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Manziel could be closing gap on Hoyer


In today’s NFL, the presumption has become that a first-round rookie quarterback will play right away.  This year, each of the three franchises that devoted a Thursday night pick to a quarterback has tried to tap the brakes.

But the destination that is Week One arrives soon.  Even more immediately, teams have to decide whether to put those rookies at risk during preseason games behind backup offensive lines — against opposing backup defenders looking to make a name for themselves, perhaps by flattening a budding superstar.

In Cleveland, where an effort to curtail Johnny Manziel’s off-field activities probably has influenced the attempt to humble him behind Brian Hoyer, the urgency to put the best possible team on the field could be accelerating the timetable for Manziel’s elevation to the top of the depth chart.  As explained by Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, Manziel seems to be closing the gap on Hoyer after less than two weeks of training camp.

Manziel flashed some of his backyard style during a Saturday scrimmage in LeBron’s hometown of Akron, and coach Mike Pettine strongly hinted that prior impressions that the team’s quarterback competition may be tilted toward Hoyer may have been inaccurate.

“When camp began, Brian was the ones because we had to put somebody out there with the ones,” Pettine said Saturday, overlooking the rep-splitting approach that the Vikings have used with rookie Teddy Bridgewater.  “But they were truly competing against each other, and at some point we will mix the units. I think that it’s all part of our evaluation process.”

The process includes getting the veterans to buy in to the choice to ride with Johnny Football.  Two years ago, the decision to make Russell Wilson the starter in Seattle represented public acknowledgement of what the players knew privately.  In Cleveland, where guys like Joe Thomas are comparing Hoyer to Tom Brady, it could be a tougher sell.

Ultimately, that could be the challenge for a coaching staff and/or front office and/or ownership that didn’t trade up from No. 26 to No. 22 to acquire a clipboard holder.  Surely, they want Manziel to play.  Before that can happen, the players have to want him, too.

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80 Responses to “Manziel could be closing gap on Hoyer”
  1. bonnovi says: Aug 3, 2014 10:05 AM

    Cue “Jaws” theme music…

  2. erock27 says: Aug 3, 2014 10:09 AM

    Woukd like to see him start and bring some life to this franchise

  3. brownsmakemecrazy says: Aug 3, 2014 10:13 AM

    if only the dumb Browns and their intellectually challenged GM would have gotten either QB some WRs to throw to

  4. freddiec8 says: Aug 3, 2014 10:13 AM

    The job was never Hoyer to lose it was always Johnny from the start. The Browns are just like any other NFL team they want to rush the first round pick in the lineup before he’s ready.

  5. xsherr says: Aug 3, 2014 10:14 AM

    The Browns demise continues.

  6. lehooper says: Aug 3, 2014 10:15 AM

    I been to a few practices, have not seen anything special from either. 6-10

  7. nyyjetsknicks says: Aug 3, 2014 10:16 AM

    What does Strahan have to do with this?

  8. thereisfootballwestofjersey says: Aug 3, 2014 10:16 AM

    Johnny will save the NFL. He is the Messiah

  9. uglydingo says: Aug 3, 2014 10:19 AM

    Would you prefer to drive a new Lamborghini or a 2010 Nissan Altima?

  10. jimmysee says: Aug 3, 2014 10:21 AM

    Future Brett Favre?

  11. redandgoldhitman52 says: Aug 3, 2014 10:26 AM

    i think johnny manziel will be a great qb in the NFL. i see him winning the division , getting a 1st rd bye as a 2nd seed (broncos get 1st seed) ultimately getting to the superbowl only to lose to the 49ers. johnny manziel has a bright future ahead of him.

  12. rhinojr says: Aug 3, 2014 10:26 AM

    Really? He will crash and burn… Hoyer should start especially if people are comparing him to Brady. The guys deserves the start.

  13. tinbender2000 says: Aug 3, 2014 10:28 AM

    On one hand you have a guy that teammates compare to Tom Brady. On the other hand you have a skinny kid who hangs out with Justin Biber, and is stupid enough to get his picture taken rolling up a bill in a Las Vegas lavatory. Wonder which one the Browns will start?

