The Cleveland Browns have appeared in the national media spotlight ever since the NFL draft. Josh Gordon’s name has headlined numerous articles for all the wrong reasons: a borderline failed drug test and DWI arrest. Rookie sensation and national media circus, Johnny Manziel was featured in countless headlines himself. Manziel’s ‘party mode’ brought criticism and negative attention to the Browns organization. Since off-season workouts and training camp started, the young quarterback settled down into ‘work mode.’ This is great news considering the position battle Manziel just entered.

According to majority opinion, this is Brian Hoyer’s team and job to lose. His name was listed number one on the first official depth chart released and named the starter this Saturday against the Lions. The six year pro has been eager to prove his worth. Last season, we only got a glimpse of Hoyer’s capabilities before suffering an ACL tear. Now with a surgically repaired knee, the hometown hero hopes to remain healthy and retain his starting role.

Despite the lacking of playing time, Hoyer impressed the organization and fan base. Brian Hoyer started three games and Cleveland finished with a W in all of those contests. Regardless being knocked out in the first quarter of his final start, Cleveland recuperated and walked away victorious. Despite the small sample size, Hoyer completed a smidgen under 60% of his passes, going for 615 yards, and five touchdowns to three interceptions.

So far through all the training sessions and practices, Brian Hoyer holds a slight advantage over his competitior, Johnny Manziel. It’s still early though. Manziel, as any other rookie, is undergoing a learning curve while adjusting to the professional game. In reference to his unimpressive scrimmage in Akron, completing three out of seven passes for just 14 yards, inconsistencies will occur while the Texas native learns the terminology and playbook. On Monday, he took all the first team reps for the first time. Once Manziel fully understands the offense, there is no doubt he will impress everyone, even the critics. Within due time, Johnny Cleveland will be the leader of this team.

Meanwhile the other quarterback battle seems intriguing, as veteran Tyler Thigpen duels rookie Connor Shaw for the number three spot. The two South Carolina residents have become friends, as Thigpen has played a key role in Shaw’s transition to the professional level, despite fighting for the same roster spot. The veteran does possess valuable experience and playing time, but Shaw, being eight years younger, has more of an upside than Thigpen. Even though Thigpen is listed third and Shaw is fourth on the depth chart, it is quite possible that the rookie surpasses the seven year pro to earn that undervalued third string quarterback role.

According to, there has been two seasons in the past four where the Browns have started three quarterbacks, making this position battle more interesting. Another fun fact; since 2001, no Browns quarterback has started all 16 games when Tim Couch accomplished this feat.

The chances are slim for the Browns to start 16 games with the same field general. Brian Hoyer should be number one, but with a short leash. Once things go sour, Johnny Cleveland will be given the helm. You never know though, with Johnny Manziel gaining ground on Brian Hoyer, the Texas product could earn that opening day start.

-Max Gold

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