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There's a good chance we'll see Johnny Manziel in Week 5 vs. Titans

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Johnny Manziel has to wait on the bench ... for now.
Johnny Manziel has to wait on the bench ... for now. (USATSI)

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We're spinning out bold predictions all week but here's one that barely takes a spine to make after this morning's news: Johnny Manziel will get a shot soon at the Browns starting quarterback job.

He was a first round pick so these things tend to happen pretty regularly. But I'm talking soon. Like, Week 5 or earlier. So no need to be sad, Johnny Football Bench.

How does this work? Well, Brian Hoyer might get all the verbal support in the world from the Browns front office and coaching staff even while going 8 of 22 in the preseason.

It's only the preseason so let's not get worked up about completion percentages and whatnot, but three things don't belong on this reverse leaderboard (hint: they're all veteran quarterbacks) and Hoyer is one of them.

The reality is he hasn't been good. These aren't manipulated stats trying to tell a different story; anyone who watched Monday night knows how terrible Hoyer looked.

So there's a good chance Hoyer stinks the joint up when actual football is being played, giving the Browns pause to think about starting Manziel.

Exacerbating the early going for Hoyer is Cleveland's schedule.

The Browns open at Pittsburgh and then play the Saints and Ravens at home before their very early Week 4 bye. If I gave you 5:1 odds on the Browns being 0-3 on September 22 you would be wise to put your mortgage, your car, your first born down and probably your second born down on it.

Cleveland's got a good defense but offensively speaking it's challenged. Josh Gordon is going to be out. Jordan Cameron and the rest of the weapons haven't looked great. The offensive line's struggled to block for either Hoyer or Manziel. They're starting Brian Hoyer.

Going 0-3 and heading into the bye is cookie cutter for a quarterback controversy. Flaming sports takes will be flying, with fans, radio hosts and myriad talking heads screaming about seeing what Manziel can do.

There's no better time to make a quarterback change than the bye, either, because it gives the new guy two weeks to prepare for the next opponent, which is in this case the Titans. Not too shabby a landing spot for Johnny Football. The Steelers at home after that aren't easy, but welcome to the AFC North. Manziel would then get the Jaguars (road), Raiders (home) and Buccaneers (home).

In terms of a four-game landing strip, it doesn't get much smoother than that, provided you're willing to wait and start your franchise quarterback. Or maybe the Browns wanted the added bonus of dishing out a little humility for the brash youngster.

Whatever the case, when you bore down the decision to start Hoyer it actually looks pretty smart in a sacrificial lamb sort of way. It's just the process that would never lead you to believe there's logical thinking going on here.

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