All signs point to Manziel starting Week One


Congratulations, Johnny Football a/k/a Johnny Cleveland a/k/a Johnny Vegas a/k/a Johnny Padres.  Not only have you leapfrogged future Hall of Famer (not really) Tyler Thigpen but you also have narrowed the gap with Brian Hoyer.

What a surprise.

Just a few weeks ago, Browns G.M. Ray Farmer declared that Hoyer had a “substantial margin” over Manziel.  Now, coach Mike Pettine says Hoyer’s lead isn’t insurmountable.

Or course it isn’t.  Because barring a horrendous performance from Manziel during training camp or the preseason, he’ll start Week One in Pittsburgh.

His competition, after all, is Brian Hoyer.  A career backup who at one point during the 2013 offseason was unemployed and who started three games before tearing an ACL last year.  With a new coach and a new G.M., neither of whom have any loyalty to or investment in Hoyer, it makes plenty of sense that he’ll no longer be the starter.

Then there’s the fact that the Browns traded up from No. 26 to No. 22 to get Manziel.  If Hoyer’s the guy, why grab Manziel?

Since 2008, the presumption has become that a first-round quarterback will start right away.  Helping shift that approach may have been the 2007 Browns, who opted to go with career backup Derek Anderson instead of first-round rookie Brady Quinn after Charlie Frye was dumped following a Week One debacle.  With Anderson knowing that he’d inevitably be benched for Quinn, Anderson didn’t worry about losing the job he’d never keep.

Which allowed him to play well enough to keep the job for the rest of the year.  And in turn to thrust the quarterback position deeper into the mess that it has been ever since.

Like other teams in recent seasons (and possibly like several teams this year), the Browns are trying to create the impression of an actual competition, which will create the impression that the rookie has actually achieved something and which may give him genuine confidence when the real games start.

Manziel, of course, doesn’t lack confidence.  But he may be lacking a few teeth when the first defense he faces after Duke in the Chik-Fil-A Bowl belongs to the Steelers.

So when will the decision be made?  Probably before the point at which Manziel would be thrust into preseason action behind the No. 2 offensive line, facing a No. 2 defense full of players hoping to make a positive impression on the coach by making a significant impression on Johnny Football.

124 responses to “All signs point to Manziel starting Week One

  1. Sucks for Hoyer but did we expect anything else from the city that is the mistake by the lake and the factory of sadness.

  2. NFL Defensive Players are licking their chops for a shot at this guy. You can bet “Johnny Football” will be gettting a little extra shoulder drive, etc, into the ground when people get a chance to.

  3. likely true, but pure conjecture on your part.. solid jornalism here

  4. Your comprehension of what others say probably led to you departing law for a format like this where, oh never mind. I just read an article in a newspaper that covers the Browns. No way one could conclude what you did from what the coach and GM said.

  5. Or, ya know, Brian Hoyer is much better than Manziel at things such as reading an NFL defense and going through his progressions that he is in fact better than Manziel currently is. Is that so crazy to imagine? I think it’s obvious that the ceilings between the two players are different, but Johnny hasn’t come close to reaching his. The best thing that the Browns can do is start the year with Hoyer, and let Manziel hone his craft. Hoyer is about the only guy on planet earth that could stave off a year of Manziel. He is a local Cleveland boy and alum of St. Ignatius High School. This is a perfect situation to avoid rushing a rookie QB into the NFL.

  6. Manziel needs to sit for at least half a season. He has a lot to learn, and I think Hoyer has proven that he has some talent. Why are the Browns always so impatient, and throw these rookies right into the fire?

  7. I love all the reporting from the national guys who paid NO attention to the Browns or Hoyer last year or this offseason. “Manziel’s going to start because they picked him in the first round” – crack reporting there, guys!

    Hoyer will be the starter Week 1, and probably most of the season (barring injury.) He has NFL experience, and all of our local media who watched OTA’s and minicamp said that Manziel is staring down receivers while Hoyer is going through his reads with incredible quickness.

    Manziel will start for us… eventually. But not Week 1 of this season.

