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Browns coach Mike Pettine denies report that Manziel is ahead of Hoyer

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

Coach Mike Pettine says there's no clear favorite between Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel. (USATSI)
Coach Mike Pettine says there's no clear favorite between Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel. (USATSI)

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One way or the other, we'll definitely know who the Browns' starting quarterback is before the third preseason game. For now, though, no decisions have been made, despite an ESPN report saying that Johnny Manziel had moved ahead of Brian Hoyer on the depth chart.

On Sunday, coach Mike Pettine called the report "untrue."

"I'm not sure who his team source would be," Pettine said during a conference call (via the Akron Beacon-Journal), "but to me, the people most involved in the decision are myself and [quarterbacks coach] Dowell Loggains and [offensive coordinator] Kyle Shanahan. So it's something that I'm not going to pay a lot of attention to because I don't like being in the business of anonymous sources."

Both Hoyer and Manziel played well in Saturday's preseason opener against the Lions but Pettine says there's no clear choice after one game.

"If there was a clear-cut favorite at this point, it would probably mean that one of them wasn't playing very well," the coach said. "It's a good problem to have, having two guys that we think are both capable of being NFL starters. ...

"We put Brian out there with the ones [Saturday] and that was for a reason because he was ahead because of his edge in experience and the lead he had with the playbook," Pettine continued. "He's done nothing to have that taken away from him, but Johnny has made some improvement, a lot of improvement. He's come in with the things where he was behind, I think he's gotten a pretty firm grasp on. And as we said before, it was him versus the playbook, and he's handling it well. It was his first live game situation of an active play clock and having to get the call and repeat it and get everybody lined up and the motions executed, which we do a lot of. He's really gone from extreme to the other, and I think he's handled it well. With Brian, on the other hand, that has been solid."

Pettine would like to name a starter by Aug. 23, when the Browns face the Rams in their Week 3 preseason game.

"When we sit down and look at the big picture, it's who gives us the best chance to win," Pettine said. "That's the bottom line."

Cleveland faces Pittsburgh in the regular-season opener on Sept. 7. Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau stated last week that he expects to face Manziel.

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