Ray Farmer adamant that Brian Hoyer will start over Johnny Manziel


Johnny Back-up is very, very real. ESPNCleveland.com Browns blogger Tony Grossi of did a 10 question segment with Cleveland GM Ray Farmer, and there were some enlightening moments for fans. Farmer is obviously excited about all of his draft picks, but he indicated Browns fans should watch out specifically for Joel Bitonio to surprise us all in good ways. He called out Terrance West as someone who might also be able to contribute right away. And of course, he talked about Johnny Manziel and his prospects for starting the season right away and what that would mean. This is how it sounded.

Tony Grossi to Ray Farmer: “If Johnny Manziel is our starting quarterback in game one, it would mean that…”

Ray Farmer: “somebody got hurt.”

Tony Grossi: “I guess I can guess who that would be.”

Ray Farmer: “Maybe.”

None of this is to say that the Browns GM can predict the future, but it’s good to know that here in May with a few months to go before training camp that the organization actually thinks they should go with the experienced hand to start the season. Once again, it’s a large part of the massive departure of the last few years where it felt like “development” was more important than trying to win football games. Instead of competitions for roster spots, the Browns crowned Brandon Weeden—twice. It was a failure, but at least when the Browns brought in Jake Del Homme you got the feeling that they actually wanted to try to win right away. That’s why as I’m excited about Johnny Manziel, the fact that Browns are recognizing an experienced, effective veteran should (SHOULD) give them a better chance to win out of the gate.

Farmer also said that he was happy the team stuck to their board rather than over-emphasizing needs, something that is good to hear as drafting for need is how you end up with Mohamed Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie and Greg Little in the second round. Nobody needs a replay of that.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com/ Scott @ WFNY

    This is interesting to me if only for the reason that we had been told Farmer would provide the 53 men and Mike Pettine would decide who plays and when. Perhaps he’s speaking for Pettine here, but I’m piqued nonetheless.

  • jeff

    Think a Hoyer trade is in the works?

  • Adam Copeland

    If the definitive plan is to have Hoyer start next year, why are the Browns letting him play without some sort of long term contract extension? With Farmer, Pettine and Haslam all now making statements like this, the Browns are saying that Hoyer is important and good enough to start over a first round draft pick, but not important or good enough to merit a contract extension? There’s seems to be a disconnect here.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Not really – I don’t think they’re saying that Hoyer is the starter next year, but that at least for now they want Johnny to sit and learn. That doesn’t mean he isn’t the franchise QB.

    Think of Alex Smith in SF once they got Kaepernick: They clearly [at least looking back now] planned on Kaep becoming their long-term starter. But for as long as they felt Smith was good enough and Kaep not ready, that’s what they went with. Once they feel Johnny is ready, we’ll probably see Hoyer moved or benched, and assuming he plays half decently, that means we’re either getting nice trade value or we have a great backup.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    Scott, I always just assumed this indicated their agreed upon preferences…

  • Toddyus

    When I look at this from the boring organizational/personnel standpoint, there’s a lot of sense to this. Look around your own company. You probably have some recent grads, or at least junior people on staff. They may even be high-potential, high achiever types with more than their share of high profile internship experience.

    There’s little question they will be important contributors and likely have more potential than some of the people they will eventually replace. The boring side of it, however, is that outside of skill expertise, they don’t know anything and they’re learning all of it at once. They need to learn the systems, people, process, etc. The playbook if you will. Everything is new to them.

    If they’re my people, I want to get them up to speed quickly, but until then, I’d still rather have the sufficient guy who knows the routine doing the job. I also love that the sufficient guy may be underachieving – a situation that may quickly change when he sees his successor waiting in the wings.

  • Bob

    On one hand, Johnny only played college ball. He still must learn the intricacies and speed of the pro game. On the other hand, we only have 2.25 games of Hoyer the Destroyer in the Orange and Brown to look at. Statistically, he put up numbers expected of a competent backup. (Beat Minn with their terrible defense, put up 17 points on Cincy (as our D played their best game of the season), and went out early vs. Buffalo.)

    I like Hoyer and think we would have flirted with the playoffs in December he never went down, but 2.25 is in no way a sample size to draw conclusions from.

  • nj0

    You work with grads? How fancy.

  • nj0

    Yeah, but Smith signed a three year deal in 2012. It wasn’t like he was a lame duck QB.

  • nj0

    Extending Hoyer just makes sense. Unless he isn’t open to a deal.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    He was also a first overall pick who had a better track record and deserved that kind of contract.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Really good analogy. You don’t make the new grad your VP, no matter how talented – you make him work his way toward it and when he’s ready you give him the title.

  • nj0

    True. Which is why I think it’s not a great comparison.

  • Toddyus

    Grads, dads, lads, cads, you name it. Since I’m in marketing, I even work with ads and exploit fads. It’s not bad.

  • Garry_Owen


  • mgbode

    You mad?

  • mgbode

    Bitonio should surprise noone. He will destroy NFL DTs for the next 10-15 years.

  • Garry_Owen

    Just a tad, but generally think it’s rad.

  • Trey

    But at least leave open the possibility that he may be ready by the start of the season.

  • BenRM

    Hoyer starts a few games. Browns lose those. Then JFF finishes the season. Seems reasonable.

  • Harv 21

    was thinking the same thing. Not even a token modifier “the coach makes the final decision but I think it’s fair to say that …”

  • Harv 21

    He will wreck the middle of d-lines. He’s just too mean to warn them via text.

  • woofersus

    Hoyer isn’t worth all that much based on his career to date – especially since he’s rehabbing from a torn ACL. They certainly aren’t going to get a better quarterback straight up for him.

  • woofersus

    Both sides are probably hesitant to move on that until we see how he plays for half a season or so. They did draft a 1st round quarterback a few weeks ago, and they aren’t planning for Manziel to NOT take over next year.

    Hoyer may yet turn out to have been a diamond in the rough, but this isn’t about him. It’s all about giving Manziel time to learn the system and prepare. He’s a bit raw compared to guys who have had immediate success as rookies.

  • Tron

    It is curious to think who will make that decision. Pettine is a defensive coach. How capable is he to evaluate both QB’s and make a decision based only on practice reps? I think he admitted as much earlier on that he would be primarily focusing on the defensive side of the ball and leave the offense to Shanahan.

    You have to wonder how much of a leash Farmer is willing to give the new offensive coordinator.

  • Jason Hurley

    I don’t know the best approach the FO should take on this. If they address the media directly and answer with “Manziel will not be the starter” the media will ask “BUT WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY??!!!???”. If they say “It’ll be a competition” the media will say “OMFG MANZIEL IS THE STARTER LOLOLOLOL!!” In conclusion – the media sucks.

  • saggy

    Just want to add that I’m glad he doesn’t work at my pad.

  • mgbode

    Billy Madison is smiling upon us boys.