  14. dlw492 says: Aug 3, 2014 10:29 AM

    Who didn’t see this coming? He was your first round pick

  15. kwgator says: Aug 3, 2014 10:36 AM

    The Browns are a 6 win team either way

  16. GenoAtkinswillnotbestopped says: Aug 3, 2014 10:37 AM

    He could be, but he’s not.

  17. twelsh36446 says: Aug 3, 2014 10:38 AM

    Manziel’s mouth will alienate him from his team. His play isn’t going to work in the NFL. He will get smashed like a bug.

  18. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Aug 3, 2014 10:42 AM

    The Browns play the Steelers in Week 01. I hope to hell the Browns trot Manziel out there. How grand that would be.

  19. thegenoatkinsdiet says: Aug 3, 2014 10:45 AM

    The Jaws theme would work, but I hear clown music as the sound bed to this movie.

  20. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Aug 3, 2014 10:46 AM

    Cleveland Brown players on both sides of the ball have publicly come out, by name and anonymously, all unanimously supporting Hoyer over Manziel.

    This is looking more and more like a dysfunctional dumpster fire hatching before our eyes.

  21. dmlonghorn says: Aug 3, 2014 10:51 AM

    3 of 8 for 14 yards.. watch out Hoyer!

  22. corvusrex96 says: Aug 3, 2014 10:54 AM

    As a ravens fan I would rather see Manziel the QB of the browns than Hoyer.

  23. pacodawg says: Aug 3, 2014 10:56 AM

    I’m no scout but here is what I know. Hoyer is a career journeyman, cut by 3 teams and has 7 career wins as a starter. Heck, Jon Skelton beat him out in Arizona. My gut tells me all the coaches and gm’s weren’t wrong about hoyer. Manziel better be the starter.

  24. dragonflypack says: Aug 3, 2014 11:07 AM

    It sure helped and humbled Aaron Rodgers in GB to sit behind Favre for 3 years before starting and leading the Packers. I think this blue print would do wonders for Johnny and the Browns to follow.

  25. pgilbert15303 says: Aug 3, 2014 11:07 AM

    Messiah Blozenzeiel ? Good God. Stick with your original Messiah Tebow.

  26. buffaloisadumpsterandtheirfansaremorons says: Aug 3, 2014 11:15 AM

    This kid is going to be a stud!

  27. fiverings37 says: Aug 3, 2014 11:18 AM

    Could be? C’mon. you KNOW he is starting in week 1. Way too much invested for him not to.

  28. restorativejusticeprogram says: Aug 3, 2014 11:21 AM

    Closing the gap?

    Why, has Hoyer been seen rolling up dollar bills in the washrooms of nightclubs too?

  29. doctorrustbelt says: Aug 3, 2014 11:22 AM

    The “Great” Brian Hoyer (2013 season):

    Game #1: 68 QB rating – 55% completions

    Game #2: 103 QB rating – 65% completions

    Game #3: 69 QB rating – 50% completions

  30. Most of you would be rapturous if your team won just one measly Super Bowl. We won it once, then again, and again, and again, yet again, oh, look, another one. You shrivel in our shadow. We define greatness. We built the NFL. We are the Steelers. says: Aug 3, 2014 11:23 AM


  31. 6ball says: Aug 3, 2014 11:24 AM

    Wouldn’t it be prudent to see Hoyer and Manziel in action against NFL competition during the 4 preseason games before anointing a starter?

  32. couchbasher says: Aug 3, 2014 11:24 AM

    Really? I see no evidence of that. Shanahan offense won’t help

  33. couchbasher says: Aug 3, 2014 11:26 AM

    Shannahan offense blows!

  34. gritzblitz66 says: Aug 3, 2014 11:37 AM

    He went 3-7 for 14 yds in the scrimmage. How is that closing the gap?

