Report: Johnny Manziel moves ahead of Brian Hoyer for starting job

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

Should Johnny Manziel be the Browns' Week 1 starter? (USATSI)
Should Johnny Manziel be the Browns' Week 1 starter? (USATSI)

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That didn't take long. Hours after Johnny Manziel made his NFL debut, the Browns rookie has moved into the lead for the starting job ahead of Brian Hoyer, a team source told ESPN's Bob Holtzman.

The veteran Hoyer was the starter heading into training camp, and first-year coach Mike Pettine gave Hoyer the nod over Manziel in Saturday's preseason game against the Lions. And while Hoyer did nothing to lose the job, Manziel made a good case for why he deserves more playing time.

As we wrote Saturay night, Hoyer's steady-as-she-goes effort won't be enough. Even though Manziel went three-and-out in his first series, in subsequent series he showed glimpses of what made him such a dynamo at Texas A&M.

Put another way: With Hoyer it's "what you see is what you get." Meanwhile, we have no idea just how good Manziel will be. For a team coming off a 4-12 season and perpetually in search of a franchise quarterback, the decision seems pretty straightforward, even if Pettine hasn't come out and said it.

There's a good chance Manziel starts against the Redskins on Aug. 18, and if he shows improvement from his solid outing in Detroit -- no matter how well Hoyer plays -- we'd be hard-pressed to come up with a scenario in which Pettine, who has said he wants to name a starter before Week 3, doesn't give Johnny Football the job.

Maybe Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and his half-century of NFL experience is right to expect to see Manziel when the two teams meet in the regular-season opener on Sept. 7.

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