Browns head coach Mike Pettine said Monday that he doesn't know exactly when he will officially tab either Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel as Cleveland's starting quarterback, but he has a firmly established deadline: before the team's third preseason game on August 23.
A decision hasn't been made on how the first-team reps will be split between the two quarterbacks in training camp, but Pettine thinks that people who are clamoring for Manziel to start right away should appreciate the veteran more.
"He's got the respect of the guys in the locker room," he said of Hoyer. "I think he can make all the throws. I think he's got a stronger arm than people think. I love his decision making. He's very decisive. He understands defenses. He knows right where to go with the ball. He anticipates well. ... He's got intangible qualities that you look for in a quarterback. He's got that gym-rat mentality. He loves football. He loves Cleveland. I'm OK with people underestimating him or selling him short because I think they'll be surprised."
Pettine also said that it would "ideal" for Manziel to sit and learn from the sidelines instead of being thrown into the fire Week 1. Pettine mentioned the successes of quarterbacks who have had to wait to play such as Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Carson Palmer while stating that rookies who have started right away have provided a "mixed bag of results."
Whichever quarterback does start will be asked to hand off to Ben Tate and Terrance West often while trying to make do without Josh Gordon , who Pettine said should not be cut from the team.
Tight end Jordan Cameron is the team's No. 1 receiver. Miles Austin and Andrew Hawkins will probably be the top two wideouts, which isn't very appealing for fantasy purposes. Both quarterbacks are well into the QB2 range, but Manziel has more obvious upside due to his running and natural play-making ability. Although it sounds like Hoyer would need to falter greatly to not open the year as the starter, Manziel will be under center at some point this season.