Early this morning, the Browns announced that Brian Hoyer will be their starting quarterback. Considering how uninspiring both he and Johnny Manziel have been this preseason, it was certainly not an easy choice.
Manziel, who should be the starter by Week 4 so let's not pretend today's announcement means much, has gone 14-of-27 for 128 yards and one score in two preseason appearances. That's at least superficially better than Hoyer's 8-of-20 for 108 yards.
But it's not all about on-field performance. Yesterday, when coach Mike Pettine said he was considering waiting another week to decide on a starter, he was specifically asked if Manziel's middle finger to the Washington bench would factor into his decision. He didn't rule it out:
"We'll take into account all things quarterbacks A to Z, so it's a body of work,'' Pettine said on a conference call. "It's everything from the time they set foot in the building back in the spring up until today."
Most likely it's a matter of philosophy. Should a QB prospect be thrown right into the fire? Or should get a couple of weeks to observe full-speed NFL action from a safe distance, waiting behind a nonthreatening veteran? There's no right answer, but now we know which the Browns believe in.
So Hoyer will start the preseason's third game, where teams tend to play their first units and at something close to full-effort, and, barring injury, Hoyer will start the regular season in Pittsburgh. Where Boomer Esiason predicted that Manziel "would get his ass kicked, and his ass would be driven into the ground." Maybe Manziel is on the bench for his own sake.