Johnny Manziel vs. Brian Hoyer: Latest Updates on Cleveland Browns' QB Battle

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2014

AP Photo/Aaron Josefczyk

Updates from Wednesday, Sept. 3

AP NFL provides comments from head coach Mike Pettine, who spoke about Brian Hoyer's status as the starter:

Updates from Tuesday, Sept. 2

Mike Tomlin commented on the Browns' quarterback situation prior to Pittsburgh's matchup with Cleveland (via Aditi Kinkhabwala of

Updates from Friday, Aug. 22

Kevin Patra of reports that Browns head coach Mike Pettine is considering keeping Johnny Manziel a part of the offense despite the quarterback losing the starting job to Brian Hoyer:

"And people have asked me about potentially a two-quarterback system and having a package for (Johnny Manziel). That is on the table," Pettine told The Opening Drive on SiriusXM NFL Radio with Bob Papa & Ross Tucker on Friday.

"I don't know if that's anything that we want to commit to just now, 'cause I think Brian, because of the competition, is a little behind, with the chemistry and continuity in working with that first group. I think that is something that we can potentially look at down the road."

Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 20

The Browns announced who will start at quarterback in Week 1 of the regular season:

Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 19

NFL: Around the League, Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer and Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal provide comments from Browns coach Mike Pettine, who spoke about when the team expects to name a starter:

Updates from Monday, Aug. 18

Neither Johnny Manziel nor Brian Hoyer separated himself in the Browns' 24-23 loss to the Washington Redskins. Manziel went 7-of-16 for 65 yards and a touchdown, while Hoyer went 2-of-6 for 16 yards. 

After the game Mike Pettine commented on the updated situation, via Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post and the NFL's Around the League Twitter account:

Hoyer commented on his performance:

After a play in the third quarter, Manziel was shown on the ESPN telecast throwing up his middle finger towards the Redskins bench. The NFL on ESPN's Twitter account and Hubbuch provided Manziel and Hoyer's reactions after the game:

Before the game Steve Doerschuk of reported on the leader in the Browns' QB battle:

Updates from Friday, Aug. 15

ESPN's Pat McManamon provides this update on Johnny Manziel missing a team meeting:

Johnny Manziel conceded he was late for a Cleveland Browns meeting last Monday morning because he misread a change in the team's schedule.

"It was an honest mistake and something I need to learn from and make sure it doesn't happen again," Manziel said on Saturday after the team's last training camp practice.

The Browns had asked the players to be in for an 8:15 a.m. meeting, but altered the start time to 7:30 a.m. Manziel said he simply misread the schedule. A couple other rookies also were late and the matter was handled internally, sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

"I think we had to come in at 7:30 and it was the only day that we had had to come in at that time throughout camp," Manziel said. "I was on time for what I thought was our normal 8:15 meeting time. It was a misinterpretation, a misreading of the schedule. I sat down with Coach [Mike] Pettine and talked to him and we handled it and we've moved on."

Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer has more on the quarterback race from head coach Mike Pettine:

Updates from Thursday, Aug. 14

Johnny Manziel was tardy to a recent practice, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen

Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel has made a strong impression with his work ethic since training camp began but he suffered his first slip Monday when he was a few minutes late for a team meeting, according to team sources.

Manziel's tardiness was not a factor in coach Mike Pettine's decision to start Brian Hoyer in this coming Monday night's game against the Washington Redskins, the sources insisted.

Manziel and another "couple rookies" who went unidentified apparently misread a schedule that had the Browns conducting a brief five-minute meeting to start the week, sources said.

Pettine handled the matter "internally" with the players but did not over-dramatize the issue, sources said.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport provides the latest on the Browns' quarterback battle:'s Kevin Patra passes along Browns coach Mike Pettine's comments on the decision:

It's just something right now where we are comfortable with Brian going out there to start the game. I think it's a little overblown as to who the starter is going to be. The key component, as I've stated earlier this week, is that we are going to balance the reps. We will play it a little by ear as it goes on, we haven't truly decided as far as the rotation but the goal is, for when we look at the stat sheet at halftime, that they both have the same amount of repetitions and hopefully they both get a good amount of work.

Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 13

Daryl Ruiter of 92.3 The Fan provides comments from Browns coach Mike Pettine about Brian Hoyer trade rumors:

Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 12

Kevin Patra of has the latest on Cleveland's QB battle:

Mike Pettine still hasn't decided whether Johnny Manziel or Brian Hoyer will get the starting nod for Monday night's second preseason game against the Washington Redskins. But both quarterbacks will get first-team reps.

