By DARYL RUITER, 92.3 The Fan Browns Beat ReporterBy Daryl Ruiter | 92.3 The Fan


BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Brian Hoyer is a few series against the Washington Redskins away from securing the starting job Sept. 7 at Pittsburgh.

But will he?

All it seems that Hoyer has to do Monday night is take care of the football, show that he can move the offense and get off the field uninjured.

The 2 quarterbacks will split reps with the first-team offense but it would take a performance of legendary proportions for Johnny Manziel to leapfrog Hoyer.

Hoyer entered training camp with all the advantages to win the job. He received the first-team reps through the first week of camp and is starting the first 2 preseason games before head coach Mike Pettine makes his decision.

Despite assertions from Pettine that Manziel can still win the job Monday night, it really is Hoyer’s job to lose even though Hoyer has not separated himself from the rookie.

The St. Ignatius alum has been the consummate pro in tuning out Manziel-mania but has battled inconsistency day-to-day and shown marginal improvement.

The same can be said of Manziel.

He appeared to be coming on strong a week ago but has leveled off this past week leading up the second preseason game. Manziel admitted Saturday that he continues to learn offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s system and has yet to reach expert level just yet.

The offense was shut out of the end zone in the preseason opener at Detroit which was no surprise considering the difficulty it has scoring with either quarterback at the helm in practice.

Credit a vastly improved defense, loaded with quick and athletic corners and safeties, but also blame sub-par quarterback and receiver play. While it is too early to draw any definitive conclusions offensively, the trend is not positive.

Pettine plans to meet with Shanahan along with quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains later on Tuesday to pick a starter for the Steelers, and subsequently the dress rehearsal this Saturday against the Rams.

In 3 series last week against the Lions Hoyer completed 6 of 14 passes for 92 yards and 2 of the drives ended in field goals. Manziel was 7 of 11 for 63 yards in addition to 27 yards rushing on 6 carries in 4 series resulting in 1 field goal.

The truth of the matter is that Hoyer and Manziel haven’t blown anyone away and seized the job.

The Browns, who chew up and spit out quarterbacks to the tune of 20 different starters since 1999, recognize that Manziel could be their future, but Hoyer gives them the luxury of not throwing him on the field before he is ready.

That is a mistake that Carmen Policy, Dwight Clark and Chris Palmer made with Tim Couch, who ironically is the only quarterback to start all 16 regular season games (2001), in 1999.

Injuries to starters forced 2 other drafted quarterbacks – Brady Quinn (2007) and Colt McCoy (2010) – onto the field too soon. Quarterback controversies and injuries tainted their short-lived time in Cleveland.

While fans have rushed to buy up Manziel’s No. 2 jersey, an assortment of t-shirts and of course tickets, they will have to wait until Manziel is called upon. And that will only happen under 1 of 2 circumstances this year: Hoyer either under-performs and the team struggles out of the gate or he goes down with an injury,

Hoyer has won the admiration and respect of Pettine and the coaching staff with the time, effort and hard work he has put in to bounce back from a torn ACL. He’s also a hometown kid trying to start for his favorite childhood team.

Pettine will give him another chance to live his dream after his first opportunity was cut short by an ill-fated slide in 2013.

With Manziel waiting in the wings, how long Pettine will allow Hoyer to live it this season will be based on wins, losses and offensive productivity.

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