  35. TheWizard says: Aug 3, 2014 11:50 AM

    Manziel could be closing gap on Hoyer

    Except actual game experience.

    If it’s true the veterans are behind Hoyer, they’ll probably have to give him an opportunity to fail before the kid comes in. That stops the locker room grumbling.

  36. vikesr4reel says: Aug 3, 2014 11:50 AM

    Closing the gap or closing the bar?

  37. TheDPR says: Aug 3, 2014 11:54 AM

    He’s Mike Vick light. He’ll bring some excitement but no championships.

  38. gfan8611 says: Aug 3, 2014 11:58 AM

    If the don’t anoint him starter before training camp ends he’ll be named starter after Hoyer’s first bad game regardless if it’s the right decision or not.

  39. bengalskuta82 says: Aug 3, 2014 12:00 PM

    Both QBs aren’t anything special at all.
    And for Joe Thomas to compare Hoyer to Brady is laughable. Joe Thomas never played with Brady. So how the heck does he know how Brady operates in the huddle? And also it is unfair to Hoyer to be compared with a future HOF.

  40. fitzhughave says: Aug 3, 2014 12:01 PM

    He needs to close his yap.

  41. qdog112 says: Aug 3, 2014 12:02 PM

    I heard Manziel was 3/7 for 14 yards passing. Must’ve been a Strahorn size gap.

  42. SAV says: Aug 3, 2014 12:09 PM

    If Johnny starts, becomes a great player from the beginning, will you haters be running to draft him? I mean 300 yards with 2 passing tds and 100yards running is good money in fantasy ain’t it?!

  43. bigblu73 says: Aug 3, 2014 12:16 PM

    Comparing Hoyer to Brady?? Puhhhhhleeezzze! Hoyer is a career backup that “flashed” competence last season for the 1st time! Certainly no reason why Manziel shouldn’t atleast get an opportunity to show whether or not he’s ready/up for the challenge. Not as if Manziel did anything extraordinary in college to warrant a fair shot, right? Oops……. wait a minute, he was the 1st Freshman Heisman trophy winner and tore a new one in the hardest division in college football. The guy has been a complete success on every level he’s been at, until proven otherwise he should definitely get a honest opportunity.

  44. jimsnchz says: Aug 3, 2014 12:34 PM

    I hope Manziel starts just for the entertainment value. Don’t beleive he will be successful. Scrambling and improvising against Sam Houston State is way different that the precision required in he NFL. Steelers will crush him in week 1-

  45. 4512dawg4512 says: Aug 3, 2014 12:42 PM

    Such a good QB class next year but they hit the panic button and drafted little J Football. Only the Browns…

  46. brownsmakemecrazy says: Aug 3, 2014 12:46 PM

    Hoyer threw 3 INTs against one of the worst defenses in Minnesota. he did lead the game winning drive so that has to count for something. Beat Cincy 17-6. media gives him credit for winning the Buffalo game because he started. he didnt win the Buffalo game. they were down 10-0 when he left the game due to tearing his ACL.

    i havent seen enough to annoint him the starter. its not like hes tearing up training camp. his stats are bad, Johnnys are worse.

    that said i think they should have Hoyer start the year and the first 3 games. they will be 0-3 and head into the bye week. have Johnny start week 5.

  47. fissels says: Aug 3, 2014 12:54 PM

    I’m anxious to see what the kid, Johnny Football can do. The Browns surely need him to fire up their franchise

  48. niles6590 says: Aug 3, 2014 1:03 PM

    4512dawg4512 says: Aug 3, 2014 12:42 PM

    Such a good QB class next year but they hit the panic button and drafted little J Football. Only the Browns…
    Panic button? Hardly!! The gave up practically nothing to draft Manziel and with his potential up-side and the fact the Browns needed a QB, it was/is worth a shot. Don’t forget, the Browns could have 2 picks in the top 10 of the draft next year and that’s more than enough ammo to trade up, maybe to the 1st pick if neither Manziel or Hoyer work out.

