Head coach Mike Pettine has already gone on record in stating that he would like to name his regular season week one starter by week three of the pre-season. Brian Hoyer started week one versus the Detroit Lions and really did nothing to separate himself from the competition for the starting quarterback job. Everyone has "week one rust" and it showed not only just with the quarterback play but also with some of the other skilled position players.
The early indication is that Hoyer is ahead for now but ahead by a very minuscule margin. With that margin being so small and it being so early, that still leaves plenty of time for the depth chart to be shuffled. Coach Pettine was asked about Hoyer starting but Manziel making strides and had this to say on the subject:
"We put Brian out there with the ones, and that was for a reason," Pettine said of the preseason opener in Detroit on Saturday. "Because he was ahead, because of his edge in experience and the lead he had with the playbook. And he's done nothing to have that taken away from him.
"But Johnny has made some improvement, a lot of improvement. He's come in, and the things where he was behind in the spring, I think he's got a pretty firm grasp on. As we said before, it was him versus the playbook, and he's handling it well.
"He's really gone from one extreme to the other, and I think he's handled it well.
"Brian on the other hand has been solid."
Let’s not get too worked up over the first sight of opposing competition either. Manziel made a few tough throws over the middle that had some "zing" on the ball and he missed a few targets due to poor mechanics. Manziel also used an aspect of his game that Hoyer does not possess and that is his legs. Manziel extended plays with his legs that created additional opportunities for the receivers and backs to get open.
Pettine was asked if at this point there was a "clear cut favorite" to start week one:
"If there was a clear-cut favorite at this point, it would probably mean that one of them wasn't playing very well," Pettine said. "It's a good problem to have, having two guys that we think are both capable of being NFL starters."
Let's be honest here, Manziel will eventually be the starter for the Browns. You do not draft a quarterback at 22 for him to sit too long. Be aware that Manziel needs to pass Brian Hoyer on the depth chart, not Tom Brady or Peyton Manning so the feat can be accomplished.
Although no decision has been made yet, look for Manziel to start the week two pre-season game for the Browns to get live game reps with the starters and against a starting caliber defense.