BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Brian Hoyer knows Johnny Manziel is gunning for his job, but the Browns’ incumbent starting quarterback wants to make one thing clear.
It’s his job to lose.
“To me, this is my team until someone else tells me otherwise,” Hoyer said.
And after a rain-soaked practice Monday morning, the evidence would point to that still being the case, as Hoyer took his reps with the first-team offense, relegating Manziel to second-team duty. He may be fighting for the starting job, but for now, the Browns remain Hoyer’s team.
That doesn’t mean Manziel won’t get the opportunity to prove himself before Cleveland takes on Washington next Monday night. Browns coach Mike Pettine said the reps will be mixed this week, and a decision on the starting quarterback for the second preseason game will come later in the week.
In other words, nothing is locked up. However, Hoyer still has the inside track at the starting job he’s been maintaining to this point. And it might not be that tenuous of a lead, according to Pettine. As far as he’s concerned, Hoyer is in the same position he’s been in all of training camp.
“Nothing’s changed. If there was a significant change on the depth chart, it would be reflected on the field,” Pettine said.
But Hoyer and Manziel haven’t been able to create much distance between each other.
In Saturday’s preseason opener, a 13-12 loss to the Detroit Lions, Hoyer completed 6 of 14 passes for 92 yards. Manziel was 7 of 11 for 63 yards, but flashed the ability to use his legs by rushing for 27 yards on six carries. Neither quarterback was able to get his team into the end zone.
Neither looked particularly sharp in sloppier, rainy conditions on Monday. Hoyer threw two interceptions, one each to Joe Haden and Buster Skrine. On Haden’s interception, Hoyer’s intended receiver, Miles Austin, slipped in the slick grass and allowed Haden to get the pick.