Browns QB battle no good, all bad -- and ugly in Monday's preseason game
AUG 18, 2014 9:46p ET
The Cleveland Browns wanted to get a winner from their quarterback competition and specifically from Monday night's preseason game at Washington.
Monday brought no progress and no winner.
It was bad. And a very difficult decision lies ahead.
"All of the options are still on the table," Browns coach Mike Pettine said.
For nearly a month now, Pettine has said he wants to name a starter this week, before the Aug. 23 preseason game. But Pettine clearly didn't like what he saw in Washington.
The Browns went three and out on each of their first three series.
On his first two drives, Hoyer got sacked, the Browns got penalized, and no first downs were gained. No passes were completed either.
"It probably couldn't have been any worse," Hoyer said. "It's disappointing. It's embarrassing."
Manziel and the Browns moved the ball on his second drive after starting inside their own 1-yard line but punted after 11 plays and 60 yards.
"We need to score touchdowns," Pettine said. "We need to move the ball. We need to get first downs."
Manziel went 2-of-7 for 29 yards in the first half. He finished 7-of-16 for 65 yards and, finally, early in the fourth quarter led the Browns to their first preseason touchdown on an 8-yard dumpoff to Dion Lewis.
"I'm just glad we got into the end zone," Manziel said.
Neither quarterback got any help from a receiving corps that's dropping more passes than it's catching. Opportunities are getting squandered, too. Both Hoyer's second drive and Manziel's first started in Washington territory.
Hoyer appeared to be limping after his second drive but re-entered the game in the second quarter. The Browns started that drive at the Washington 15 following a Tashaun Gipson interception.
"(Hoyer) missed some throws," Pettine said. "They both missed some throws."
On the one that missed Hawkins, Hoyer said "there's no excuse for that."
Hoyer got another chance but the Browns squandered that, too, after MarQueis Gray fumbled trying to gain extra yardage on a pass into the flats -- on Hoyer's first completion.
The long play of the first half for the Browns was a 17-yarder from Manziel to Gray that got the Browns out from the shadow of their own end zone. Manziel's other completion was a 12-yard chain-mover to Hawkins.
"I'm a young guy and I feel like the more practices I get, the more chances I get, the better," Manziel said. "I'm hard on myself. I need to get a lot better."
A look at where it might stand...
Hoyer: Over six preseason drives he's led the Browns to three field goals. Hoyer has converted no third downs in seven tries. He has completed 6-of-22 passes for 108 yards in the preseason.
He's the No. 1 quarterback because he entered camp as the No. 1 quarterback. "It probably couldn't have been any worse," is a very telling quote.
It's very hard to argue.
Manziel: After the game he talked about adjusting to the speed of the game and the offensive scheme. He was angry with himself for not capitalizing on the good field position early.
"I came out early and tried to force everything," Manziel said. "I didn't let it fly like I should have. I need to throw the dang ball."
Pettine: "It's not a choice. Someobody has to be ready for the opener."
Where's Johnny: He didn't win the job over three weeks of camp and didn't win it in this game, his first full-speed chance with the No. 1 offense. He might be the best option, but his performance matches what he said last weekend when he said he's not ready for the Sept. 7 season opener at Pittsburgh.
No one envies the decision that lies in front of Pettine.