Updates from Thursday, July 31
It's a process for me. It's not something that I should just come in here naturally because I played well in college and just know how to run this offense.
It's a complete 180 from everything that I've been used to. And it's going to take time. It's a process coming from a spread, air raid system in college to a pro style system that's very unfamiliar [to] me as far as terminology and routes.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport has Ray Farmer's thoughts on the learning process:
#Browns GM Ray Farmer to me: "I agree with Johnny. His biggest challenge is the playbook. How much can you learn? How fast can you learn?"— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 31, 2014
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported on the likely scenario for the Cleveland Browns at starting quarterback:
On the #Browns QB battle: I'm told best-case scenario is for Brian Hoyer to win the job to start, then have Manziel on-field in a package.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 31, 2014
Besides the fact Brian Hoyer is ahead of Johnny Manziel in the playbook, it's much worse to start & bench Manziel than start & bench Hoyer— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 31, 2014
For context, #Browns OC Kyle Shanahan said today that Johnny Manziel will be used in a package even if he doesn't start. That was new.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 31, 2014
Shanahan spoke about a package for Manziel with Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com:
“I would do it if it looked like the right thing to do,” Shanahan said about such a special package for Manziel. “That has to do all about studying Pittsburgh, what their schemes are, whether we think some things look good v. them that maybe Johnny could do that Brian couldn’t. What the rest of our team’s doing. I have no problem with that. I think that does present some issues. But there’s got to be a reason for it.”
Earlier, Daryl Ruiter of 92.3 The Fan talked to Kyle Shanahan about Johnny Manziel and reps with the first team:
Kyle Shanahan said "sooner rather than later" Manziel will work with 1s; he's still getting reps w/ WRs & TEs— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) July 31, 2014
Manziel also spoke about his process of adjusting to the NFL (Ian Rapoport):
Zac Jackson of Fox Sports has more from Manziel:
Manziel: I'll play when these coaches decide I'm ready. I don't think there's any rush.— Zac Jackson (@FSOhioZJackson) July 31, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, July 29
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported on the Browns' quarterback battle:
Brian Hoyer is considerably faster, and more nimble, than Johnny Manziel.
No, that is not a misprint.
The veteran journeyman, coming off an ACL surgery and trying to retain his job as the starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns, is quicker than Johnny Friggin Football, record-setting college football dervish who is in the first week of his first training camp. Now, Hoyer, a more competent athlete than some assume, couldn't beat Manziel in a footrace, and he can't come close to some of the eye-popping improvisational moves that the kid makes look easy in practice. But when it comes to breaking a huddle, calling a play with conviction, setting players in motion, checking protection schemes, reading a defense and running through his progression and making an astute decision with the football, he is operating at a pace that Manziel cannot replicate.
Mentally, in speed of thought, this isn't much of a contest right now. There is in fact, a noticeable difference.
All of that, combined with Hoyer's sterling stint with the Browns last season, his superior experience, his steady hand, and maturity, will result in him being the opening day starter. Yes, it's early in camp, and nary a preseason snap has been taken, but based on everything I've heard talking to people here and also from what I've seen, there is every reason to expect Hoyer to keep his job.
Updates from Sunday, July 27
Mike Pettine talked to Marc Sessler of NFL.com about Cleveland's QB battle:
Mike Pettine: Hoyer will continue to work with the starters for now. Browns will evaluate the QB position Wednesday and adjust accordingly.— Marc Sessler (@MarcSesslerNFL) July 27, 2014
Updates from Friday, July 25
ESPN's Bob Holtzman has more on the Browns' quarterback battle:
Browns player: "we're all expecting Hoyer to start" week 1. Feeling in locker room is Pettine will announce WELL BEFORE 3rd preseason game— bob holtzman (@BobHoltzmanESPN) July 25, 2014
Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer provides more details on how the Browns view Manziel:
The Browns have been "alarmed" by some of Johnny Manziel's antics since the draft -- especially a photo of him rolling up a $20 bill in the bathroom of a bar -- and some in the organization feel he's lost ground in the quarterback competition heading into camp, sources have told cleveland.com.
