For the fans and media the quarterback competition for the Cleveland Browns between Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer is a big story. Yet nothing we have heard from Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine, starting from before the NFL Draft until now, has given any indication that it is an even competition. Both Farmer and Pettine noted it would be tough for a rookie to start in their first year and that both had a preference against it. Now comes an excerpt out of a well done interview by ESPN Cleveland with Pettine that further confirms our thoughts about Hoyer starting:
Q: Why have you set the timetable for naming a starter by the third preseason game?
A: In my mind, I’ve always felt the third preseason game is late. Given our circumstances — some new pieces on the offensive line, new backfield, receiving corps will be potentially one of a committee approach — you want some cohesion. You want those guys to play as much together as possible. There’s no substitute for repetitions together. You start going beyond a certain period of time, and given the amount of time we have to practice, you don’t get that many opportunities. So the sooner you make that decision the better off you are.
Q: It would appear a shorter timetable favors Hoyer.
A: Uh, yeah, given those circumstances, I’d agree with that statement.
It is very tough to read anything else out of this excerpt but that Hoyer is likely to start. The circumstances that Pettine notes in the second question are ones that he values and has put into place, not external ones. The interview is well done in that they go on to discuss where pressure to start Manziel comes from, how the Browns will evaluate Hoyer’s play during the tough 3 game opening schedule and should the fans expect both QBs to be in on some plays.
Grossi’s story, we assume the interview was with Grossi as well, shows a well done interview. Pettine was asked direct questions and provided clarity where he could. He skirted around much of the Josh Gordon issue, but showed that they are preparing to go on without him in the receiving corp, as we covered early today.
How the national media reacts to Manziel not getting the starting job will be interesting. During pre-season games he is likely to make some huge plays with his improvisation skills, while Hoyer is likely to show more steady fundamental quarterbacking. Highlights, and maybe even stats, will likely favor Manziel, but coaches and scouts will likely see Hoyer as clearly in the lead.
What did you expect to happen in this competition? Are you surprised by Pettine’s comments?