BEREA, Ohio—The Browns finally made official what everyone knew was going to happen this week at the quarterback position.
Mike Pettine announced the decision in a press release that he was going to start Johnny Manziel for this week’s AFC North game with the Bengals. The Browns announced the move Tuesday afternoon after Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported it earlier in the day.
On Monday, when asked about the quarterback decision from a week ago that he picked Brian Hoyer to start against the Colts, Pettine said it was natural to “lean the other way” regarding the quarterback for this week.
“We’ve made the decision to start Johnny this week against the Bengals,” Pettine said. “This decision is really not about Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel, it is about the Cleveland Browns. We are always going to make decisions that we feel are in the best interest of the team.
“Brian has done everything that has been asked of him and he has done so as a true professional,” he said. “It’s never just any one position when a unit is not functioning at the level you’d like. We are trying to get the offense to perform at a higher level. Johnny has worked very hard to earn this opportunity and it will be very important for every member of the offense to elevate their play for us to obtain our desired result.”
Manziel said he hopes to make the most of the opportunity before him
“I’m very appreciative of the opportunity that Coach Pettine and the coaching staff have given me to be the starter on Sunday,” Manziel said. “I’ve tried to spend my entire season learning what it takes to become a pro and it’s been great to watch Brian because he knows what it takes.
“I’ve prepared every week to be ready to help the team however possible and my focus has been on improving every day,” he said. “ I’m very excited to get out on the field with my teammates on Sunday and to have the opportunity to make the Dawg Pound proud.”
Hoyer, who has started the first 13 games of the season in leading the Browns to a 7-6 record, said he will support the decision by Pettine.
“Although I am disappointed by coach’s decision, I respect him and his choice and will be there to support Johnny,” Hoyer said. “As always, I will do whatever I can to help this team win.”
The Bengals currently lead the AFC North with an 8-4-1 record and a Browns win could close the gap to ½ game with two to play in the regular season.
Manziel was drafted in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft (22nd overall) and this will be his first NFL start. He played the final 12:01 of the fourth quarter against the Bills and led the offense to a touchdown after an 80-yard drive.
Manziel will be the 21st quarterback to start for the Browns since the team returned to the NFL in 1999.