The Browns gave quarterback Johnny Manziel first crack with the first team on Monday, but were quick to say that no one should read anything more into that than they read into Brian Hoyer getting those opportunities in previous practices.
One observer isn’t buying the Browns’ line, however. Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will be devising a game plan to stop the Browns in the first week of the regular season and he expects to be dealing with Manziel. It would be the first NFL game for the first-round pick, but LeBeau isn’t expecting an easy time of things.
“I’m expecting Manziel to be the starter. That’s what I’m expecting. What he did in college is not an accident. He did it often enough against good teams,” LeBeau said, via Tom Reed of Cleveland.com. “I think he is going to be a handful for all of us. You watch all his games and he created plays, he made plays, he kept plays alive. He has the ability to see people and the touch with the football to get it in there late in the down. I think he will be successful at this level.”
The Browns have said they plan to name their starter by the third preseason game, which would give LeBeau and the Steelers plenty of time to prepare regardless of which quarterback takes the field for the Browns in September. That timeline could change if things haven’t been clarified, but any delay would just seem to make it more likely that Manziel has caught up to Hoyer and made himself a likelier choice for the starting gig in Cleveland.