Last week, Browns coach Mike Pettine and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said that Johnny Manziel would be getting first-team reps at practice sooner rather than later.
They proved to be true to their word on Monday. Per the reports of just about everyone on the Browns beat, Manziel opened up the first practice of the week as the quarterback with the first team.
When announcing their plans for the first-round pick last week, the Browns coaches emphasized that it would be wrong to read too much about the team’s competition in the position from the fact that Brian Hoyer got the first crack with the starters. Following that thinking, it would also be wrong to read too much into Manziel getting the nod on Monday.
That said, it seems clear that the Browns aren’t closing the door on Manziel starting in the first week of the season after spending a lot of time talking about how hard it would be for the rookie to win the job. Some in Cleveland believe that Manziel has started to close whatever gap Hoyer enjoyed over him and good practice performances with the first team will only fuel that belief as the Browns move closer to making their ultimate decision.