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Jaworski believes 'more experienced’ Brian Hoyer should start opener against the Steelers

Posted Jun 13, 2014

Senior Editor Vic Carucci says ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski has strong opinions about the Browns’ quarterbacks.

Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel

If it were up to Ron Jaworski, Brian Hoyer would be the Cleveland Browns’ starting quarterback for their Sept. 7 opener at Pittsburgh.

“I think you’re going to want the more experienced guy,” the ESPN NFL analyst said while on hand for the Browns’ mandatory minicamp this week.

Does that mean Jaws believes rookie Johnny Manziel has no chance to become the starter? Hardly.

In fact, Jaworski is expecting Hoyer and Manziel to wage an intense competition through training camp and the preseason.

“We all know Manziel’s a fiery, fierce competitor, and so is Brian Hoyer,” he said. “That’s what’s going to make this so enjoyable for Browns fans to watch this competition, because these are two guys that are going to go in the middle of the ring and duke it out. They’re that competitive.

“(Hoyer) wants this job; it’s his job. He’s ticked off right now. He’s got that chip on his shoulder. He’s heard enough of Johnny Manziel. And oh, by the way, competition is good.”

This is how Jaworski breaks down Hoyer and Manziel:

>“When I watched (video of) Johnny Manziel, I did not see a collegiate game that projected to the National Football League (as) a first-round pick. I thought Johnny would have gone with the first pick in the second round to the Houston Texans. But I saw a great collegiate quarterback.”

>“I truly believe, after being around this game for 41 years now, that you have to play from the pocket first. Mobility is certainly a great attribute to have, but it’s got to be the last resource that you use to make a play work. You’ve got to play the game from the pocket, you’ve got to read progressions, you’ve got to anticipate, you’ve got to get the ball out of your hands. And I did not see enough of that in his college-level tape. Hopefully, he can become a student of the game, bear down on this practice and his work ethic and maybe he can learn all those things that are so important to being consistent in the NFL.”

>Jaworski is stunned that Hoyer is on his fourth NFL team (after stops in New England, Pittsburgh, and Arizona).  “Coming out of college, I loved his game. Couldn’t have fallen in a better landing spot than Bill Belichick’s New England style of offense, working with a Tom Brady. And whenever he played in New England, he played well. And that includes the preseason.”

>Jaworski sees the guidance of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan being a “significant help” to Manziel’s development. “Kyle Shanahan brought along a young quarterback two years ago, Robert Griffin III (with the Redskins). And he designed his offense around the skill set of Robert Griffin III – the running game, the quarterback bootleg, the keepers, the play-action. Almost developed a hybrid style of offense, which was very effective until RG3 got hurt.”

>“And that’s the problem you face in the National Football League with mobile quarterbacks: they get hurt. For 17 years, when I was a player, I heard defensive coaches at halftime, at practice, pregame speeches ... they don’t say, ‘When you get to the quarterback, wrap him up and drag him down slowly and gently.’ They say, ‘Bend his facemask, knock him out of the game, because the best chance we have of winning is when the backup quarterback comes in the game.’ There’s a reason why mobile quarterbacks do not have consistent success in the NFL. We’ve seen a Doug Flutie, a Fran Tarkenton, a Russell Wilson last year. But they’re few and far between.”

>Jaworski needed to watch only one of the Browns’ offseason practices to see that Hoyer belonged where coach Mike Pettine has placed him on the depth chart entering training camp: at the top. “It was obvious watching practice that Hoyer is clearly ahead right now. He’s a much more polished guy. You can see the way he commands the offense at the line of scrimmage. There’s a swagger to his game right now. Johnny’s still learning the game.”

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