Media and fan discussion about the competition for the Browns’ starting quarterback job will begin in earnest on July 26, when the team holds its first practice of training camp.
In the meantime, here are some thoughts about the impending battle between Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel:
>Is it going to be a true competition? Absolutely. Hoyer was clearly ahead at the end of offseason workouts, but coach Mike Pettine made a point to say that the lead wasn’t “insurmountable.” That served as a not-so-subtle reminder that Manziel would have every opportunity to close the gap in training camp. As much as many of us have espoused the theory that it makes the most sense to have the more experienced Hoyer start the Sept. 7 season-opener at Pittsburgh, Pettine isn’t remotely close to reaching such a decision. He is going to allow the competition to play out through practices and preseason games, and make a determination accordingly. Manziel was drafted in the first round to start as soon as the people involved with selecting him – and that includes Pettine – are confident he’s ready. Of course, as NFL history shows, top-flight starters don’t necessarily start right away. Notable examples include Michael Vick, Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers (who sat for three whole seasons) and Colin Kaepernick.
>What else will Pettine consider when making the decision? It wouldn’t be a shock if play-making skills end up being a higher priority than avoiding errors. Remember, Pettine very much believes in a high-risk/high-reward approach to defense. As the Buffalo Bills’ defensive coordinator last season, he built a pass rush that ranked second in the NFL with a franchise-record 57 sacks. He did that largely because his scheme didn’t burden the front seven with a whole lot of concerns beyond getting to the quarterback and trying to force big plays. That mentality would figure to leave Pettine at least somewhat open to the idea of favoring the quarterback who will do whatever it takes to make something happen, which Manziel routinely displayed in college.>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET, for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com. We take your questions at 216-578-0850 and via Twitter @Browns_Daily.