Pettine: No decision yet on QB

BEREA, Ohio -- Shortly before the Cleveland Browns kicked off their preseason opener against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on Saturday night, a report surfaced on ESPN that rookie Johnny Manziel would start at the Washington Redskins next Monday.

First-year Browns coach Mike Pettine has since denied that report and said no decision has been made on whether Manziel will start over veteran Brian Hoyer at Washington.

"It's such a long time going to Monday night, it'll probably be a few days," Pettine said after Monday's practice. "Nothing's changed. If there was a significant change on the depth chart, it would be reflected on the field."

Manziel and Hoyer have rotated repetitions with the first-team offense through the first two weeks of training camp, and although questions still surround who will start against the Redskins, the approach remains the same for both quarterbacks.

"To me, this is my team until someone else tells me otherwise and you just come out here and try to be the best quarterback that you can," Hoyer said. "You just ignore all of the noise and the hype and worry about what goes on in that building and what I can control. For me that's coming out here and practicing the best that I can, and when I get a chance to play, playing the best that I can."

Manziel added, "I think I need to just continue to learn, continue to absorb everything I can in this short amount of time, and then, go out and at the end, it's just play football, go out and go through your reads and execute and move the ball down the field and score points. I think whoever does that the best, obviously, is going to have a better chance at the end of the day."

After Monday's practice, Pettine insisted the decision on selecting a quarterback will be done by a committee of coaches, including himself, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, and quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains.

"I don't look at it that way that I'm on the line," Pettine said. "I'm not making decisions based on if I'm on the line. I'm making decisions based on what's best for the football team and what gives us the best opportunity to win.

"Those guys are coaches. They're right there in the frontlines with them, work with them every day. I think it's important to take their input. I'm just not going to make a decision based on what I feel. If it's unanimous, then, it's easy, but if there's a tie that has to be broken, I'll do it."

Hoyer started against the Lions last Saturday, and completed six of his 14 attempts for 92 yards, while Manziel threw for 63 yards, and ran for another 27 on six carries.

Although Manziel showed an ability to move the football -- both through the air and with his feet -- in the preseason opener, Pettine expects the rookie signal-caller to "just continue to master his craft, be efficient."

"I thought they were both solid," Pettine said. "I think they both got almost the same number of reps. Brian got 24. Johnny got 25. (They had) different supporting casts, but it was good tape, I think, for both of them. I think they both operated efficiently, operated the offense efficiently.

"We put Brian out there with the ones, and that was for a reason because he was ahead because of his edge in experience and the lead he had with the playbook. He's done nothing to have that taken away from him, but Johnny has made some improvement, a lot of improvement.

"Where he was behind in the spring, I think he has a pretty firm grasp on. As we said before, it was him versus the playbook, and he's handling it well. It was his first live game situation of an active play clock and having to get the call and repeat and get everybody lined up and the motions executed, which we do a lot of. He's really gone from one extreme to the other, and I think he's handled it well. Brian, on the other hand, has been solid."

Regardless of who takes first-team repetitions against Washington next Monday, Pettine wants to have his starter firmly entrenched before the third preseason game against the St. Louis Rams on Saturday, Aug. 23 in order to get him ready for the regular-season opener at the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Sept. 7.

"I think if we had gone beyond the third preseason game, and even into the fourth, then, I think it falls into the situation that you're talking about," Pettine said, "but given the fact if we do have a starter that will play significant reps in the third game, and then, get all that practice time leading up to the Pittsburgh game, we feel that we'll have a quarterback that's ready."


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