The Cleveland Browns are on the verge of announcing who will start at quarterback for them Week 1 vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, as the team’s head coach Mike Pettine said on Friday that the decision will be made Tuesday.
But what’s the right move? Should the Browns go with the flashy rookie Johnny Manziel or the respected veteran Brian Hoyer?
At this point, I’d roll with Manziel if I were Pettine.
While the perception of Hoyer seems to be that he’s this trustworthy and experienced player, it’s worth noting he appeared in just three games for the Browns last year (and just 18 in his five-year career).
He was a solid player for Cleveland in 2013, throwing for 615 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions, but it’s not as if those numbers are spectacular and three pretty good games is nothing to go crazy about.
The Browns have only played one preseason game to this point and Manziel outperformed Hoyer in it. Johnny Football threw for 63 yards yard on 7 of 11 passing (79.2 passer rating) and rushed for 27 yards on six carries against the Detroit Lions. Hoyer was 6 of 14 for 92 yards (65.2 passer rating).
But that one game isn’t the reason I’m taking Manziel. While the 21-year-old quarterback has rubbed a lot of football fans the wrong way with his off-the-field antics, there’s no denying his talent. He posted 4,114 passing yards and threw for 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions this past season at A&M.
He’s also obviously a huge threat on the ground, rushing for more than 2,000 yards combined in his two college seasons. That’s an element of the game that Hoyer simply does not have.
Lastly, Manziel is the future in Cleveland, whether those who hate him like it or not.
Even if the Browns start Hoyer in Week 1, they’ll turn to Johnny at some point. So why delay the inevitable? It’s not as if the Browns are going to make a Super Bowl run with Hoyer at the helm.
Just throw Johnny out there and let’s see if he’s got what it takes to make it in this league.