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The other highly anticipated rookie-versus-veteran quarterback battle takes place in Cleveland Browns training camp, where Brian Hoyer is attempting to fend off a challenge from No. 22 overall pick Johnny Manziel.
So far, so good for Hoyer, at least in the eyes of media, such as USA Today’s Lindsay H. Jones, who have been present for the opening sessions of Browns camp.
“If the Cleveland Browns quarterback competition were only two days long, Brian Hoyer would be the winner, and it wouldn't be close,” Jones wrote.
“Through the first two practices, Hoyer and Manziel have gone through basically the same script of plays,” Jones added, with Hoyer running with the starters and Manziel manning the second-team offense.
While Jones also clarified that the competition is far from over and that the Browns have not yet added read-option plays and designed quarterback runs to the script, she said Hoyer has been “the clear leader” thus far.
It’s not just Jones who thinks so. According to ESPN’s Bob Holtzman, the expectation among Browns players is that coach Mike Pettine will name Hoyer as the team’s starting quarterback “well before” the team’s third preseason game.
It will come as a surprise if Manziel, an exciting dual-threat quarterback who will add playmaking ability to the field that every defense must account for, doesn’t get a shot to play at some point in his rookie season. After all, it’s hard to believe that the Browns would have drafted Manziel in Round 1 if they didn’t think he could make an impact sooner than later.
To this point, however, all indications have been that Hoyer is far ahead of the developing Manziel in the quarterback competition. As Manziel progresses, he could catch up.
But because the rookie has to become more comfortable in pocket-passing situations, it makes sense for the Browns to proceed with the idea that Hoyer, who played well in three starts before tearing his ACL last season, should lead them into battle in Week 1.