Brian Hoyer, not Johnny Manziel, will start Week 1 for the Browns


Ryan Kerrigan wasn’t lulling Brian Hoyer to sleep Monday night. (Evan Vucci / AP)

Updated at 11 a.m. with Pettine quotes

Cleveland Browns Coach Mike Pettine named Brian Hoyer the team’s starting quarterback, ending, for now, the possibility that rookie lightning rod Johnny Manziel might get the job.

Pettine’s decision comes less than 48 hours after a “Monday Night Football” meltdown in which Manziel flipped off the Washington Redskins’ bench and was ineffective overall. Hoyer wasn’t much better, but he at least displayed poise rather than petulance Monday. Hoyer led the Browns to only one field goal in four drives (on 2-of-6 passing for 16 yards) in the first half, but he’ll get the job — for now — by default. As for Manziel, he completed 2-of-7 attempts for 29 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions — and a 44.3 rating. It was so bad for a while that No. 3 QB, Rex Grossman, was trending on Twitter during the game.

Never mind that Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said he was preparing to face Manziel in the teams’ Sept. 7 opener. He’ll get Hoyer.

“It probably couldn’t get any worse,” Hoyer, who had a 42.4 passer rating, said Monday night. “It’s disappointing. It’s embarrassing. The first play was messed up. …and it spiraled out of control.”

Even Manziel admitted — before Monday’s nightmare — that “I don’t think I’m ready for Pittsburgh” and his coaches concurred. Pettine made the call after meeting with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains on Tuesday night. Pettine didn’t deny, according to Cleveland.com, that the obscene gesture, caught on national TV, factored into the decision because of what it said about Manziel’s mindset.

“[Hoyer] was the clear leader from the beginning,” Pettine said in a release by the team. “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.”

Even Manziel knew it when he admitted last week, “I don’t think I’m ready for Pittsburgh right now.”

Keeping the job will be the trick for Hoyer. There’s a sense that Hoyer is the better choice to get the team through a rugged start against Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Baltimore. Then…hold on.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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