BEREA, Ohio—With Mike Pettine saying he plans to name his starting quarterback for the season this week, Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel get to make their case in Washington on Monday Night in the nationally televised game with the Redskins.
Hoyer will start his second-straight preseason game and is confident he will be the quarterback to lead the Browns into Pittsburgh on Sept. 7.
“I think I’ve played well,” Hoyer said. “I think I can play a lot better. There’s no doubt about that. I think we’re always trying to improve, and for us, I think things are coming up quick now. I talked a couple of weeks ago about how training camp, those days are long.
“Now, (Saturday was) technically the last day of training camp. We play Monday, and then we come around and play Saturday. I think for me, I’m just trying to take big improvements every day to the point where you’re trying to play everything perfectly.
“Obviously, we’re going to try and go out and be perfect,” he said. “Our team is pretty good too. You just try to go out and improve all the time. I think every day you come out, you either get better or you get worse. There’s no in between. Am I satisfied with how I play? I think I’ve played well, but I can play a lot better.”
Manziel, on the other hand, is still trying to make up ground and just be ready if called upon in the season opener. He admitted he still has a ways to go.
“I don’t think that I’m ready for Pittsburgh right now,” Manziel said Saturday after practice. “I’ve only played one game, but the more and more you see it, the more you get familiar with it, I think the better it will be. I think there are guys who have played in this league for a long time who can sit there after years and years of playing games and still don’t have it all figured out. It’s tricky stuff, but at the same time, we’re doing things on offense to try and throw them off their guard, as well.”
Manziel said there’s still time for him to be ready for the regular season.
“It’s not saying that I’m not ready or that I won’t be ready,” he said. “I don’t want that taken out of context. It’s just right now the second preseason game. I’m not ready to go out and start Week 1 because there’s a lot of time left until that point.
“For me, there’s plenty of weeks left for me to learn, preseason games, get adapted to the speed,” he said. “If I was the starter for Pittsburgh for Week 1, then you have to be ready. You have to be ready for Week 1. It’s the opening week of the season. It’s a big game.”
Manziel said he doesn’t feel added pressure being a first-round draft choice.
“No, I don’t look at is as I was drafted to come in day one and save the franchise,” he said. “I think when I got drafted from the top, from (GM) Ray Farmer and everybody that’s involved in this organization that they had a plan for me and they want me to be successful.
“Whenever that is, I feel that my future is here and they brought me in to hopefully be the future down the road one day,” he said. “For me, there’s no pressure, there’s no time table. It’s to continue to develop as a football player, get smarter, get better, and whenever that time is, I’ll go out there and play football like I’ve been doing for the past years of my life.”
Pettine has left the door open that whoever he names as the starter might still not be the permanent starter and Hoyer is alright with that.
“I think the best quarterback should play regardless of the situation,” Hoyer said. “It’s a situation I dealt with last year when I came in and we kind of said it was a week to week thing. For me, I just want to be the starting quarterback of this team whatever the situation is.”
Skrine Out; Gilbert In: CB Buster Skrine missed practice Saturday after leaving the field Friday with a thumb injury. Pettine said there is a possibility that he will need surgery.
“We’ll probably know that (Saturday).”
Pettine said he thinks Skrine will be ready for the opening regular season game.
I’m not sure how long he’ll be (out), but we think he’ll be ready for Pittsburgh,” he said. “We’re confident he’ll be ready.”
Skrine has had a good training camp and was putting up a strong battle with top draft choice CB Justin Gilbert, who will make his debut against the Redskins.
“It’s been good to have Gilbert out there and it will be good to see him going up against some good receivers,” Pettine said.
Gilbert sat out the first preseason game with a groin injury. He’s returned to practice this week and has been taking reps with the first team. On Saturday, Gilbert teamed up with CB Joe Haden and broke up a deep pass from QB Brian Hoyer intended for WR Travis Benjamin. Later, he broke up a pass for WR Jonathan Krause.
Pettine said that Skrine has had a great training camp.
“I think if you were ranking guys for how good of a camp they’ve had, he would be right up there at the top,” Pettine said. “He’s a guy that loves to compete and didn’t want to just hand the job over to Justin Gilbert.”
Pettine said that he’s counting on Skrine this season.
“Buster is a guy who is going to have an important role for us.”
Concern for Bryant’s Wrist: DL Desmond Bryant missed practice Saturday once again and won’t play against the Redskins. Pettine admitted that surgery hasn’t been ruled out.
“That’s a possibility,” Pettine said. “He’s had some issues with his wrist that has bothered him.”
Pettine said Bryant has had it looked at by doctors to determine what the best move is.
Browns Down 5 DBs: On Sunday, the Browns ruled Skrine and Bryant out for the Redskins game. Five of the players that didn’t make the trip are defensive backs, including Skrine (thumb),DB Isaiah Trufant (knee), DB K’Waun Williams (hamstring), DB Pierre Desir (knee), LB Eric Martin (concussion), DB T.J. Heath (hip), OL Michael Bowie (shoulder), OL Randall Harris (knee), LB Keith Pugh (ankle), LB Darius Eubanks (shoulder) and non-football injury OL Nick McDonald (wrist). Five of the players listed are defensive backs.
For Starters: Pettine said he still plans on playing the starters for most of the first half, even if the Redskins play their starters just a quarter.
Pettine said he would call Redskins coach Jay Gruden about the plans for the game. Pettine said that RB Terrance West would get some work with the ones, in addition to QB Johnny Manziel.