Mike Pettine isn’t buying in to the hype. With rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel losing the Cleveland Browns’ preseason competition, many throughout the league expected the team to utilize a two-quarterback system that would allow the mobile, play-making Manziel to have a package of plays designed for his unique skill set, subbing him in for Brian Hoyer when needed. Pettine, the first-year head coach, is firmly backing Hoyer, the St. Ignatius product, stating that the first portion of the season will be for his quarterback to build chemistry that he may have lacked during the first two weeks of the preseason.
“People have asked me about potentially a two-quarterback system and having a package for [Johnny Manziel]. That is on the table,” Pettine said in an interview with “The Opening Drive” on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “I don’t know if that’s anything that we want to commit to just now, because I think Brian—because of the competition—is a little behind with the chemistry and continuity in working with that first group. I think that is something that we can potentially look at down the road.”
Since awarding Hoyer with the starting quarterback spot, Pettine has been the recipient of both criticism and praise. Rather than caving to the pressure of starting a first-round quarterback, he has opted to roll with the veteran. Earlier this week, Pettine stated that he envisions a scenario in which Manziel, the focus of plenty media attention, does not play at all despite being the No. 22 pick by the Browns.
Several teams have opted for two-quarterback systems over the last several seasons, including the San Francisco 49ers (with Colin Kaepernick) and the New York Jets (with Tim Tebow). Pettine, having ties to the Jets, was able to see first-hand how disruptive such a spectacle can be.
For now, it appears that those wishing to see Manziel take the field will have to get all they can during the final two weeks of the preseason, because if Pettine has his way, the rookie will not see the field for quite a while.
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