CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Brian Hoyer will get the opportunity to live out his childhood dream.
Hoyer, who grew up in North Olmsted, starred at St. Ignatius High School and was a die hard Browns fan in his youth, will start again for his hometown team this fall.
He was named the starting quarterback for the Browns Wednesday morning and the decision from head coach Mike Pettine comes as little surprise.
“He was the clear leader from the beginning,” Pettine said. “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.”
Hoyer received exclusive reps with the first-team offense in 12 of the 16 training camp practices and he started both preseason games.
Pettine met with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains Tuesday night and they chose Hoyer over rookie Johnny Manziel, who the team selected No. 22 overall in the fist round of this year’s draft.
“He’s certainly made great strides,” Pettine said of Manziel. “We are pleased with where he is, and he has shown that he has come a long way in his ability to pick up the playbook, be coachable and lead an offense.
“We are confident that Johnny is going to have a great future, but we just felt that Brian still had a decided edge on him.”
Hoyer completed just 2 of 6 passes for 16 yards in Monday night’s preseason loss to Washington. He was a combined 6 of 14 for 108 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions in 2 preseason starts.
Manziel finished 7 of 16 for 65 yards and a touchdown against the Redskins and went a combined 14 of 27 for 128 yards and a score against the Lions and Washington.
Timing was a major factor in making the decision now with the third preseason game, where starters typically play into the third quarter, Saturday night against St. Louis.
“I think it’s especially good, as an offensive unit, to go out and play and gain cohesion and chemistry,” Pettine said. “That was one of the reasons I wanted to go ahead and make the decision before this third preseason game so that (Hoyer and the rest of the starting offense) could play as a unit for a good chunk of it.”
Hoyer started 3 games last season for Cleveland before sustaining a torn right ACL during the fist quarter Oct. 3 against the Buffalo Bills. He underwent surgery 2 weeks later and spent the next 6 months rehabbing to be ready in time for the beginning of the team’s offseason program.
The Browns won all 3 games that Hoyer started in 2013 and he completed 57 of 96 passes for 615 yards, 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
“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.”
How long Hoyer, who will be the team’s 13th different opening day starter since 1999, keeps the job remains to be seen. He will need to play significantly better than he did in the preseason to keep Manziel on the bench.
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