The Cleveland Browns have opted to go with an undrafted free agent as the starting quarterback over the former Heisman Trophy-winner just selected in the first round.
The team named Brian Hoyer the starter over Johnny Manziel Wednesday morning. Manziel hasn’t wowed coaches with his preseason play, throwing for 128 yards in two games and completing 14 of 27 passes for one touchdown and zero interceptions. The Ohio native Hoyer won fans over as the starter in several games last season before falling to a knee injury.
The rookie rising to the top of the depth chart before Week 1 seemed an unlikely scenario even in the heady atmosphere in Radio City Music Hall on Draft Day. The Texas A&M product didn’t do much to rewrite the script. Manziel made the wrong kind of headlines between the draft and training camp by partying with Justin Bieber, Rob Gronkowski, and other celebrities. The 21-year-old showed up late to at least one team meeting and acted like a 21-year-old by flipping the bird to the Washington Redskins sideline on Monday Night Football earlier this week.
BREAKING: Brian Hoyer to lead Browns, named starting quarterback. pic.twitter.com/EGKWJ5t2pZ
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 20, 2014
Browns head coach Mike Pettine contended that Manziel’s progress pleased him but that Hoyer enjoyed a “decided edge” on the air-ground dual threat. “He was the clear leader from the beginning,” the rookie coach said of Tom Brady’s former understudy. “We’ve maintained all along that if it was close, I would prefer to go with the more experienced player. Brian has done a great job in the meeting rooms and with his teammates on the practice field and in the locker room.”