The Cleveland Browns coach told reporters Tuesday that his staff will make a decision on the starter on Thursday -- the team's off day -- but noted that Manziel will get first-team reps, even if he doesn't start. Pettine added that it's "overrated" who trots out first, per The Plain Dealer.

Updates from Monday, Aug. 11

NFL: Around The League provides a statement from Johnny Manziel discussing his battle with Brian Hoyer:

Updates from Sunday, Aug. 10

ESPN's Bob Holtzman reports who is currently leading the Cleveland Browns' quarterback battle:

According to Daryl Ruiter of 92.3 The Fan, coach Mike Pettine denies this notion:

Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer has more from Pettine:

Nate Ulrich of continued with an additional statement from Pettine:

'No, we put Brian out there with the ones [Saturday] and that was for a reason because he was ahead because of his edge in experience and the lead he had with the playbook. He's done nothing to have that taken away from him, but Johnny has made some improvement, a lot of improvement. With the things where he was behind in the spring, I think he's gotten a pretty firm grasp on. And as we said before, it was him versus the playbook, and he's handling it well. It was his first live game situation of an active play clock and having to get the call and repeat it and get everybody lined up and the motions executed, which we do a lot of. He's really gone from extreme to the other, and I think he's handled it well. Brian, on the other hand, has been solid.'

The coaches have not decided which quarterback will start in the second exhibition game Aug. 18 at Washington, Pettine said. He expects both of them to work with the first-team offense during practices this week.

Peter King of Sports Illustrated provided a statement from Browns safety Donte Whitner discussing the battle between Manziel and Hoyer:

It’s been fierce. Two guys fighting for their lives. It’s close. I’d say [the locker room] is split about 50-50. We know they both can play.

King continued with an additional statement from Whitner discussing Manziel specifically:

Very quiet. Very respectful. He’s earning his keep so far. He’s not asking for any privileges. He’s just a rookie, and he’s acting like one. When we have the rookie show, he’ll sing just like the rest of them. As far as football goes, I’m seeing him put the ball on the money like a veteran. Sometimes the receiver drops it. Sometimes the receiver isn’t even looking for the ball and it bounces off him. He’s got the confidence a quarterback has to have.

NFL Around the League previously reported who is expected to start the team's second preseason game:

Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 6

Zac Jackson of Fox Sports Ohio provides updates on the ongoing quarterback battle between Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel:

Jackson also passed along comments from Manziel:

Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer passes along more details from Browns coach Mike Pettine:

Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal has more from Hoyer:

Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 5

Pat McManamon of ESPN passes along coach Mike Pettine's comments on the depth chart:

Zac Jackson of Fox Sports Ohio describes the ongoing quarterback battle:

Mary Kay Cabot of confirms the latest on the Browns' quarterback battle:

Updates from Monday, Aug. 4

Following practice, head coach Mike Pettine discussed his quarterback competition and who the starter will be vs. Detroit (via NFL Around the League, Mary Kay Cabot of and Daryl Ruiter of 92.3 The Fan):

Earlier, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reported on what activities Johnny Manziel participated in during practice:

Updates from Saturday, August 2

ESPN's Chris Mortensen has the latest on Johnny Manziel's progress:

Updates from Thursday, July 31

ESPN's Pat McManamon provides comments from Johnny Manziel:

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:

Ian Rapoport of reported on the likely scenario for the Cleveland Browns at starting quarterback:

Shanahan spoke about a package for Manziel with Tony Grossi of

I would do it if it looked like the right thing to do. 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 Shanahan about Manziel and reps with the first team:

Manziel also spoke about his process of adjusting to the NFL (via Ian Rapoport):

Zac Jackson of Fox Sports has more from Manziel:

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 about Cleveland's QB battle:

Updates from Friday, July 25

ESPN's Bob Holtzman has more on the Browns' quarterback battle:

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

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 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 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

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'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:

Pat McManamon of has more from Manziel:

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

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 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:

Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal had more from Browns practice:

Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer provides coach Mike Pettine's thoughts on Manziel's trip to Las Vegas:

Updates from Thursday, May 22

Kevin Patra of 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.

Original Text

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:

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:

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

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'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:

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.

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.


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