Brian Hoyer will start this Sunday as the Browns quarterback vs. the Steelers. That much we know (we think), because Cleveland coach Mike Pettine said a couple weeks ago that he would prefer to go with Hoyer's experience instead of first-round pick Johnny Manziel.
But that doesn't mean Manziel isn't going to play this weekend, because Pettine also has hinted that he could utilize a two-quarterback system where Manziel has his own package of plays.
As such, Pittsburgh is preparing for Hoyer ... and for Manziel.
"We fully expect them to utilize him in some capacity in this football game," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told reporters Tuesday, via USA Today. "They didn't draft him in the first round to watch. ... We understand that."
But Pettine also said we might not see Manziel right away, because he liked the way Hoyer played in the preseason when he wasn't having to share first-round reps with Manziel.
"It's something we'll discuss," Pettine said recently when asked about the possibility of playing Manziel vs. Pittsburgh. "... We'll have discussions on how we want to game plan and how we want to use those guys. I think one of the reasons that Brian and the first team did look better [in the final preseason game] is because we didn't mix the reps and he got all the reps with the No. 1s. A big part ... was getting those guys playing together and getting that cohesion."
Plus, there's also the issue of possible gamesmanship and how Pettine is forcing the Steelers to prepare for Manziel even though the Browns might not let him see the field at all. But Tomlin isn't buying that storyline.
Said Tomlin: "I don't believe that because I believe all the things they're going to potentially ask (Manziel) to do Brian Hoyer is fully capable of doing it as well. ... I just think when you have a talent like Johnny Manziel, you're going to get him on the field and help him grow and develop."