When the Browns visit the Redskins on Monday night, Cleveland’s starting quarterback will be Brian Hoyer, not Johnny Manziel, coach Mike Pettine announced Thursday afternoon.
But Manziel is still expected to see significant playing time at FedEx Field. In fact, the first round pick is expected to get the same number of reps with the Browns’ starters as Hoyer, Pettine said. Manziel and Hoyer are locked in a tight battle for the No. 1 job in Cleveland.
“It’s just something right now where we are comfortable with Brian going out there to start the game,” Pettine told the team’s website. “I think it’s a little overblown as to who the starter is going to be. The key component, as I’ve stated earlier this week, is that we are going to balance the reps. We will play it a little by ear as it goes on, we haven’t truly decided as far as the rotation but the goal is, for when we look at the stat sheet at halftime, that they both have the same amount of repetitions and hopefully they both get a good amount of work.”
Manziel was 7 of 11 for 63 yards in the Browns’ 13-12 loss to the Lions last week. He also led the team in rushing with 27 yards on six carries.
On Monday, Manziel will be one of several intriguing storylines when Cleveland comes to town. The game will also mark Kyle Shanahan’s return to Landover and will feature Jon Gruden in ESPN's broadcast booth. Jon, of course, is the older brother of Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden.
The biggest story, though, will be Manziel and how he performs in a game that could settle the quarterback competition. Pettine has said he wants to name the regular season starter prior to the Browns’ third preseason game.
Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, like almost everyone else, will have his eyes on Manziel, whom he considers an acquaintance. But he insisted Thursday that he doesn’t plan to pay too much attention to the opposing signal caller.
“I know him okay." Griffin said. “We’re part of the Nissan Heisman House together. I’ve had a chance to talk to him, but my job’s not to compare. Anybody who wants to compare, I’m sure they’ll just look at us and say both of us are real fast, guys that can play backyard football at times. But, we both want to win, and I think every quarterback in the league wants to win football games, and that’s what everyone is trying to do.”
Asked to compare and contrast himself with Manziel, Griffin added: “I’ve played in the NFL, he hasn’t. He went to [Texas] A&M, I went to Baylor. Other than that, we’re all just trying to do our jobs.”