This is great news if you're Brian Hoyer: First-year Browns coach Mike Pettine is committed to an open, fair competition for the starting quarterback job. This may sound dubious since the Browns traded up in the first round to grab Johnny Manziel 22nd overall. But as it stands, some two months out from the start of training camp, the plan is that the best man will be under center when the season begins, the mystique of Johnny Football notwithstanding.
"(Manziel) will be the first one to tell you that he earned 'Johnny Football' as a college quarterback, and he knows he has to earn it as an NFL quarterback," Pettine told NFL Network Thursday. "We're not going to let jersey sales determine our depth chart."
(In related news: Manziel leads rookie jersey sales.)
"I'm not adverse to playing a rookie," Pettine said. "I've been a part of some of those situations -- whether it's Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez, situations where we had a rookie quarterback and we ended up building a solid team around them and we're able to have success. I'm not going to take a hard line either way. He's going to be part of a competition with Brian Hoyer for that starting job."
For now, Hoyer is trying to make the most of this opportunity.
"I think -- and everyone else has made it clear -- that [they're] not going to be just kind of pushing me aside,” he said recently. “So I knew, even going back to last summer, that this was the place that I wanted to be and it ended up working out and I got back here, and then I got a chance to play."
But everybody -- you, me, owner Jimmy Haslam, that homeless dude who helped land Manziel -- knows that it's just a matter of time before Johnny Football is playing. And hopefully, his career in Cleveland ends up better than the previous Browns quarterbacks taken 22nd overall: Brandon Weeden and Brady Quinn.
How smart is this guy gonna look when Johnny takes the same route to Big D as a couple of other ex-Browns QBs have? pic.twitter.com/Kn3rJYJgPl— Matt Tabeek (@TabeekCBS) May 22, 2014