One day after their imposed deadline the Cleveland Browns name Brian Hoyer the starting quarterback to open the season. His competition with Johnny Manziel was put to the test on national television on Monday Night Football and each player failed. Hoyer’s struggles seemed mostly physical while Manziel struggled more from a mental perspective. Is that what led to this announcement this morning:
The Browns also released a press release that provided some interesting quotes from Head Coach Mike Pettine regarding the decision.
As we have stated the front office and Pettine have long leaned toward starting Hoyer. “He was the clear leader from the beginning,” Pettine said. “We’ve maintained all along that if it was close, I would prefer to go with the more experienced player. Brian has done a great job in the meeting rooms and with his teammates on the practice field and in the locker room.” Pettine and GM Ray Farmer are staying true to what they have stated since before the draft, right after they drafted Manziel and at the beginning of Training Camp.
As Mark Kay Cabot reported last week, Manziel need to blow Hoyer out of the water in this competition to have a chance to start. He did not do so. His struggles with the playbook, that he noted, as well as the general verbiage, again he noted, has made the transition more difficult for the well hyped college star.
This decision has little impact on Manziel long term. While many believe you only learn in the NFL through time on the field, Manziel’s issues aren’t generally physical. While he is small in stature, he has a good to great arm. His development will come with understanding where receivers should be, when the ball should be out of his hands and how to make adjustments. That learning will come in the film room and from the sidelines for now.
As Pettine has stated in the past, Hoyer is guaranteed the starting job much beyond the first week. Many assume Manziel will take over after the Week 4 bye. That is a big assumption. With the competition over, we expect Hoyer to play much better against the Rams. While the first 3 weeks are tough, they are not impossible. Pettine has also made it clear that the team’s record would not decide if the QB that starts Week 1 continues to start. Hoyer’s performance will.
So why make the decision now? Why not continue to flip the players back and forth? Pettine addressed that as well in the press release, “I think it’s especially good, as an offensive unit, to go out and play and gain cohesion and chemistry,” Pettine said. “That was one of the reasons I wanted to go ahead and make the decision before this third preseason game so that (Hoyer and the rest of the starting offense) could play as a unit for a good chunk of it.”
Hoyer and the starters will likely play into the 3rd quarter on Saturday. Manziel will get time with the backups and either Connor Shaw or Rex Grossman might clean up at the end of the game. The Browns are hoping, as all of us are, to have resolution to the Josh Gordon situation by then as well.
We all get to move forward now. At least until Hoyer throws an INT, loses a game or we get to the bye week. Then this discussion will start all over again.
What do you think of this decision?