Brian Hoyer beat him out to be the Browns’ starting quarterback, but Johnny Manziel still might take some snaps in Week One against the Steelers.
Browns coach Mike Pettine told Ross Tucker on SiriusXM NFL Radio that a “Manziel package” is “on the table.”
“We could potentially look at a two-quarterback system down the road,” Pettine said.
That may conflict with what Pettine said when he announced Hoyer as the starter this week: Pettine had said that he didn’t want Hoyer to feel like he was on a short leash, and he wanted Hoyer to feel that the starting quarterback job was his to run with. Now Pettine is suggesting that Hoyer may have to take a seat (or line up wide as nothing more than a decoy) while Manziel comes on the field for certain plays.
However, Pettine has said in the past that he likes the idea of making opposing defenses think about the possibility of Manziel coming in and using his mobility to make plays. Pettine knows all too well how that can be tough for a defense: In 2012, when Pettine was defensive coordinator for the Jets, the 49ers used then-backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick in a special package of plays, and Kaepernick ran five times for 50 yards and a touchdown as the 49ers whipped the Jets 34-0.
“I’ve seen that give defenses some trouble,” Pettine said. in July. “I think there’s positives and negatives to it. You’re taking your starter off the field. You have his rhythm and continuity to take into account, but at the same time defensively you’re now forcing a team to basically come up with two game plans. I mean, there are pluses and minuses to it.”
The pluses are that Manziel could get some playing experience, and that his athletic ability could help the Browns move the ball on the ground. But the big minus is that Pettine is already saying, just days after anointing Hoyer the starter, that Manziel may take some snaps away from Hoyer.