Johnny Manziel vs. Brian Hoyer is not only the most riveting QB competition in the NFL right now – it’s the only one. Mike Vick has essentially conceded the Jets’ starting job to Geno Smith; by all accounts Matt Cassel soundly beat out rookie Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota; and two other rookies, Derek Carr (Oakland) and Blake Bortles (Jacksonville) have played well in the preseason, but by all appearances each team is going with a veteran (Matt Schaub and Chad Henne, respectively).
Which leaves Manziel vs. Hoyer, a fascinating matchup for several reasons:
1) Hoyer is a free agent after this season. If he starts and wins the job and leads the Browns into the playoffs (the defense is that good), then what?
2) Johnny Manziel.
3) Josh Gordon. If Gordon’s gone for eight games – or more – who do you like better at QB, the 21-year old rookie who is quick to tuck and run (reminder: He’s 6-foot, maybe 205), or the pocket passer who studied at the altar of Belichick/Brady for three years?
4) Auto-click, can’t-miss-him-live Johnny Manziel.
Reasons 5-10 would also be some form of “Here’s Johnny” or “Johnny Fucking Football.”
Regardless of what happens tonight – I think Hoyer goes in with the edge based on the Detroit game and the fact that he’s got actual NFL experience – there’s little or no decision for rookie head coach Mike Pettine: It’s gotta be Hoyer. You can’t throw the 21-year old into the Steelers, surprisingly-good Saints defense and Ravens in the first three weeks without the team’s best receiver. What’s the rush?