Berea, OH, United States (4E Sports) – The Cleveland Browns announced that Brian Hoyer will be starting at quarterback this season, picking the six-year veteran over rookie Johnny Manziel.
“He was the clear leader from the beginning,” coach Mike Pettine said in a statement. “We’ve maintained all along that if it was close, I would prefer to go with the more experienced player.”
“Brian has done a great job in the meeting rooms and with his teammates on the practice field and in the locker room,” Pettine added.
Hoyer started Monday’s preseason game against the Washington Redskins, completing two of six passes for 16 yards. Manziel, the No. 22 pick in the draft, completed seven of 16 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown in the Browns’ 24-23 loss.
Hoyer began training camp as the starter and though he admitted he did not play well in Washington, he never really did anything to lose the job.
Combined with the reality that Manziel didn’t take it away, Hoyer will be the starter for Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I think Brian’s been very poised,” Pettine said Wednesday. “I think he’s handled the situation well. He’s had a lot of things going on.
With Pettine’s decision, Hoyer’s dream of starting for his hometown team will remain. He grew up in suburban North Olmsted, and attended St. Ignatius High School, where he played for legendary Cleveland coach Chuck Kyle.
Hoyer has only four starts in his career — three last season with the Browns, one that lasted less than five minutes before he suffered a torn ACL on Oct. 3 against the Bills.
“I think a lot of people discount that,” Pettine said. “Here’s a guy coming off of a season-ending knee injury. Really, these are his first, essentially, 20-25 plays of live work back from it, and he’s only going to get better.”
Before the injury, Hoyer led the Browns to two wins in his previous two starts — rare air for a Cleveland quarterback the past six seasons.
He guided a game-winning drive in Minnesota, a game in which he threw three interceptions and three touchdowns, then came back to guide the Browns to a win over Cincinnati, a game in which he threw two touchdowns and no interceptions.
In his career, Hoyer completed 114 of 192 passes for 1,231 and seven touchdowns but he had six interceptions.