5 Questions in 5 Days: Hoyer vs. Manziel – Part 1
If there is one thing that Cleveland Browns fans are far too familiar with, it is quarterback competitions during training camp.
From Romeo Crennel flipping a coin to choose between Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson, to quarterback battles pitting Tim Couch vs. Kelly Holcomb, Brady Quinn vs. Anderson, and Brandon Weeden vs. Jason Campbell, Browns fans have seen more than their share of underwhelming bouts.
Now here we are in 2014 and the latest quarterback fight that is all the talk: Brian Hoyer vs. Johnny Manziel.
This competition is different than previous ones, however. In past years, we’ve seen the head coach mismanaged the process by constantly switching from quarterback to quarterback, never allowing either player to find a rhythm. Or else they were faced with having to choose a quarterback not based on who gave the team the best chance to win, but rather who was the least likely to screw things up.
While head coach Mike Pettine and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan can still mess this up if they make the wrong decision, or make the right decision at the wrong time, at least they are facing a decision that should have a positive outcome.
Pettine has said he expects to name a starting quarterback (Hoyer) by the Browns third preseason friendly, when Cleveland takes on St. Louis on Aug. 23. Once Pettine names a starter (Hoyer), that quarterback (Hoyer) will play the majority of that game before setting out the final preseason friendly.
Tomorrow’s post will delve into the question of who should be the starter when the season opens on Sept. 7 in Pittsburgh; for today we’re looking at what the fallout will be from a certain segment of the fans once Pettine makes his call on the starting quarterback.
Today’s question: After Pettine names Brian Hoyer the starter but Johnny Manziel lights up a bunch of free agents in the final preseason friendly against Chicago, how will the average Browns fan react?
We’re joined again today at our Orange-and-Brown-covered Algonquin round table by Ryan Alton from Draft Browns, Mike Burgermeister from jimkanicki.com, Dave Kolonich, Murray Alexander from East of Ehlo, Jeff Rich from More Than A Fan – Cleveland, Rick Grayshock from Waiting for Next Year, and Mike Krupka from Dawgs by Nature.
Ryan: We know how this goes. The backup quarterback is always the most popular guy in town. Johnny also happens to be the most popular guy in the NFL. There will be blood!
Mike B.: Predictably.
On Manziel, all things being equal I would have passed him by. The only solace I find when projecting Manziel is that the draftbrowns.com guys love him. Those are the same guys who rated Mike Evans over Sammy Watkins; in other words, they do their own analysis and are not swayed by prevailing hype. I trust their work and they love him so I’m going to ride with that. (Even though I suspect head coach Kevin Sumlin and Texas A&M will be improved this year without Manziel.)
Dave: Bros before Hoes.
Murray: Ha-ha well, I think Hoyer is not going to have a lot of breathing room this year. I would hope that expectations based on preseason would be tempered somewhat by Brandon Weeden tearing it up last year and then laying just the biggest egg in the regular season, but I really don’t think that’s the case. I can’t even promise you I won’t be clamouring for Manziel in that situation.
Jeff: Like James Davis or any other August hero is the next Jim Brown? I really don’t know what to say here, trying to create the take of an average fan proves difficult. I think the consensus will be that the team has something special in Manziel, that his floor might be higher than Hoyer’s ceiling, and I would hope they’d see the benefits to Johnny spending a few games or even a full season on an NFL bench. Chances are, this conversation will light up the comments sections at cleveland.com and WFNY, with nothing substantial being taken away from any of it.
Rick: I think you know the answer here. Kind of feel bad for Hoyer, who will hear Manziel’s name shouted from the start of camp – in his own hometown.
Mike K.: Once Johnny helps us cross off “pre-season game four victory” from our bucket list, Cleveland fans will undoubtedly dress up in tear-away Chicago Bulls jerseys (sporting a Craig Ehlo jersey underneath), find their way to Michael Jordan’s house, and pee on it.
Hey, I had no choice!
Kidding aside, no matter what happens in game four of the preseason, one thing always is a constant in Cleveland – fans clamor for the backup when things aren’t going well. I just hope that coach Pettine sticks to his plan with his coaches. For me, fans can clamor all they want, but the only voice that matters is the voice of victory. Wins baby. W’s. If we’re not winning, Manziel’s name will be called. If we are winning, he’ll continue to learn the playbook and the nuances of the position at the NFL level until he’s needed – and I’m perfectly OK with that.
Another day, another win from everyone. We can’t believe the series wraps up tomorrow. If you missed Day 1 of the series, you can find it here. Day 2 is over here. And Day 3 is right here.
Coming tomorrow: Hoyer or Manziel; who you got as the starter?
(Photos courtesy of clevelandbrowns.com)
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