  49. MikeisWise says: Aug 3, 2014 1:03 PM

    He went 3-7 with a sack, penalty, incompletion, 5-yd scramble.

    Uh…..please start him. Funny lil running QBs get whomped in the AFCN.

  50. radar8 says: Aug 3, 2014 1:05 PM

    Hoyer is the better QB. He has NFL experience and was making great strides before he got injured.

    Manziel is used to playing against future accountants and engineers. Succeeding in college ball has nothing to do with succeeding in the pros.
    The Browns should start Hoyer and let Manziel sit for a season or two. They they might get something going. To start Manziel out of the gate is to ask for failure.

  51. 941bucs says: Aug 3, 2014 1:06 PM

    Is hoyer the same hight as tom brady or something?

  52. radar8 says: Aug 3, 2014 1:11 PM

    Going straight from college and immediately starting in the NFL, with success, is very rare.

    College records don’t mean too much. On every team, you have a few pro-level players and the rest are future accountants, engineers and liberal arts students.

    Winning against college students is far easier than playing against an NFL team that is full of players that are all better than the best on your college team.

    Manziel may be good, but they should give him the best possible chance by making him sit behind Hoyer for at least one season.

  53. foofooface says: Aug 3, 2014 1:25 PM

    Really looking fwd to see him getting his ‘welcome to the nfl moment’ vs the Lions next wkend, kids gonna go down like a sack of potatoes

  54. MikeisWise says: Aug 3, 2014 1:56 PM

    lol i guess we can pretend for your sake that the Lions are an elite D or something buddy

  55. blindmansaidwhat says: Aug 3, 2014 1:58 PM

    Isn’t this the same Brian Hoyer that couldn’t beat out Charlie Batch as a backup to Ben Roethlisberger??? Sorry but Hoyer is NOT a long term answer at QB. Play Manziel and sink or swim with him in 2014. The Browns have 2 1st round picks in 2015 to take best QB available if Maziel experiment fails…

  56. musiccitymiracle2 says: Aug 3, 2014 2:14 PM

    One really important thing to remember. JFF was an awesome college player, but never good enough to lift his good team to a title. This is not Peyton Manning that for years elevated Indy and is now doing the same in Denver. JFF is simply another high-potential rookie QB. The team’s success will depend more on the team than the QB. I would go with Hoyer for game 1. If he wins, all is good even with JFF on the bench. If Hoyer loses, then time for a change. Nothing to be gained by rushing Johnny into the lineup. If he loses, then what?

  57. urbusted2 says: Aug 3, 2014 2:16 PM

    First let me clear up the media’s account of what Thomas was saying about Hoyer. He was comparing him to Brady in his approach to the game and his preparation. He didn’t say that Hoyer reminded him of Brady with his skills. Second, many back ups have become good or even better starters. Brady himself was a back up. Lastly, from what I’ve seen in training camp, Hoyer is ahead of Manziel at this point. I stress at this point. A preseason game has yet to be played. One week of training camp isn’t going to decide anything.

  58. afcdomination says: Aug 3, 2014 2:22 PM

    Jason Campbell played at times as well as hoyer did in that small stretch. he just didn’t get burned by D.Bess and his hands

    Hoyer hurt himself sliding. I can never put my faith in a guy who does that(you darn right I consider it to be a total display of not playing enough football)

    next thing you will tell us is that Bridgewater is potentially going to take Matt Cassel’s job by week 5. this is craziness. first round qb’s unseating mediocre wanna be starters. wowza

  59. chiadam says: Aug 3, 2014 2:31 PM

    He’ll probably start the season as the starting QB, but there’s no way he finishes the season as the starter. His style will get him broken in half in the NFL. This is not like Newton, Roethlisberger, or even Rodgers running around to extend plays. They’re all large men. Manziel looks like a JV tennis player.