After the suspicious photo of Manziel tightly rolling up the bill surfaced on July 7, Browns coach Mike Pettine called Manziel from his vacation in Hawaii and addressed it, he told cleveland.com on Monday. The conversation was "positive" but he also planned to talk to Manziel face-to-face when he arrived for the rookie portion of camp on Wednesday. Tightly-rolled bills are typically used to snort cocaine, and the Browns wanted some answers.
In fact, NFL chemical dependency consultant and former Browns team physician Dr. Gregory Collins of the Cleveland Clinic told cleveland.com that such a photo would warrant a league inquiry and drug test to make sure the player is okay, even though it's not proof of use.
Updates from Wednesday, July 23
Browns coach Mike Pettine confirmed who the Browns' starting QB will be heading into training camp, via Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com:
We met this morning on it, actually. Hoyer’s the one. He’ll be with the ones in the beginning. We’re still going to evaluate Johnny just as we’ll evaluate any other player, with his repetitions, so it shouldn’t be misconstrued if he’s not taking early reps with the ones. I think at this point, right now, it’s more Johnny v. the playbook than it is v. Brian. I think he’s got to make sure that continues. He’s well along the path, but that needs to continue. That’s a big part for him, to be able to know the play, execute the play, start the right guy in motion at the right time. So I think there’s a lot of that first. So he needs to make sure that he doesn’t jump ahead and tries to match (Hoyer). It’s certainly more him against the playbook.
Updates from Tuesday, July 22
NFL.com's Dan Hanzus reports on when the Cleveland Browns plan to name a starting quarterback:
Browns coach Mike Pettine told reporters at team headquarters on Monday that a starting QB will be named by the third week of the preseason -- and perhaps before that. Pettine said he will meet Tuesday with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains to decide how to split first-team reps in training camp between Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer.
"(A decision) could be sooner, and that's something we're going to discuss in that meeting," Pettine said, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. "It'll be before the third preseason game. I just don't have a date. I don't know if I'll set a date and kind of paint ourselves into a date, but it will be sooner than the third preseason game."
Updates from Friday, June 27
Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal has Johnny Manziel's thoughts on earning the starting job:
#Browns QB Johnny Manziel said he wants to be starter for Week 1. Won't be satisfied starting season as Brian Hoyer's backup.— Nate Ulrich (@NateUlrichABJ) June 27, 2014
Pat McManamon of ESPN.com has more from Manziel:
Manziel: Mike Pettine was "spot on" in evaluating QBs. "Brian (Hoyer) obviously is ahead" "I have a lot of ground to catch up." #browns— PatMcManamon (@PatMcManamon) June 27, 2014
Manziel said he'd make most of situation if he's not starting, but "to say that I don't want to be the starter would be ridiculous." #Browns— PatMcManamon (@PatMcManamon) June 27, 2014
Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer shares additional thoughts from Manziel:
I'm still learning. They know that. They know where I'm at. They know that it's hard coming in as a rookie, coming from the system that I had, a very simple system to an NFL-complex system. You look at Brian, a guy that's been in the league six, seven years, who was with the Patriots, and obviously they're very regimented.
You can tell guys that come out of there are very on top of their stuff, so I look at it more as what I can learn from him from a routine standpoint, from a knowledge standpoint and where I need to get to, so it takes time and I think that when camp starts, I'll have a better grasp of the playbook. It won't feel like I'm brand new to everything, but still I think everything coach Pettine said was spot on, that coach Brian obviously is ahead. He's been doing this a lot longer than I have and I am a rookie, so I have a lot of ground to catch up.
Updates from Thursday, June 19
Mike Pettine spoke about Johnny Manziel and the chances of him starting (via Kevin Patra of NFL.com):
We felt this entire draft class, every single one of (the quarterbacks) needed a redshirt year, with Johnny really being the only one that had a chance given the right circumstances to be an opening-day starter. It could happen, but in my ideal world, it's not opening day.
