Haslam expects QB competition

CANTON, Ohio -- Honesty is the best policy, and the Cleveland Browns were honest about their expectations of new quarterback Johnny Manziel, whom the team selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft last Thursday.

Speaking to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club in Canton on Monday, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said he expects Manziel to compete for the starting job, but has told the former Heisman Trophy winner that he is the backup to starter Brian Hoyer and needs to approach the game as such.

"(Coach) Mike Pettine said it very well, 'I'm telling you right now, you're our backup quarterback and you need to start acting as such,'" Haslam said. "I think there is a Johnny Football aura out there. There's nothing wrong with that. It is what it is, but I think you'll find a guy that's a hard-working, serious guy that doesn't want to be a three-year-in-the-league flash that makes a lot of money off endorsements.

"He's a football player who likes football. He's highly competitive, and I think you'll see a guy who's going to come in here and go to work, hard. We were very frank with him on Friday that that's the expectation. He's the backup quarterback because this is a hard-working, blue-collar town. 'This isn't Hollywood.'

"'We want you to come in here, go to work, and work as hard as anybody on the team.' He's not the starter. Brian Hoyer's the starting quarterback. Johnny's the backup. They'll compete. If Johnny wins the job, fine. If not, Brian will be the quarterback."

Haslam fully expects Manziel to be motivated by more than just the opportunity to compete for a starting quarterback job in the NFL.

"I think you'll see Johnny perform that way," Haslam said. "Johnny wants to win games. He was a little upset that he went 22. He was a little upset that he was the second quarterback taken. I think he comes in with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder to show the people that he's about winning games, not all the other stuff."

In Hoyer, Manziel will compete against a quarterback who started three games for the Browns last fall before suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on Oct. 3 that cost him the rest of the season.

It is because of that knee injury that Haslam hoped, but not demanded, general manager Ray Farmer select a quarterback in the draft.

"I thought it was important that we take a quarterback this year because Brian Hoyer, a great guy, a great leader, but he hasn't played that much and is coming off of an injury," Haslam said. "We picked the top-rated quarterback on our board when he was available. That was solely Ray's call, not my call.

"Brian is what you want in a football player. He's what you want in a quarterback. He loves football. He's way ahead of schedule on his rehab. We're doing 7-on-7 right now, and he can do the 7-on-7. Trainers want to be careful and make sure no one falls on him during 11-on-11and falls on his knee, but he'll be full-scale come training camp. It's his job to lose, and I think you'll see him compete and compete hard."


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