  60. clashpoint says: Aug 3, 2014 2:33 PM

    Although I’d love to troll here, I’ll play it straight. As a Steelers fan – the Browns’ opening week opponent – I’d much rather see Manziel than Hoyer as the Browns qb. I like the match up of Dick LeBeau against a rookie quarterback, he’s been pretty good over the years against those.

    If Manziel ends up the starting quarterback by the end if the year, so be it. Hoyer’s injury history doesn’t shine very much. That said, if you want to shoot for the playoffs this year, I think you go with the vet to start the year.

  61. imabeliever says: Aug 3, 2014 2:36 PM


    You are incorrect…

    Thomas had been in the huddle with Brady for 7 Pro Bowls now… I think he knows how Brady plays.

  62. bucsorbust says: Aug 3, 2014 2:46 PM

    What? The article says “Manziel flashed some of his backyard style during a Saturday scrimmage” and then suggest he’s being elevated early to starter to put the best team on the field? Backyard style for the NFL? Hmmm.

    Cleveland is playing a dangerous game, especially if Manziel is not flat outperforming Hoyer.

    Once the Browns start Johnny, they can’t go back to Hoyer. To do so is public admission that Cleveland again drafted a bust with #22 overall.

  63. JohnHannah73 says: Aug 3, 2014 2:47 PM

    The Browns most recent QB drafts….Brady Quinn, Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden and now Johnny Manziel. I think the Browns should worry about building a team instead destroying another young QB.

  64. youreallmorons says: Aug 3, 2014 3:12 PM

    Cant wait to see Manziel fail

  65. dryheaveone says: Aug 3, 2014 3:31 PM

    Manziel product of today’s mass media (including twitter) this guy has gotten more HYPE than Elway-Peyton Manning -Vick etc..etc..etc.. Do you really think he’s THAT good?….. B-U-S-T

  66. rams1999 says: Aug 3, 2014 3:37 PM

    When they drafted him, it was to start him no matter how good Hoyer would have been in camp. The owner drafted made them draft him. Its not the coaches choice. A sign of weakness for coaching staff. All this talk of Manziel has to beat him out was LIP SERVICE. Just 3 day s ago he supposedly was struggling. All of a sudden he has made strides. Lol. The timing was off by Browns by struggling one fay and closing In on starting. So obvious.
    This is gonna be fun seeing Tebow, I mean the Manzile run around and simply struggle.
    P.S. Sorry Tebow for comparing an immature attention seeker to you who was a humble person. Manziel the opposite. I mean, lol, hanging with Bieber. A classy guy like Tebow ain’t that dingy.

  67. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Aug 3, 2014 3:49 PM

    The top of the schedule is pretty tough for the Browns so just start Hoyer and by mid season fans will be ready to roll out the rookie Manziel.

  68. wkdblc52 says: Aug 3, 2014 4:27 PM

    There’s other QB’s in this league besides this silver spooned little rich kid to write about

    About time Bortles got some pub

  69. oldcracker says: Aug 3, 2014 4:39 PM

    This is not a knock on Mike Pettine but, I think the bigger question will be on the Browns coaching staff, over who starts at QB. This is Pettine’s first gig as a HC, and Shanahan doesn’t have his dad around. Both of these guys will be making their “bones” with this team. And, keep in mind, this is NOT Ray Farmer’s coaching staff. This is what was left after the Boner & Dumbardi circus.

    Considering the learning curve for the coaching staff, I believe Hoyer at least provides some, albeit limited, experience at QB.

    I figure the Browns at 6-10, and with a little luck, 7-9. This is not a put-down, just a realistic prediction. The worst that can happen is the Browns wind up with 2 top 5 picks next year….and ANOTHER coaching regime. 😦

  70. simonator917 says: Aug 3, 2014 4:44 PM

    What does the homeless guy think?

  71. jetblackninja says: Aug 3, 2014 5:33 PM

    Let the Ryan Leaf 2 era begin!

  72. pauliewalnutsthe2nd says: Aug 3, 2014 6:23 PM

    I hope to God he gets in that first pre-season game while Suh is still in. Would LOVE to see him get is arse leveled to give him a reality check.

