It should come as no shock that Johnny Manziel will not start at quarterback in the Cleveland Browns' preseason opener against the Detroit Lions on Saturday. That assignment will go to incumbent Brian Hoyer.
While Johnny Football has been impressive this week in training camp, the starting job is Hoyer's to lose. Even though the Browns have a new coach in Mike Pettine, Hoyer will be given the chance to secure the starting spot after going 3-0 as a starter for Cleveland last season, when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and missed the rest of the season.
There was much anticipation this week that Manziel might get the start after some strong performances with the first-team offense. Pettine put to rest that idea by naming Hoyer the preseason starter.
“That was his job,” Pettine told reporters of Hoyer on Wednesday at camp in Berea, Ohio. “He was the one coming into it. We did want to mix the groups up coming into it, as we did, but he's done nothing to have that taken away from him, so he'll be out there with the starters.
“I think we all see what Manziel can do,” Pettine added. “He makes plays with his feet, but he's been probably better than we thought from in the pocket as well.”
The latter is not good news for Hoyer, who played very sparingly in three seasons with the New England Patriots as well as another with the Arizona Cardinals in 2012. He made 93 passes in those four seasons. The Browns acquired him as a free agent before last season.
“They've both made improvement, and I think they're both doing a great job of playing to their skill sets,” Pettine said of Hoyer and Manziel. “It's obviously very different, what they bring to the table. I think Brian's starting to feel very comfortable in the pocket.”
Pettine told reporters that game situations will have a big impact going forward.
"There's no substitute for live game reps," the first-year coach said. "I think more weight will be put on those games because of the live reps. The practice part will still be important, but I think it's safe to say that."