GM: System, talent blend to dictate QBs' fit

BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns players have the day off Thursday, but the coaching staff will decide which quarterback, Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel, will start in the second preseason game Monday night at Washington.

Either way, coach Mike Pettine said that Hoyer and Manziel would get an equal amount of snaps with the first-team offense. However, one question that remains is how different will the offense look when Hoyer is on the field versus when Manziel is?

Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan runs a West Coast system with play calls that can be as long as 17 words. It is a different system than Manziel ran in college. At Texas A&M, Manziel had three- to four-word play calls where he didn't have to call protections, which he will have to do now. And Manziel, who makes as many plays with his feet as with his right arm, is a different type of quarterback than the 6-foot-2 Hoyer, who is more of a dropback passer.

Shanahan worked with another mobile quarterback, Robert Griffin III, while he was the offensive coordinator in Washington, so he does have experience tailoring his

On Wednesday, I asked Browns general manager Ray Farmer this question about the quarterback competition: Are you, meaning the Browns, trying to fit the player to the system, or are you trying to fit the system to a specific player?

"I think it's a blend," Farmer said. "It's always a blend. I think that coaches come in and have their schemes they want to run. Inevitably what happens is you know what you want to run, and you also know what talent you have and what they're capable of orchestrating. You kind of mishmash how that comes together.

"So I think it's a blend. I think that's what Kyle's history has shown, that regardless of who he's had he's found a way to make the offense work with the talent he has."

That is true, but it is also true that the offense will look at least a little different depending on who the quarterback is.

"When Johnny's in there, obviously you're going to call a few different plays that are going to be able to take advantage of the way he runs, because he's such an elusive quarterback," Browns left tackle Joe Thomas said. "Maybe you won't see necessarily as many plays where Brian's going to be running a read-option or sprint-option, things like that that you might see more of when Johnny's in there. But other than that, I think they both do a great job and they're actually really similar."

On Monday against Washington, we will get a chance to see how similar -- and different -- Hoyer and Manziel really are.