Manziel gets first-team snaps, but starter for preseason opener still uncertain

BEREA, Ohio – When the Cleveland Browns took to the practice field Monday morning, rookie Johnny Manziel quarterbacked the first-team offense.

For the first week of camp, Manziel worked exclusively with the second group while veteran Brian Hoyer worked exclusively with the first group.

That flip-flopped Monday, though Browns coach Mike Pettine said after practice it was "just part of the plan."

After last weekend’s scrimmage, Pettine said the staff would meet on Sunday to chart reps for this week, which leads up to Saturday’s preseason opener in Detroit.

Considering Manziel did little in the way of spectacular — or even close — during his first work with the starters since a June minicamp, perhaps the day’s most interesting development came when Pettine said he wasn’t sure which quarterback would start the preseason opener.

Pettine said the plan entering camp had been to start Hoyer and that’s likely still the plan, but it’s something he’ll discuss this week with the offensive staff.

Manziel was clearly more confident late last week than he was early last week but admitted he’s still trying to learn and said "it’s me versus the playbook" in answering a question about competing with Hoyer.

After Saturday’s scrimmage Manziel said he "hadn’t even talked" to the coaches about getting first-team reps. The Browns did not make the quarterbacks available to the media on Monday.

Pettine said he saw things he liked from both Manziel and Hoyer in reviewing film of the scrimmage, praising Hoyer’s poise in the pocket and Manziel’s ability to make plays on the run.

"They both played to their skill sets," Pettine said.

Pettine answered another question by reiterating that Manziel’s reps Monday were part of a pre-camp script and not the result of anything that happened in the scrimmage, when the offense was held out of the end zone but Manziel had what would have been a touchdown pass dropped and another ruled out of bounds that would have been challenged in an actual game setting.


"It would be hard for there to be a clear-cut guy anyway when they’re both being efficient," Pettine said.

So, the wait continues even as Saturday’s preseason opener draws nearer. Pettine said before camp that he wants to name a starter before the Browns play their third of four preseason games on Aug. 23.