Hoyer. In fact, coach Mike Pettine said as much during the post-practice media scrum.

“Just part of the plan that we’ve had,” Pettine said. “We’ll go back and forth.”

Of course, this won’t stop anyone from trying to figure out the significance of this sudden, one-day promotion.

Some wonder if this has to do with Manziel’s performance during Saturday’s scrimmage at the team’s family day. While he started off a little poorly, he eventually fell into a rhythm, throwing a touchdown to tight end Gary Barnidge which was incorrectly called incomplete. Does this mean he’s catching up with Hoyer, getting closer to winning the starting QB spot?

Maybe, but it’s not nearly as significant as some people are making it out to be. It’s all about due diligence at this point. How can you pass this off as a QB competition if Hoyer is the only one getting reps with the first-team offense? If the vet struggles or gets hurt, Manziel will need to have at least some chemistry with the players he’d be working with as a replacement.

It’s also worth noting Manziel really didn’t turn a lot of heads when working with the starters today, throwing a pick, a pass which should’ve been picked off and also failing to score in the two-minute drill session. Hoyer, on the other hand, led his team to a field goal and touchdown.

On top of this, while Pettine didn’t necessarily commit one way or the other when it comes to who will start in this weekend’s preseason opener against the Detroit Lions, he said there was a “more than reasonable chance” Hoyer would get the nod.

Regardless of whatever is said by the talking heads at the four-letter network regarding Manziel’s day with the ones, it all has to be taken with a grain of salt. Hoyer is still leading the QB competition, the team just needs to make sure they let their rookie get a chance to work with the starting unit.

Casey Drottar is a Cleveland sportswriter for Follow him on Twitter @CDrottar19 or “Like” him on Facebook

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