  8. Manziel was starting week 1 as soon as Cle traded up to get him. Anyone thinking otherwise just doesn’t understand how the world works.

  9. Here’s the problem. If the Browns start Hoyer and keep winning, they can’t just take Hoyer out. What if Hoyer starts and they keep winning and go 10-6 this year? Well can they really bench him for Manziel in 2015? But at the same time, can they just let Manziel sit and be a backup when they traded up for him?

    Just start Johnny now.

  10. I reject the notion that a rookie quarterback should start from Week 1 or else he or the organization should be considered a failure. Unless you’re the first overall pick and/or there are no other options, it’s probably always best to sit and watch for a while before being thrown to the wolves. Most of the best quarterbacks in the league didn’t start right away.

  11. Steelers defense old and soft? ok warrren sapp…only players on that defense that are over 30 now are polamalu and ike taylor. And they were 13th overall last year..not their usual number 1 but still much better than over half the league.

  12. Manziel isn’t an NFL level starting QB and hasn’t shown anything to make me think he ever will be. I feel bad for the Cleveland fans because he’s got their hopes up. Chances are good that those hopes will be dashed.

  13. Quinn only got passed over for Anderson because of his holdout. Would’ve been a different story had the rookie pay scale been in place at the time.

    Go Browns.

  14. Wasn’t there an undrafted QB that was a career back-up and went to three SB’s and won one? Who btw, should have consideration into the Hall?

    I suppose that is why there are reporters and then there are players.

  15. Steelers defense are the ones that lack teeth.

    I guess it’s safe to save your Steeler obsession continues.
    You they may lack, but unlike posters like you they don’t lack for brains.

    Can’t wait for Dr. Lebeau to concoct a D for Mr. football.
    Rookies don’t fair we’ll against the Steeler D as a rule.

  16. As a Steelers fan, I believe all Manziel needs to do is somehow get his offense into the end zone twice to better Roethlisberger. Going to be interesting.

  17. It’ll be a rough day for Johnny Manziel. After the loss, we’ll throw Manziel in the stands and restrict his partying in the burgh area.

  18. Makes me wonder if any of you sports writers do any research , or just shoot from the hip . Either study and do your homework or just leave it alone .

  19. As a Steelers fan, I believe all Manziel needs to do is somehow get his offense into the end zone twice to better Roethlisberger. Going to be interesting.

    A comment like that doesn’t come from a Steeler fan, but from a Ben obsessed wacko. But hey what a wonderful country where you can hate safely behind a key board.

    Manziel will have his nose in his ear hole after one series against the Steelers.

  20. Johnny is a game changer type player. Hoyer is just another drop back passer. Browns have the opportunity to finally do something a little different. What they’ve done in the past has not worked. Browns fans should be happy the direction is changing.

  21. Let’s see the proof- Video of Manziel leading the first team offense against the first team defense- and let’s see Hoyer’s video… and then we’ll see indisputable evidence of Manziel closing the gap… right?

    What’s that? You say we can’t see this tape…? and that the depth chart is becoming media-driven?

    uh huh.

  22. I think Wilson went into camp as the third string QB. But started from day One. Not bad for a guy that’s to short to play QB in the NFL!

  23. Steelers were 14th in the NFL in D in 2013. They got no significant help in the offseason because they had no money, just replaced jags with jags and lost Woodley. They haven’t had a draft pick pan out since Pouncey, and Timmons on defense.
    Stats>brain= no teeth.

  24. Real Steeler fans would never make statements implying a rookie will score more TD’S than Ben…oh wait, a nut case obsessed with bashing Ben would. Ok carry on with your childish fetish.

  25. To all the Clowns fans who mindlessly upvoted the guy who called the Steeler defense “old and soft,” consider this:

    Pittsburgh’s projected starting defense for the upcoming season is 26.6 years old, and that includes the two physical freaks Ike (34) and Troy (33).

    If you exclude Ike and Troy only, the remaining nine of the Steelers’ projected starting defenders average just 25.2 years old.

