Manziel Benched, But Browns Consider Two-QB System

Although Brian Hoyer has been named the starter, the Browns are considering a two-QB system. If true, Johnny Manziel may still see extended playing time.

Johnny Manziel Browns Practice
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Brian Hoyer was named the Cleveland Browns starting quarterback this week, putting a damper on Johnny Manziel mania. But going into today’s game preseason against the St. Louis Rams, Browns coach Mike Pettine said the Browns are considering a two-QB system, re-igniting the discussion about “Johnny Football.”

Speaking to “The Opening Drive” show on SiriusXM NFL Radio, coach Pettine said “I think in the NFL that you do yourself a disservice if you don’t have two quarterbacks ready. People have asked me about potentially a two-quarterback system and having a package for [Manziel]. That is on the table.”

So you’re saying there’s hope, coach?

Whether Manziel or his fanbase asks that question most is up for debate. But it’s the type of comment that won’t let the Manziel mania really go away. One wonders whether it’s distracting for Hoyer, too, who by all accounts was pleased to let the starting QB talk finally die down after being named the starter for the Browns’ week 1 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In fact, Coach Pettine didn’t seem to mind keeping Hoyer on edge. “I don’t know if that’s anything that we want to commit to just now because Brian [Hoyer] — because of the competition — is a little bit behind in the chemistry and continuity of working with that first group.”

Saying things like a two-QB system is “on the table” and that his starting QB “is a little bit behind” working with the first group isn’t generally a great way to build confidence. It may just be Pettine trying to goad Hoyer into working harder and improving faster.

Or, it may be a sign that the Browns are truly considering their options for a two-QB system in which Hoyer and Manziel would split the snaps. We aren’t likely to find out more in the Browns’ two remaining preseason games, as Hoyer will be given extended reps to improve that chemistry. If the two-QB system starts to take shape, it’ll likely first appear in Week 2.

“We didn’t see him as truly behind, but it was just Brian had that slight edge,” Pettine said of Manziel. “We’re confident that if we do put Johnny in a game, he’ll play well.”

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