NFL: Browns coach: Two-QB system ‘on the table’
Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine, who named Brian Hoyer as his starting quarterback two days ago, said Friday he is not ruling out a two-quarterback system featuring a package with rookie Johnny Manziel.
“We could potentially look at a two-quarterback system down the road,” Pettine said on Sirius XM Radio.
Pettine admitted that he and Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan have considered that option, but not for the season opener in Pittsburgh.
“No, this is Brian’s job,” Pettine said. “I don’t foresee us now, especially early, being in a two-quarterback system. This is Brian’s job and I never think of it as a leash or we want a guy to be a game manager. ... I don’t want our guys on offense to feel like there’s any type of governor there and they can’t just cut it loose and be aggressive. I think when you feel like you’re going to be solid on defense, that allows you to be even more aggressive on offense.”
Pettine said Friday that a Manziel package is “on the table.”
During his press conference Wednesday to announce Hoyer as the starter, Pettine said he didn’t envision such a platoon early in the season.
According to Cleveland.com, Shanahan was asked July 31 if he would put in a package for Manziel right from the start, and he said he wouldn’t hesitate.
“I would do it if it looked like the right thing to do,” Shanahan said. “That has to do all about studying Pittsburgh, what their schemes are, whether we think some things look good versus them that maybe Johnny could do that Brian couldn’t, what the rest of our team’s doing. I have no problem with that.
“I think that does present some issues, but I don’t like to ever do something just to do it. There’s got to be a reason for it and we think something looks good and it can help our team move the chains and it can be successful, then I would never hesitate to do it.”
Pettine also made it clear on Wednesday that Hoyer is on a week-to-week trial — just like other starters.
“I don’t want to make a permanent commitment to any starter,” Pettine said. “I just don’t think you can do that. I think you make more of a commitment to your quarterback because of the unique circumstances that surround that position. But I think you need all your guys on the roster running scared a little bit, that, ‘Hey listen, if I don’t perform, this is a performance-based business, if I don’t perform, I’m not going to be in there.”‘
While Hoyer has only four career starts — and went 3-0 with the Browns before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in 2013 — his biggest advantages were experience and leadership.
“He was the clear leader from the beginning,” Pettine said Wednesday. “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.”
Manziel was disappointed he did not win the starting job, but he said the competition was fair.
“I feel like if I would have come out and played better, it would have been a different outcome,” Manziel said. “I don’t think I played terrible, but I didn’t do anything to jump off the page. I made strides and got better throughout training camp, and that’s what I wanted to do.
“Obviously, it’s disappointing, but at the same time I want what’s best for this team moving forward, and I’m going to continue come out here every day and give it my all and continue to get better as a quarterback,” he said.
That’s all I can do.”
Manziel, drafted 22nd overall in May, played only two seasons at Texas A&M in an offense designed to win at that level. The Browns want him to get more time in an NFL offense before asking him to beat NFL defenses. Manziel was not great statistically in two games. He also showed immaturity Monday night, Pettine said, when he raised his middle finger to the Washington Redskins’ bench in response to heckling from the sideline.