    Young, fast, hungry … that soft-but-growing-louder ticking is the time bomb approaching detonation on Johnny Snotnose — coming soon to a theatre near you.

  26. The Steelers defense? Knocking teeth out? They lost that ability when they let James Harrison go….that Pittsburgh defense is the one missing teeth.

  27. It doesn’t matter if a rookie QB sits and waits or starts right away. Most of them aren’t going to be good anyway when they finally start because they aren’t used to live NFL game speed. If you want a rookie to get better, he has to get playing experience. Start him right away.

  28. Everyone knows J.F.F will be the starter by mid season at latest. Regardless of a said “Qb competition” in training camp, the pressure from fans, media, and possibly Haslam will lead Mr. Football start whether he’s truly ready or not. Hoyer knows the writing is one the wall, just not sure if it will make Hoyer play harder or fold under the pressure. Hopefully, this whole process makes both guys better, and the team as well. As for the Steelers “knocking teeth out” yeah, I’m pretty confident, no teams will be losing sleep over facing that defense. The only way Manziel looses any teeth is if his cleats get caught in Polomalu’s massive black and gray chick hairdo as he dives for Johnnys feet getting juked out of his maxi pad, thus JFF falls and hits teeth on his own facemask. Who knows could happen. Browns 31 – Pitts- 10

  29. “If Hoyer’s the guy, why grab Manziel?”
    This statement is as dumb as they come. No NFL team has ever gotten the mileage out of a single player that has never even taken a snap then The Cleveland Browns. It’s a win/win situation. If Manziel is great then the team succeeds and he stinks then people will watch to see him get his head caved in. I’m not giving up on Hoyer at all though and the Browns are NOT just going to had the starting job to Manziel. That’s just not the way it works.

  30. I love how Browns fans are clinging to Hoyer like they’re passengers on the Titanic and he’s a life preserver. Unfortunately that life preserver has a “Made in Factory of Sadness” sticker on it.

  31. That same Steeler D that gave up 50 points to the Pats last year? Didn’t address their sorry secondary in the draft? We’re gonna line up and run it down your throat 50 times. You’ll be the ones spitting out the chicklets… Nobody fears the Steelers D anymore…

  32. Unfortunately, it appears that JF was drafted more to sell tickets and merchandise, and to get nationwide attention for this sadly under-performing franchise that has been in disarray for years, than to actually win games. And we can all see how wildly successful that strategy has already been in such a short period of time!

    Sadly for Hoyer (especially if he is playing fairly well but the win-loss record is less than satisfying) the first home game with still-available UNSOLD SEATS will be the game that Manziel is announced to make his debut as the starter.

    I would further expect a very well-crafted marketing/promotional campaign, complete with “new Johnny Cleveland-type merchandise”, launch to coincide with that day.

  33. Some really good QB’s have sat for a year (or more) and learned. Steve Young sat behind Steve DeBerg of all people for a year, then behind Montana for several more.. Marino sat for the first 5 weeks. Aaron Rodgers played in only 7 games with 59 total pass attempts his first 3 years combined sitting behind Bret Favre.

    Yes, Brian Hoyer is not any of those qbs. He I Brian Hoyer. A journeyman with very little to show in his career prior to 3 games last year. That could be a sign that he isn’t very good or he could have finally gotten it together. Some qbs play better for the right team/city and/or system than others (see players doing poorly playing in New York as opposed to other cities as example). Still, Hoyer himself is not a proven commodity by any means.

    Do I want o see Hoyer be the starter? Yes. Mainly because he has been in the NFL for a few years now and has seen defenses and prepared for game days, etc. He is also a local boy and it is a nice story. However, if at some point in the season, whether game 1, or game 16, the coaches feel that Manziel will be the best qb for the team to succeed, then by all means put him in. I do not want ot play Manziel just because he was a first rounder. We did that with Weeden. If he is the best, then he should play, plain and simple.

  34. Haha. The steelers defense? Thanks for a good laugh

    I guess you forgot about last year already….oh wait you root for the factory of sadness I understand.

    Stinky Fingers your brains don’t exceed your crude posting name by much.

