While the Cleveland Browns coaching staff remains mum on the team’s official starting QB, a member of the coaching staff from their Week 1 opponent thinks the Browns’ highest-profile rookie will get the starting nod in Week 1. Was Johnny Manziel expected to start the regular season as the team’s top QB? Not five days ago. But according to Dick LeBeau, a defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, it may be Manziel’s inevitable role.
On Monday, Manziel took most of the first-team reps during the Browns practice. The Browns coaching staff, particularly head coach Pettine, said Manziel’s first-team snaps were all part of the plan and not indicative of him supplanting QB Brian Hoyer.
Steelers defensive coordinator LeBeau thinks that’s just a smoke screen.
“I’m expecting Manziel to be the starter,” LeBeau told Cleveland.com on Monday, the day Manziel took the Browns’ first-team reps. “What he did in college is not an accident. He did it often enough against good teams. I think he’s going to be a handful for all of us.”
LeBeau didn’t exactly mince words about Johnny Manziel expected to start in Week 1 against the Steelers. According to the Cleveland.com article, other members of the Steelers organization feel the same way, though they wouldn’t go on record about Manziel beating out Brian Hoyer for the Browns’ starting QB role.
The Manziel vs. Hoyer debate will gain steam tonight as the Browns take on the Detroit Lions at 7:30 Eastern. As a preseason game, the purpose of the contest is to give second-, third- and fourth-string guys some reps so the coaching staff can see what they have to offer.
The Cleveland Browns’ QB position is likely to see a different approach tonight. Hoyer will likely start the preseason game, with Manziel coming in to relieve him. By all accounts, the QBs will split time with starters and non-starters, giving the coaching staff an idea of who’ll be a better fit for the Browns’ first team.
The preseason game starter may vary from week to week, as Browns GM Ray Farmer said their starting QB decision will be based almost exclusively on Hoyer’s and Manziel’s in-game performance in preseason games.