    So many guys are sick of his crap if goes into the season or even the first few games he’s going to get hurt as defenses are going to attack him like no other QB. I wish no injury on the kid, just hard pounding, but I don’t think he will make it out of his first season anywhere but on the injured reserve list.

  73. margegundersonbrainerd says: Aug 3, 2014 6:38 PM

    Excellent insight, clashpoint, and kudos for your all-too-rare in sports forums objective comments.

    The little twit has already shown an appalling lack of judgement and common sense; I don’t see him earning much of anything in the NFL when he’s so far behind the curve in the important intangibles.

    However, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to dismiss any QB because he’s “only” playing against the 2s, not the 1s – in that situation, the guy has only the 2s guarding him on the line, and only the 2s to catch his passes, so obviously not a reasonable comparison.

  74. codythao35 says: Aug 3, 2014 7:42 PM

    The only way he’s closing to is retirement due to another bust drafting by the Browns.

  75. mikeinthevine says: Aug 3, 2014 7:45 PM

    It’s funny. The national media is so hot for Manziel to start. The local news media in Cleveland isn’t reporting it this way.

  76. huckleberry1110 says: Aug 3, 2014 8:22 PM

    Hoyer and Brady have beautiful wives. That’s where the comparison ends.

  77. iamdinguskhan says: Aug 3, 2014 8:25 PM

    All joking aside I hope this kid plays like he did in college it would make for some great football to watch…highly unlikely though he don’t take it seriously enough.

  78. mogogo1 says: Aug 3, 2014 10:58 PM

    It’s clear they feel the need to start a first round pick, but they do him zero favors by complimenting lackluster play. He already has too high an opinion of himself and raving over 3 of 7 isn’t going to improve things.

  79. bigblu73 says: Aug 4, 2014 3:45 PM

    radar8 says:
    Aug 3, 2014 1:05 PM
    Hoyer is the better QB. He has NFL experience and was making great strides before he got injured.

    Manziel is used to playing against future accountants and engineers. Succeeding in college ball has nothing to do with succeeding in the pros.
    The Browns should start Hoyer and let Manziel sit for a season or two. They they might get something going. To start Manziel out of the gate is to ask for failure.
    Matt Flynn had NFL experience too! Playing the Rook Seemed to work out alright for the Seahawks, just like in Seattle the Browns should make ZERO snap judgements and allow the “process” to dictate who starts Week 1.

    Please explain to me what Career Journeyman Brian Hoyer has done that has proven that he as you put it “Hoyer is the better QB”?

    You mean the guy that got beat out by John Skelton in AZ and got cut by the Pats to keep Mallett should start in front of a true BALLER?

    Proof positive that things in Cleveland are so bad the fans don’t even realize when they’ve been blessed with an upgrade!!!

  80. bigblu73 says: Aug 4, 2014 4:03 PM

    bucsorbust says:
    Aug 3, 2014 2:46 PM

    Cleveland is playing a dangerous game, especially if Manziel is not flat outperforming Hoyer.

    Once the Browns start Johnny, they can’t go back to Hoyer. To do so is public admission that Cleveland again drafted a bust with #22 overall.
    I believe the exact opposite. Cleveland is playing a dangerous game if Hoyer is not “flat out outperforming” Manziel and they start him anyway.

    And your second assumption can not be farther from the truth!!! Of course you could go back to Hoyer, if Manziel doesn’t seem to transition well! Thats the epitome of what a career journeyman does!!! He Plays whenever his number is called and understands that the team does not view them as a “Franchise QB”! Its not as if Hoyer is a true veteran incumbent starter, he started 3 games last season!!!! 3 GAMES.

    Case in Point, Nick Foles started the final 6 games of the 2012 season. By your logic that would mean that there’s no way he would have to compete in a open competition the following season, right? And starting Vick then putting Foles in(due to injury) could never work right? Lol 27-2 is all Foles did. Seemed to work out just fine!

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