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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Mike Pettine: Johnny Manziel not guaranteed to play this season

Johnny-ManzielThe Cleveland Browns are setting Brian Hoyer up for disaster, right? Many believe that Hoyer has been given the Week 1 starting job so that Johnny Manziel will be protected from playing against the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road followed by tough home games against the New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Ravens. Head coach Mike Pettine insists that had nothing to do with the decision.

“This is Brian’s job,” Pettine told reporters on Wednesday, via Jim Trotter of ESPN.com. “I never think of it as it’s a leash or we want a guy to be a game manager. We want him to be confident and go out and play. … The season is 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.'”

Hoyer knows the Browns drafted Manziel to be their quarterback of the future, so he is going to feel pressure no matter what Pettine says. That said, Manziel hasn’t done himself any favors by flipping opponents the middle finger and struggling to learn the playbook.

What if Hoyer plays well enough to keep his job? Could Johnny Football really hold a clipboard throughout his entire rookie season?

“You could see a scenario where he doesn’t play this year, and then there are other scenarios that are absolutely possible as well,” Pettine said. “It’s hard to tell.”

Ownership and fans are going to want to see Manziel. Hoyer knows that. In many ways, the sixth-year veteran is a lame duck. Unless, of course, Johnny Football keeps using poor judgment and has trouble adjusting to life in the NFL. If that happens, Hoyer could be here a while.

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