Could the Cleveland Browns really consider starting a rookie quarterback against Dick LeBeau and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Week 1? LeBeau appears to think so, taking what has recently transpired in Browns Training Camp and extrapolating it toward the first week of the 2014 regular season.
“I’m expecting (Johnny) Manziel to be the starter,” LeBeau told Cleveland.com’s Tom Reed. “That’s what I’m expecting. What he did in college is not an accident. He did it often enough against good teams. [...]
“I think he is going to be a handful for all of us,” said LeBeau, a Pro Football Hall of Famer. “You watch all his games and he created plays, he made plays, he kept plays alive.
“He has the ability to see people and the touch with the football to get it in there late in the down. I think he will be successful at this level.”
Could there be some gamesmanship taking place? Reed added that other organizations, while not as willing to go on the record like LeBeau, privately believe that the Browns are slowly moving toward making Manziel, the No. 22 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Opening Day starter.
While Brian Hoyer is presently listed as the No. 1 quarterback on the team’s depth chart, and is expected to start this weekend against the Detroit Lions, Manziel has been picking up steam, flashing his ability to create on the run, make smart decisions—throwing out of bounds, sliding before contact—and general growth when it comes to the team’s playbook.
General belief remains that Hoyer will start the season under center, allowing Manziel to take over at some point down the road as the team’s schedule becomes less onerous.
(Photo: Scott Sargent/WFNY)