Updates from Tuesday, June 17
Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal provides a statement from Browns linebacker Paul Kruger weighing in on the Browns' quarterback battle with KFAN radio:
Obviously, that’s up to the staff and coaches, so they’ll make that decision. But in my mind, Hoyer’s the guy. Hoyer came in, won us four games [actually he went 3-0 as a starter last season], unfortunately got hurt [torn ACL], but the guy was on fire when he was healthy. He’s proven himself at different levels and has worked extremely hard.
He looked great in the spring. He had limited activity just because of his knee. They want to keep him healthy. But you let the preseason go, see how they look and then make a decision. In my mind, Hoyer has been a good leader for us and somebody who has been able to win us some games. So it’s tough to say, but I think the preseason will be a big deal for both of them.
Updates from Thursday, June 12
Per Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer, Browns coach Mike Pettine said Brian Hoyer is "securely ahead" of Johnny Manziel heading into training camp next month and will be No. 1 on the depth chart, but that his lead is not "insurmountable":
"It's been hard to evaluate because Brian hasn't been able to take the 11-on-11 reps, but when we put the depth chart together, Brian will be No. 1," said Pettine at the conclusion of minicamp Thursday.
Pettine agrees with general manager Ray Farmer that Hoyer is substantially better than Manziel right now, but is confident Manziel can catch up.
"I think when Ray made the comment, he talked about the lead being just because of the circumstances, that Brian had been here for those seven, eight weeks before the draft even started,'' said Pettine. "That was essentially a head start and I don't think it's insurmountable. Brian is securely ahead of him right now, but we will compete and we will decide.
"The issue for us as a staff is finding the right time to name a starter. If you wait too late, then nobody's ready for the opener; if you do it too soon, then it wasn't a true competition. That will be part of our discussions as well as far as OK, here's the plan, here's a date that we want to go ahead and name him."
Updates from Tuesday, June 3
Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com has the latest on Manziel:
Meanwhile, rookie Johnny Manziel has made the most of his extra time with the No. 1 team. Manziel has impressed coaches with his ability to learn from mistakes. So when Manziel’s errors are corrected in post-practice film study, he generally rebounds splendidly. All the public attention focused on Manziel is hard enough for Hoyer to stomach. The fact Hoyer is handcuffed from making his own gains in the coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s offensive system is doubly frustrating to him. His time will come. But this early opportunity for Manziel unquestionably has tightened the quarterback competition.
Updates from Wednesday, May 28
Jim Corbett of USA Today provided an update on Johnny Manziel's status on the Browns' depth chart:
So guess Vegas trip didn't hurt Johnny, second string to Brian Hoyer. Thigpen third— Jim Corbett (@ByJimCorbett) May 28, 2014
Ball coming out of Johnny's hand nice and tight. No sign of inconsistent rookie of last week— Jim Corbett (@ByJimCorbett) May 28, 2014
Mike Pettine said Johnny Manziel "Absolutely (will have chance to win QB job from Hoyer) We're going into training camp with an open mind.— Jim Corbett (@ByJimCorbett) May 28, 2014
Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal had more from Browns practice:
#Browns QB Brian Hoyer continues to sit out 11-on-11 as he comes back from torn ACL. So Johnny Manziel taking reps with ones today.— Nate Ulrich (@NateUlrichABJ) May 28, 2014
#Browns OC Kyle Shanahan said Manziel got reps with ones today as part of schedule. Said we're mixing it up with everybody— Nate Ulrich (@NateUlrichABJ) May 28, 2014
Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer provides coach Mike Pettine's thoughts on Manziel's trip to Las Vegas:
#browns pettine's advice to Manziel when he told him he was going to Vegas: "have fun"— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) May 28, 2014
#browns Pettine said as long as it doesn't affect manziel's job, it's a non-issue. "He did nothing illegal. Price tag for reputation he has"— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) May 28, 2014
#browns Pettine said Manziel has been in playbook. One of hardest workers on the team.— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) May 28, 2014
Updates from Thursday, May 22
Kevin Patra of NFL.com provides Browns' head coach Mike Pettine's thoughts on Manziel:
I'm not adverse [sic] to playing a rookie. I've been a part of some of those situations -- whether it's Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez, situations where we had a rookie quarterback and we ended up building a solid team around them and we're able to have success. I'm not going to take a hard line either way. He's going to be part of a competition with Brian Hoyer for that starting job. ...
