The Cleveland Browns have a quarterback decision to make this week. Is incumbent Brian Hoyer the right man for the job, or should head coach Mike Pettine turn over the reins of his team to rookie Johnny Manziel?
After both players struggled in Monday’s preseason game at Washington (Hoyer was just 2-6 with 16 passing yards, while Manziel wasn’t much better at 7-16 for 65 yards), the choice doesn’t seem like an easy one.
However, when it comes down to which signal-caller gives the Browns the best chance to succeed in 2014, the answer is ultimately Johnny Football. Here’s why.
1. The Browns need an offensive playmaker
Cleveland finished 27th in the NFL in points per game last year, and that statistic would likely have been even worse without star receiver Josh Gordon, who had a league-leading 1,646 receiving yards and also caught 9 touchdowns. Gordon’s status for the upcoming season is in doubt after a yearlong suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, which he has appealed.
Whether or not Gordon ends up playing a down for the Browns in 2014, the Cleveland offense needs to figure out how to consistently manufacture more big plays — specifically, more scoring plays. A dual-threat quarterback who can keep plays alive with his feet (and has shown a knack throughout his college career for making something out of nothing) should be just what the doctor ordered for a historically less-than-productive offensive unit.