After the Cleveland Browns named veteran Brian Hoyer the starting quarterback for the 2014 NFL season, there were plenty of people who were quick to point out that Johnny Manziel could still play at some point this year. In fact, some members of the media have gone as far as to predict when Manziel will become the starter. Browns head coach Mike Pettine attempted to calm the waters by suggesting that Manziel may not see the field this season.
“The season is so long,” Pettine said, according to CBS Sports. “So much can happen, and we don’t want … Brian looking over his shoulder thinking, ‘Hey, I make one bad throw and I’m out.’ But over time, if you feel you need to make a change — it’s not just at quarterback, it’ll be at other positions as well. You have guys that you have penciled in that you hope can be that guy for you for the year, but that rarely works out in the league. Time will only tell.
“You could see a scenario where he (Manziel) doesn’t play this year, and then there are other scenarios that are absolutely possible as well. It’s hard to tell.”
Who would have guessed Pettine could take a straight forward question and return a complicated answer?
The first-year head coach has consistently made contradictory statements when referring to Hoyer and Manziel during training camp, which is something that probably will not change throughout the season. So basically, Hoyer is the starter and will be given a lengthy leash, but Manziel might start if Hoyer does not get the job done. At the same time, there is a scenario in which Manziel rides the bench the entire season, which completely depends on what Hoyer accomplishes as the starter. See, that was not so complicated after all.
What Pettine may not realize is he has only experienced the tip of the controversy iceberg. Cleveland’s first three games are against the Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Ravens. That has 0-3 start written all over it. At that point, the Cleveland air waves will be occupied by angry fans demanding Manziel get the nod.
For now, Hoyer is the man and will be given the opportunity to prove Pettine correct. Manziel would prefer to sit on the bench for one season anyways because he believes it will help in his developmental process, which is certainly true. Not to mention, he is not mature enough to handle a starting role. This course of action only continues if the Browns can string some wins together in the first few weeks of the season.