Staying With Hoyer

Browns hold off on handing the reigns over to Johnny Football

BEREA, Ohio—The big decision 2.0 turned out to be very similar to the decision that Mike Pettine made during his first training camp as Browns coach.

Pettine decided to stay with Brian Hoyer as the starter, rather than turning to rookie Johnny Manziel for Sunday’s game with the Colts at FirstEnergy Stadium.

“We both joked, ‘This is like déjà vu kind of,’” Hoyer said. “He just said he’s sticking with me, and everything else is a private conversation between he and I.”

Pettine said ultimately he decided stay with Hoyer because of his experience.

“The fact that he’d been in there,” Pettine said. “He was a part of our success. It wasn’t perfect and he’s made his share of mistakes, but he’s gotten the lion share of the reps in practice and virtually all of them in games and has us in the thick of a playoff hunt. That, to me, was probably the biggest determining factor.”

Hoyer admitted that he was uneasy the last few days.

“They weren’t the easiest days of my life,” Hoyer said. “That’s for sure. I’ve been through a lot, and it’s just one more thing to handle some adversity. I think it only makes you stronger. Like I said, back here on Wednesday and getting ready for Indy and back to business as usual.”

Manziel he understands the decision and said he will use it to motivate himself even more.

“I know I felt like I came out and I did what I was supposed to do,” Manziel said. “Be prepared to come in the game and lead us down the field, and come in and be competitive is what I wanted to do. I wanted to show, even through practice, even after this, that my mood hasn’t changed.

“I’m not taking this lightly, and all this is going to do is motivate me to come in here to work every day, come to practice and continue to try and elevate my game to where next time there’s a situation like this, maybe there’s no doubt.”

Hoyer was asked what needs to do to get the offense back on track.

“Just get back to the basics, I think, get back to our formula,” he said. “It takes all 11 guys. Obviously, I have to play better and just get back to what we do best.”

In the past three games, Hoyer has thrown just one touchdown, while throwing six interceptions. Pettine said he thinks Hoyer will be able to turn things around.

“Confidence in his preparation,” Pettine said. “I think confidence in knowing we’re going to get the guys around him playing better, and we’re going to get Brian playing better. He knows there are some things that he needs to work on. I think he’s shown the ability to bounce back from things that have happened negatively in the past. You just look at internally within the Atlanta game. In the midst of an outstanding performance, I think it was our highest yardage output of the year. Made the mistakes that he made, but was able to bounce back. We’re confident that he’ll be able to do that this week.”

Pettine was asked if he will be quicker to pull Hoyer if he gets off to a slow start.

“No, that’s tough because you don’t want to dwell or get into hypothetical negative situations,” Pettine said. “The reason he’s named the starter is we’re confident he can go out there and lead us to a win. Those decisions will present themselves if need be, but I’m not going to sit and put any more pressure on the situation as it is saying, ‘Hey, if things don’t go well that we’ll make a move.’ He’s our starter going into this game, and we feel it gives us the best chance to win.”

Notebook

Dansby, Cameron Practice: TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) and LB Karlos Dansby (knee) were back at practice and Pettine is hopeful both could play this week. Also, DB Justin Gilbert (illness) and WR Marlon Moore (hamstring) returned to practice.

“Dansby is getting closer,” Pettine said. “I’ll rule Gip (Tashaun Gipson) out. Jordan will practice. Miles and Gary (Barnidge) are obviously out.”

Pettine said Cameron is getting closer, as well.

“I don’t know when his last symptom was but it’s truly a day to day situation.”

A report said that Barnidge suffered broken ribs but Pettine wouldn’t confirm it and called him ‘day-to-day’. Barnidge was on the stationary bike during practice.

Pettine said that Moore has a chance to play this week.

Austin out of Hospital but to IR: The Browns put WR Miles Austin on injured reserve with a kidney injury suffered in the loss to the Bills. RB Shaun Draughn was signed to replace Austin on the roster.

Pettine said the loss of Austin hurts more than just on the field. He was the second-leading receiver, but also a team leader.

“It’s very unfortunate because he really embodies what we’re trying to build here in “Playing like a Brown” and guys handling themselves on and off the field and how they interact with the staff and just their level of play A to Z. We couldn’t ask for a better guy.”

The Browns announced Wednesday night that Austin was expected to be released from the hospital and was heading back to Cleveland.

“I think it’s being very precautionary,” Pettine said. “His wife is there with him. He’s bummed (about being on IR), but in good spirits.”


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