By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
The veteran quarterback is pressing and the hotshot rookie challenger lost his poise and flipped the bird to the opposing bench.
So if you think the Browns are ready to name a starting quarterback, think again.
The best thrower in the Browns’ 24-23 loss to the Washington Redskins was No. 3 Connor Shaw, who completed a 45-yard Hail Mary touchdown at the end, but missed a two-point try for the win.
“All options are still on the table,” coach Mike Pettine said after the Browns’ quarterback competition turned into what amounted to a pie-fighting contest on “Monday Night Football” in FedExField.
Brian Hoyer was 2 of 6 for 16 yards in four series, had a long pass of 12 yards and threw behind a wide-open Andrew Hawkins in the end zone.
“Probably couldn’t have been any worse. It’s disappointing, it’s embarrassing,” Hoyer said.
Johnny Manziel was 7 of 16 for 65 yards in four series. He managed to put a touchdown on the board in the second half on an 8-yard pass to Dion Lewis at the end of a 16-play drive against the Washington Redskins’ backups.
But it was more noteworthy for Manziel’s hand gesture to the Washington bench after he was flushed to the sideline and threw an incompletion. The gesture wasn’t noticed by game officials, but it could draw a league fine. It will also bring a sitdown with Pettine.
“It does not sit well,” Pettine said. “It’s disappointing. What we talk about is being poised and focused. You have to be able to maintain your poise … especially the quarterback. That’s something we’ll obviously address with him.”
Cornerback Joe Haden said he was amazed by some of the words he heard directed towards Manziel on the field and off the field. But Manziel said he has grown used to them and didn’t hear anything he hasn’t heard before.
“I should’ve been smarter,” Manziel said. “There’s always words exchanged on the football field. I should let it slide off my back. I felt I did a good job of holding my composure and I had a lapse of judgment.”
In the first half, Hoyer and Manziel combined for 4 of 13 passing for 45 yards. The Browns had 84 total yards offense, only three first downs earned, and 0 for 5 on third-down conversions.
Asked if Hoyer was pressing, Pettine said, “It’s hard to tell. I know he missed some throws. They both missed some throws.”
Hoyer would have none of it.
“I don’t think so at all,” he said on the subject of pressing. “Things in the game are a little bit different than in practice. If I’m thinking of making a perfect throw out there … I just have to go out and do it. There’s no excuse for it.
“It has nothing to do with (the competition). First play messed up (and went as a sack), then a penalty. Then it just spiraled out of control. It’s unfortunate, especially the situation that we’re in.”
Pettine intended to name a quarterback prior to Saturday’s third preseason game in FirstEnergy Stadium against the St. Louis Rams. Now, he’s hedging and said “it’s possible” he could wait.
“I think all the options are on the table,” he said.
One option not available is considering a quarterback other than Hoyer or Manziel.
“That’s not a choice. Somebody has to be ready for the opener,” Pettine said.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Use the hashtag #HeyTony on Twitter or email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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