The Browns have decided whom their starting quarterback will be on Sept. 7 versus the Steelers. To basically no surprise, it's Brian Hoyer . Head coach Mike Pettine made it official Wednesday.
"[Hoyer] was the clear leader from the beginning," Pettine said. "We've maintained all along that if it was close, I would prefer to go with the more experienced player. Brian has done a great job in the meeting rooms and with his teammates on the practice field and in the locker room."
Pettine insisted that today's decision is not a knock on Johnny Manziel.
"He's certainly made great strides," Pettine said of Manziel. "We are pleased with where he is, and he has shown that he has come a long way in his ability to pick up the playbook, be coachable and lead an offense. We are confident that Johnny is going to have a great future, but we just felt that Brian still had a decided edge on him."
Boy, it's really difficult to read that last quote without rolling your eyes so hard that they begin to strain. On Monday night versus the Redskins, Manziel was awful on the field, and we saw in an interview with Jon Gruden that he is still way behind in understanding the playbook. He threw like a baseball pitcher with bad mechanics who couldn't find the strike zone. Then he flipped somebody off. Basically, Manziel was football's version of Joe Nathan on Monday.
If Hoyer wasn't a sixth-year veteran with at least a couple of good games on tape, we probably still wouldn't have any clarity in this situation, because he has been brutal as well in the preseason. He worked one first down out of the offense in four drives against Washington. He has completed 8 of 20 passes for 108 yards this month. Manziel has completed 14 of 27 passes for 128 yards.
Pettine said he wanted to make a choice now to give his offense a chance to gain continuity with Hoyer under center. But he can't be excited with what he has seen in the past two weeks and, as brutal as Manziel has been, Hoyer will probably have a quick hook if he struggles in September. Again, the most prominent reason why he has been named the starter and not Manziel has very little to do with what they've done on the field this year. Hoyer was just born earlier.
Early indications are it will be a long year for Cleveland's offense.