BEREA -- The decision is in…
Brian Hoyer will be starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns.
The announcement came around 8:15 a.m. Wednesday shortly after the players were told.
Hoyer, who started in both of the Browns' preseason games thus far, won the competition against rookie Johnny Manziel.
The Browns say Hoyer's biggest advantages "are that he has played in the NFL for five years and the leadership qualities he has displayed."
"He was the clear leader from the beginning," coach Mike Pettine says. "We've maintained all along that if it was close, I would prefer to go with the more experienced player. Brian has done a great job in the meeting rooms and with his teammates on the practice field and in the locker room."
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Despite Hoyer completing only two of six passes for 16 yards in Monday night's loss against the Washington Redskins, coach Pettine says he took much more into account than one performance. Instead, Pettine says he considered Hoyer's "body of work," which includes leading the Browns to victories in two full games he played as a starter last season.
"I think Brian's been very poised," Pettine says. "I think he's handled the situation well. He's had a lot of things going on."
Pettine says it was important to name the starter this week, leading up to Saturday's preseason game against St. Louis at FirstEnergy Stadium. This way, it maximizes the amount of time Hoyer and the rest of the offense have to prepare for the Sept. 7 regular-season opener at Pittsburgh.
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"I think it's especially good, as an offensive unit, to go out and play and gain cohesion and chemistry," Pettine explains. "That was one of the reasons I wanted to go ahead and make the decision before this third preseason game so that Hoyer and the rest of the starting offense could play as a unit for a good chunk of it."
As far as Manziel is concerned, Pettine says the rookie has made "great strides."
"We are pleased with where he is, and he has shown that he has come a long way in his ability to pick up the playbook, be coachable and lead an offense. We are confident that Johnny is going to have a great future, but we just felt that Brian still had a decided edge on him."