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

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.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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