The Cleveland Browns second preseason game will come on Monday against the Washington Redskins, and the big storyline continues to be the even starting quarterback battle between rookie Johnny Manziel and veteran Brian Hoyer. Both players looked good in the team’s opener against the Detroit Lions, and Manziel is quickly gaining respect around the league and within the locker room after flashing a strong arm and his trademark playmaking ability as a runner against the Lions. Statistically, he fared out better than Hoyer in the first preseason game, but Hoyer showed better anticipation, command of the pocket, and had some pinpoint passes.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot, Browns head coach Mike Pettine hopes he can name a starter by Tuesday, but he stated that what makes the decision so difficult is the fact that both Hoyer and Manziel have shown they can be starting-caliber quarterbacks in this league. It’s been a back-and-forth battle between both QBs, as we’ve heard many conflicting practice reports and opinions from various beat writers and insiders.
It will be interesting to see if both QBs play at about an even level against the Redskins, because then we wouldn’t get much more clarity on where both stand, especially in the eyes of Pettine. The Browns staff has plenty more tape to go over than we do, of course, as well as their own philosophical preferences to keep in mind. At this point, it looks like an even result in the competition would favor the veteran Hoyer as the Week 1 starter, but Kyle Shanahan is a creative OC and could do some real damage with Manziel’s legs; watching him run the read option with backs like Ben Tate and Terrance West would be a real treat.