The decision of Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine to go with veteran Brian Hoyer over rookie Johnny Manziel as the Week 1 starting quarterback against the Pittsburgh Steelers was not surprising. Pettine has said on multiple occasions he prefers experience at the position, particularly against a defensive coordinator as cagey as Pittsburgh’s Dick LeBeau.
Manziel moved the offense better than Hoyer in the preseason, but the former Heisman Trophy winner showed a lack of composure on the field (giving the Redskins the middle finger on "Monday Night Football") and didn’t appear completely comfortable with the playbook. He’s learning new verbiage, is playing under center for the first time and has to adjust to new teammates and a new system.
But the selection of Hoyer shouldn’t be viewed as a long-term answer. Hoyer has been abysmal in the preseason, and if he fails to produce over the tough, early portion of the schedule -- at Pittsburgh, home against New Orleans and Baltimore -- Manziel could take over in Week 5 after the bye.
One thing is certain: A starting quarterback may have been chosen, but the drama and suspense aren’t over.