  35. bobzilla makes his usual bash at Ben. Too predictable, and extremely boring. Fake Steeler fan.

  36. Didn’t Jon Skelton beat out hoyer? Manziel better be starting. I know this if hoyer was that good he would be a starter in the nfl up to this point. The most important position in sports and he has been cut by Arizona with Jon Skelton.

  37. Easy does it. No one has seen Manziel take a single snap in the NFL. No one can even confirm he’s really well in OTAs. Consider this: The last couple of 1st round QBs from the CLE were terrible. What happens if Johnny leapfrog’s to the front and starts, and stinks it up in the first few weeks? To bench him is an admission by the Browns they blew it again as they all scratch their heads on how to handle this. So once they start him they have to play him…forever. Better make sure he’s ready AND better than Hoyer. Hoyer’s in a tough spot but given the above, there is no way Johnny starts on day one unless Hoyers really blows the preseason. Unless Hoyer totally tubes it, no way do you see Johnny football in the game before mid-way of the season. And no Browns fan would rather see their team tank in order to watch Johnny. Slowly boys. Slowly.

  38. What are the media folks going to report next…that Johnny’s playing in the World Cup game on Tuesday and starting in the AFC Championship game in January? Geeze…get real.

  39. The steelers are going to cream the clowns and manziel. After the stains loss, maybe they can take bobzilla with them so he can talk about Big Ben and his stats some more.

  40. The Steelers have lost their last three openers in a row by an average score of 27-11, so yeah, Johnny Football won’t have to do much to score more points than Bottom Third Ben.

    If the Browns beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh in the opener does Honest Mike “Twelfth Man” Tomlin finally get on the hot seat?

    Probably not as long as he can keep “blowing away” the Rooneys by laying down his sweet sweet gobbledygook double talk.

  41. The Browns open @Pitts, NOrleans and Balti. Pretty tough, it might not be smart to shellshock Manziel. I’d play Hoyer the 1rst 3, see how it goes, then they have a bye and the sched lightens up a bit. If it’s not happening for Hoyer, they can always change then.

  42. The Steeler defense has gotten dramatically younger, and will be a force to be reckoned with this year…especially if they can get just decent CB play, which should be helped by their excellent front seven, and deep secondary.
    To think that Johnny Manziel (if he is the starter), in his first NFL game, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, is going to have any kind of success, is delusional.

  43. The only way Hoyer isn’t starting week 1 is if he gets hurt, no matter how bad the media wants Manziel to start.

  44. Nothing against Manziel, but every time I look at him he reminds me of the 10 lb weakling. With his style of play and his diminutive stature I just can’t see him holding up long term.

  45. Steelers defense doesn’t scare anyone anymore. Brady hung 55 on it with average or less players last year.

  46. The Steelers have lost their last three openers in a row by an average score of 27-11, so yeah, Johnny Football won’t have to do much to score more points than Bottom Third Ben.

    If the Browns beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh in the opener does Honest Mike “Twelfth Man” Tomlin finally get on the hot seat?

    Probably not as long as he can keep “blowing away” the Rooneys by laying down his sweet sweet gobbledygook double talk.

    If the steelers win could you please just fade away taking your other screen name BobZilla with you. I ll pay the dab fare.

    Think before you post…if you can say rational, hate free, sensible things.

    The Clowns are the Clowns and will be the clowns for longer than BobZilla bashes Ben.

  47. Johnny is a drunk, he is an alcoholic and will be out of football quick, how nice a drunk starting game 1 and you thought it was bad enough, hell we haven;t even started here in Cleveland, we have so much crap still going to happen sit back and enjoy.

  48. So Mike, are you saying that all that “hard work and studying” paid off for Justin, uhm, I mean Johnny?

    Fact is, if the plan is to ever start him, might as well do it now. Manziel is not the type who takes learning and working seriously.

  49. Huh… That’s funny…. I just heard on ESPN Radio the exact opposite of this article. Johnny is the # 2

  50. You obviously haven’t seen a single game that Hoyer has played in. He’s earned the right to start week one. Unless he proves in the pre-season other wise.

