First-year coach Mike Pettine could have done better with the Browns' quarterback situation in recent weeks, but he seems to have learned from his mistake. After naming Brian Hoyer the starter, Pettine put to rest the idea that rookie Johnny Manziel could see the field in specialty packages or otherwise.
"This is Brian's job," the coach said Wednesday, via ESPN.com. "I never think of it as it's a leash or we want a guy to be a game manager. We want him to be confident and go out and play."
So, under what situation might we see Manziel?
"Give me a crystal ball and I'll give you that answer," Pettine said. "The season is so long. So much can happen, and we don't want ... Brian looking over his shoulder thinking, 'Hey, I make one bad throw and I'm out.' But over time, if you feel you need to make a change -- it's not just at quarterback, it'll be at other positions as well. You have guys that you have penciled in that you hope can be that guy for you for the year, but that rarely works out in the league. Time will only tell.
"You could see a scenario where he doesn't play this year, and then there are other scenarios that are absolutely possible as well. It's hard to tell."
The scenario where Hoyer keeps his job will almost certainly include the Browns avoiding an 0-3 start. They face the Steelers, Saints and Ravens in those first three games before a Week 4 bye. We're guessing there will be loud, frequent calls for Manziel to take over at that point because, well, why not?
For now, though, Johnny Football accepts his role.
"I need to earn everything for me to get in," he said. "Nothing should be given to me, I completely understand that. I need to continue to come in here every day and get better and be around these guys and let them know who I am and how I am."
Manziel even thinks a year on the sidelines could be in his long-term best interests.
"I think it will be great," he said of possibly redshirting his rookie season. "When I first got to (Texas) A&M, if people had seen me they'd say no way this guy goes on to do what I've done the past two years, three years. When I had to redshirt at A&M, it was hard, it was frustrating, but at the same time I got a lot better in that year and a half that I had to sit and watch. Whenever my number is called and it's my time, I'll be ready."
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