The Browns are wrapping up their mandatory minicamp this week, leaving training camp as the next big milestone on the path to the regular season.
It will also bring a temporary end to questions about their quarterback competition, although they are sure to start up again once they report for work this summer. That would be true under any circumstances, but it will be unavoidable after coach Mike Pettine’s closing comments on this portion of the competition left the door open for Johnny Manziel to wind up beating out Brian Hoyer.
Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Pettine said that Hoyer will be the No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart when camp opens, “but I don’t think it’s insurmountable.“
That’s a shift from the earlier updates on how things were playing out in Cleveland. General Manager Ray Farmer said last month that Hoyer was ahead of Manziel by “a substantial margin” and the Browns were making a unified effort to sell Hoyer as the team’s presumed starter. Pettine obviously didn’t alter that scenario, but it’s the biggest signal yet from the team that Manziel could be the starter come Week One.
Everyone will have to wait until July and August to see if Manziel can eliminate whatever’s left of that substantial margin, but it’s never a great idea to bet against quarterbacks drafted in the first round making a quick trip to the starting lineup.