Shanahan: No leader in Browns QB derby

Cleveland Browns quarterbacks Johnny Manziel (2) and Brian Hoyer watch teammates at training camp in Berea on Thursday. 


BEREA, Ohio — Five days in, the guys overseeing the Cleveland Browns quarterback competition see no leader and no hurry to name one.

The guys competing for the job see it similarly, but in different ways.

"It’s me versus the playbook," Johnny Manziel said. "There’s nothing else."

Said Brian Hoyer: "I’m trying to be the best quarterback I can be for this team. There isn’ t a lot of talk about (who’s winning). Those decisions will be made upstairs."

Manziel, a first-round rookie who leads the NFL in jersey sales, is trying to take the job from Hoyer, a hometown guy in the last year of his contract who won all three of his starts a year ago before suffering a torn ACL.

Five official days into camp, Hoyer has taken every snap with the No. 1 offense.

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"Especially a week into it, it’s more about both of them trying to get better," Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. "You’ve got a rookie quarterback trying to learn a new offense. You’ve got another quarterback, and I know he’s not a rookie, but it’s a new offense for him also. They’re both trying to get their feet wet."

The Browns took a full plunge in drafting Manziel, but Hoyer has been the more consistent quarterback thus far in camp. He’s played like a veteran leader would be expected to play, and Manziel has, at times, very much looked like a rookie.

"Right now, it’s me making sure I know what I need to know to get out here, execute and run the offense and not have any mistakes," Manziel said. "Once I go through a couple of days with no mental errors or getting to where I need to be every single time, then I’ll feel a lot better. Nothing (like) really one is ahead of the other, who’s here, who’s there, that’s not really on my mind at all right now."

Shanahan said he doesn’t "think one is in front of the other" and that it’s "been back and forth" in a battle the team’s decision makers are obviously watching closely.

"Hopefully, as these preseason games go, as these practices go, one of them will make the decision easy on us," Shanahan said. "Hopefully, one will just take off and start playing really well. Usually that answer becomes pretty easy. If they make it tough, I hope it’s because they’re both playing really well."

Before camp, Browns head coach Mike Pettine said he wanted to have a decision made before the third preseason game on Aug. 23. On Thursday, Pettine said the Browns will probably start mixing Manziel in with the first teamers but cautioned against reading too much into that. Pettine said the Browns will do that at multiple positions.

But the coach knows everybody’s watching the quarterbacks.

"We have a long way to go," Pettine said.

And there’s plenty that can still happen.