If you ask most people, there was just no way that Mike Pettine would start anyone other than Johnny Manziel at quarterback in Week 1 against the Steelers. But Pettine surprised everyone by naming Brian Hoyer his starter.
With that decision out of the way, people turned their focus to which week Manziel would relieve Hoyer of his duties as the starter. The leader in the clubhouse at the moment is Week 5 since the Browns would be coming off their bye week and the schedule gets extremely soft after the bye.
But when asked when we could expect to see Manziel on the field, Pettine began with the usual coach speak, but decided to end with the possibility of Manziel not seeing the field in 2014.
Asked if Manziel would see the field this year, the coach said: “Give me a crystal ball and I’ll give you that answer. The season is so long. So much can happen, and we don’t want … Brian looking over his shoulder thinking, ‘Hey, I make one bad throw and I’m out.’ But over time, if you feel you need to make a change — it’s not just at quarterback, it’ll be at other positions as well. You have guys that you have penciled in that you hope can be that guy for you for the year, but that rarely works out in the league. Time will only tell.
“You could see a scenario where he doesn’t play this year, and then there are other scenarios that are absolutely possible as well. It’s hard to tell.”
From what I can tell, the owner wants Manziel to play. And furthermore, you don’t draft a quarterback in the first round and sit him for his full season. So either Pettine is bluffing-which I think he is-or someone will be forced to answer why they drafted Manziel in the first place.