... (Manziel) will be the first one to tell you that he earned "Johnny Football" as a college quarterback, and he knows he has to earn it as an NFL quarterback. We're not going to let jersey sales determine our depth chart.
The Cleveland Browns aren't using the kid gloves with Johnny Manziel. They remain steadfast in the declaration that Brian Hoyer is the starting quarterback at the moment.
According to Dustin Fox of 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland, Browns general manager Ray Farmer was blunt in his assessment of where Manziel stood compared to Cleveland's incumbent QB:
Manziel said he's surprised Vegas was even a story. Said he's come to accept the scrutiny and photos. "That's my life"— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) May 28, 2014
Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer provides Hoyer's comments on the battle:
I was thinking about sending (Manziel) a birthday card. No, I totally get it. When you're competing for the same job, it's not like a receiver or O-linemen. There's only one guy out there. (But) I wouldn't put too much into it. I don't think we're in there not being friendly. But when you're gunning for the same job there is a little bit of an edge to it.
Cabot reported that Manziel was the third signal-caller to take practice reps on Wednesday behind Hoyer and Tyler Thigpen:
#browns manziel said "I'm going to live life to the fullest"— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) May 28, 2014
Head coach Mike Pettine told reporters on Wednesday that Manziel has been showing early signs of promise, but still has a long way to go to unseat Hoyer, via Pat McManamon of ESPN.com:
I just think just like any other rookie that he's inconsistent. I think a lot of it is the mental part of it. [Manziel] is more worrying about getting the formation right, making sure the motion's correct. Then he's got the cadence, and then he's got to worry about where guys are. Being good mechanically takes a backseat to learning the system first.
Hoyer won't go down without a fight, either:
Everyone else has made it clear that it's not going to be just pushing me aside. Even going back to last summer, this is the place I wanted to be. ... I've said it a million times. This is my hometown. This is where my family's from. I want to make a difference in this program and this organization. I'll never shy away from competition.
Farmer was matter-of-fact in his interview with WKRK-FM, via NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal:
"I want the best quarterback to start. Who is the best quarterback? Brian Hoyer," Farmer told WKRK-FM. Farmer was then asked about the gap between Manziel and Hoyer.
"That's a good question. I would tell you that probably by a substantial margin," Farmer said. "I would say that because here's a guy that's a five- or six-year veteran who has been in the league, that knows the defenses, that reads it quicker, that understands it. (Hoyer) has an advanced calculus degree. Johnny is good at math, but I don't know if he's in the advanced calculus stages.
"(Experience in the league) means a lot. It means more than people think."
Per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, Donte Whitner summed up what is likely the consensus among Browns players in that the only concern for the team should be putting the best player on the field:
#Browns GM Ray Farmer tells us Brian Hoyer is the better QB 'by a substantial margin' right now over Johnny Manziel.— Dustin Fox (@DustinFox37) May 21, 2014
#Browns' Donte Whitner on QB Hoyer: "I root for a Cleveland guy, but I also root for Manziel. You want the best guy on the football field."— Nate Ulrich (@NateUlrichABJ) May 21, 2014
Although Johnny Football's takeover of Cleveland has already begun, wresting control of the Browns offense will be a little harder to do.
The clock is certainly ticking on Hoyer. At 28 years old, he's likely not the Browns' franchise quarterback.
As expected, Brian Hoyer took first reps in opening offensive drills, then thigpen, then #browns Manziel.— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) May 21, 2014
However, the team is arguably making the smarter move by encouraging some competition between Hoyer and Manziel. Having those guys push each other to the limit will bring out the best in both and, in turn, put Cleveland in the best position to win in 2014.