  51. 9am: Hoyer is the starter.

    11 am: Hoyer is 1st on the depth chart but will share some snaps.

    1 pm: Hoyer is most likely the starter at the beginning of camp.

    4pm: Hoyer is going to compete with Manziel for the first team reps.

    5pm: Security will you please escort this Brian dude from the facility.

    Go football media… Make drama because you know… There isn’t enough with 300 20 something millionaires walking around.

  52. Clinton bulldog… Sure Brady scored 55 on steelers with his rag tag team… the key word is BRADY.

  53. So all signs point to Manziel starting week one because the coach and GM keep saying he isn’t the starter?

    That’s logical in some universe I guess. Looks like they had to meet their daily Johnny Manziel story quota.

  54. Brian Bortles was selected 3rd in the draft. Johnny was selected 22. Why is there no talk about Bortles starting in Jacksonville? Nothing being said at all! But, everyone has an opinion about Johnny. All we’ve had is a couple of OTA’s and everyone has an opinion. Let’s wait till August and resume this discussion then.

  55. Week 1 starting against the Steelers; Week 2 on IR for the rest of the season.

  56. There are so many reasons to love the NFL…and this is another. Every team has a story that almost everyone likes to watch. I can’t stand the dude — but I can’t wait to watch him play and see what transpires.

  57. Johnny football was a good college QB but the pros r a total different ball game not saying he can’t be good but this kid is his own worst enemy.

  58. I hope Manziel starts all 16 games. If he’s a bust the Browns can draft a new QB next year. They have two number 1s.

  59. Hoyer will start 1st 3 games vs. Steelers, Ravens & Saints. If he wins 2 of those games, he will keep Manziel on the bench.

  60. “Ben Bashing”: When a Steelers fan recognizes and posts accurate accounts of Roethlisberger’s mythical career. Here’s an idea: If the Steelers lose, let’s just blame Mendenhall. Or the offensive line. Or the receivers. Or the OC. Or the defense.
    Too funny.
    It’s no wonder Steelers fans are detested around the league. Hell, even I can’t stand most of them…

  61. Because you didn’t mention in an other article about how Jacksonville is starting Henne this year…

    Instead of the NUMBER 3 OVERALL PICK.

    Good logic.

  62. Hoyer will start. Manziel will get a LOT of 4th quarter playing time though. Starting Sept. 7th when the Browns stomp on the throats of the old men in Pittsburgh.

  63. Does anyone except a Browns fan care who starts? Manziel has been rammed down our throats for weeks now, and we don’t care.

  64. Horse hockey. Pettine ALSO said that Hoyer has a considerable lead.
    Manzeil NEVER “leapfrogged” Thigpen. He was #2 on the depth chart from the beginning.

  65. Anderson played well and that, somehow, ruined Quinn? That’s a pretty odd conclusion to draw. Quinn has proven to be worthless. Starting him ahead of Anderson would have merely demonstrated that fact to all earlier than when it eventually became evident.

    The counter argument to starting the rookie would be Aaron Rodgers. Arguably the best QB playing, he sat for several years behind Bret Favre and did not seem to suffer from the experience.

  66. I know you people get a big bang out of bad mouthing the old Steelers defense,but in case you haven’t been paying attention they have gotten younger not to mention they are pissed over losing the past 2 years.To start this kid against any AFC North team is suicide.There’s a lot of anger in the Burg’, carefull Johnny !

  67. QB’S? Forget about it.
    A REAL COACH, that’s the ticket.
    A real coach can make average players better and good players great. This town needs a coach who can put is stamp on the team. Whatever he says goes. A coach who has his mind on the team and not what the fans want and think,… A Chuck Noll, Don Sula type of powerful ‘stubborn’ wisdom that breeds winning football in this town. Is our coach going to be the man?

