The Quarterback battle has ended with Hoyer being named the starter. Was that the right move?
A quarterback with 2 great game's last season, coming off an ACL injury versus a decorated college quarterback with some off-field "partying" issue's came to an end early Wednesday morning with the Cleveland Browns announcing the team has chosen Brian Hoyer to be it's starting quarterback.
While a training camp battle ensued for the mass majority of the offseason, it was difficult to read where the Browns were heading on offense and who would be at the helm. Hoyer and Manziel would say all the right things about the team, all the right things about their stance on the quarterback position as a whole. Day after day and practice after practice stood massive amounts of questions regarding the positional battle and those questions did not just stay within the two players. It also traveled throughout the locker room with various responses from many of the athletes. As a whole, their answers seemed divided. You had veteran player's wanting to roll with the veteran quarterback in Hoyer and you had some vet's with younger player's ready to go to battle with the younger and inexperienced Manziel. A locker room divided.
Hoyer also spent a lot of the offseason at the Browns facility, rehabbing his knee injury that potentially ruined a very solid year for the 5th year undraftted signal caller from Michigan State. At the time of his injury, Hoyer had averaged 295 passing yards and 2.5 touchdowns a game, surging his team to two straight wins before going down with the knee. He also was credited with the win the following week because he was the starting quarterback when he injured, but only threw for 25 yards, so we can safely throw that out of the equation. Needless to say, he fared pretty well in 2013 as a starter.
Manziel on the other hand has had mostly an offseason to forget. Coming out of Texas A&M, Manziel was as decorated a college quarterback as ever without winning a National Title. He won a Heisman Trophy in a season where there was also very many player's that were well deserving of the award but Johnny Football was that much more impressive. The next season, in a down year as a team, Manziel, statistically, was better on paper then he had been the previous season. He threw for 4,114 with 37 touchdowns to 13 interceptions. He also has the running element in his game, rushing for 2,169 yards with 30 touchdowns in his two seasons as a starter. Needless to say, the credentials are there for Manziel to warrant potentially starting in the NFL. An offseason marred by seemingly excessive partying and drugs, with little to no sign of showing a face in the playbook, put Manziel behind the 8-ball (no pun intended) with the Browns therefore making it a little more difficult to win any kind of positional battle.
Both have had preseason games to forget, showing inability to move the ball and the chains consistently. Manziel has shown flashes of his college self, but for obvious reason's this isn't 18 and 19 year old kids. They're grown men looking to get payed, looking to hurt someone, and a ton faster. Preseason is completely different from the real thing, but it's a fairly good indicator of how someone is going to play. It's different under those bright light's. We all know that. Looking at the stats:
Johnny Manziel - 14/27 128 yards ,1 TD
Brian Hoyer - 8/20 108 yards, 0 TD
Not impressive to say the least. It's hard to have faith in any of these quarterbacks heading into your season and I completely understand why head coach Mike Pettine went with the veteran Hoyer. That's it right there, because he's a veteran. He's had a small sample size and a sample size at that. Manziel has not. His explanation "all along", was if the QB race was close from the get-go that he would go with the veteran Hoyer. Understandably so. But you have to wonder if it was truly a fair fight. DId Manziel's offseason have anything to do with it? Neither have played well to this point, but I think it's a little safer to say that Manziel has had a better preseason then Hoyer, who should be running away with this job.
"After Further Review...", I believe that Manziel has the most potential to make the Browns turn into a winner. That's not to say that it'll happen the minute he steps foot on to the field, nor is it a knock on Hoyer who has showed flashes of a guy that sat behind the great quarterback of all-time and learned from the best in Tom Brady. Manziel has that "it" factor and his speed only helps his cause as well. He's shown plus arm strength thus far in two games played with a little bit of a knack of finding that ten yard marker. Hoyer will have a chance to change everyone's mind and come out and play out of his mind. He's shown flashes of it. I just think that if Hoyer starts all season they are an under .500 team. With Manziel, I believe that they would have a chance at .500 in a tough division. Without Josh Gordon for most, if not all season, is going to make it extremely difficult for the Browns to do much on offense regardless. But if I had to choose, I'd probably go with Johnny Football.