At long last, the Cleveland Browns’ starting quarterback debate has been settled.
At least for now.
Browns coach Mike Pettine told reporters Wednesday morning that Brian Hoyer has been named the team’s starting quarterback going forward, winning the position over rookie Johnny Manziel.
“He was the clear leader from the beginning,” Pettine said, via ClevelandBrowns.com. “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.”
The former New England Patriots backup had been splitting first-team reps with Manziel for much of the preseason, switching off series with the 21-year-old in their first two preseason contests. In Monday night’s preseason game against the Washington Redskins, Hoyer completed just two of six passes for 16 yards.
Manziel was 7-for-16 for 65 yards and a touchdown, but he garnered some negative headlines when ESPN cameras caught him giving the middle finger to the Redskins’ sideline after a play.
Despite concerns about the Texas A&M product’s character, Pettine insisted that his decision was not a negative reflection on Manziel but a positive one on Hoyer.
“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.”
The Browns will be back on the field Saturday night when they take on the St. Louis Rams in their third preseason game at 8 p.m.
Photo via Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports Images
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