  68. I think the writer raised the right question, but as a stand alone. Bein why trade up to take Manziel?, this was the wrong pick for you guys, they shouldve went with another solid lineman or Safety IMO. Johnny football’s style doesn’t fit your offense plus Hoyer really found a home in Cleveland. Gordon’s the on who screwed you guys, before Hoyer got hurt he looked like Brady throwing the ball all over the place. I think you guys should’ve just got a good back-up and stuck with Hoyer. Also for Johnny he would’ve thrived better with another team. I’m not saying this because you guys have had issues winning over the years, I just believe you made the wrong pick and Johnny will suffer from being with the wrong team for his skillet..

  69. All of those season tickets sold in the hours after they drafted Manziel say that Johnny starts Week 1. That town will come unglued if he isn’t.

  70. Looks like I’ll be cheering for that Pittsburgh D, and I’m not even a Steelers fan

  71. There’s been nothing, I repeat nothing that indicates Manziel will be the starter. In fact, it’s been the opposite. Media reports have indicated that Hoyer (gimpy leg and all) is getting the ball out much faster and with more accuracy. Preseason football will again show us nothing, as a QB isn’t pressured like he is in a regular season game. I’ll point to last preseason when Brandon Weedon looked like a hall of fame OB.

  72. There are gong to be a lot of disappointed Browns fans this year. They picked the wrong guy to pin their QB hopes on. Their team isn’t built for the limited skill sets that Manziel has. The defenses of the NFC North’s teams will show Johnnies weaknesses even sooner that you think. The kid is quick on his feet, but that makes him reckless, and sooner or later those big defensive guys are going to catch him, and it won’t take many of those hits on his skinny little body to hurt him. No, Manziel isn’t the answer to Cleveland’s QB problem. Who knows, they may have had the answer already on their roster, and didn’t need to waste a first round pick on another QB. They have other positions where they could have used their pick to really help them.

  73. Johnny Football is going to light up the Steeler defense. And then most of the 21 teams who passed him up in the first round are going to kick themselves.

  74. I just can’t understand the lack of knowledge the writer and some of the people who comment here.
    Some of the best and most productive QB’s sat for 2-3-4 years before staring. ie. Steve Young, Aaron Rogers. So if any of the so called football wizards think any different let me explain.. Sit him let him learn and maybe in a year or two you’ll have a real NFL QB. Oh by the way Browns defense will be top 10 in all catagories.. BURN the STEELERS

  75. Huh? I read when both coach and gm made their statements and it wasn’t a couple weeks apart. It was same day and you left out alot of what the coach said about it too. He was leaning heavily toward Hoyer being the starter. Please don’t just pick out and try to spin a story on a couple of statements without providing the whole statement made by both of them.

  76. Steeler fan here……………..Is it just me or has anyone ever got the feeling that Johnney Football reminds me of a Brady Quinn? I know that’s harsh and i hope im wrong (cause i miss a decent game between the browns and steelers)…….Just sayin! Also, He’s short for an nfl qb.

  77. Crummy brown and orange uniforms. No logo on helmets (not even a C), Mistake by the Lake, The Factory of Sadness, A team named Browns? (oh well, at least it’s not a slur like redskins) A succession of quarterbacks, from Tim Couch, Charlie Frye, Brady Quinn, Colt McCoy, Derek Anderson, etc. There is still much optimism for the Grieveland Frowns this year with their newest QB, Johnny Manziel who may or may not start the season. Whew!

  78. I told you CLOWNS, he was a CLOWN! He’s bad, boo boo you manziel
    I hate you, and do you have teeth? I can’t tell if the guy has a single tooth in his head! He looks like he’s all lips and grandma gums! Get him RG3, the skins put him over their laps and all, every single person on the defense got to give him an Azz whopping, throw those money signs up now Manziel, how can you guys not see when so keen is bad! And Johnny is BAD! He was fast for college level play, not against PROS who’s offensive line man can run a 5.0 40, and manziel can’t even break 4.6, he’s not fast at this level, and he does not have Mike Evens to snag Hail Marys down from the 50 yard line anymore for him either! I told you he was bad, what did you think, Cleveland finally got a good QB, HISTORY REPEATS ITS SELF, PERIOD & IN CLEVELAND I DONT THINK THEY WILL EVER PICK A GOOD QB.

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