ESPN has Monday Night Football tonight, thank goodness. It’s been a grueling 6 months since the Superbowl, they are finally playing games again for the upcoming 2014 season. It’s a preseason game, Washington at Cleveland, where Brian Hoyer and savior Johnny Manziel are in a closely contested battle to be named the starter for the 2014 season. Hoyer is up first going 3 and out while taking a sack. Now comes the Cleveland defense who I believe have a chance to finish Top 5 in total defense for the 2014 season. Lets see what Hoyer does with field position and I’m already learning about Redskin backup RBs after watching starter Alfred Morris fumble horribly in preparation for my upcoming fantasy football draft to take place Aug 23, 2014. And I wonder if I am engaging in behavior without the NFLs consent. Am I recounting the game without their express written permission? I’m glad I have a website nobody reads so I do not have to worry about such things. Hoyer 3 and out again, and I’d like to mention Josh Gordon is on the field. Hoyer and Manziel are not going to enjoy his services come the 2014 NFL Regular season. Hey Coach Pettine, aren’t you suppose to practice like you’re going to play? Or maybe you’re hopeful Gordon’s one year suspension is going to be overturned? It wouldn’t completely surprise me … there’s too much evidence about marijuana and pain. Of course, if the suspension for marijuana is overturned, Commissioner Roger Goodell is going to suspend him for a year for being a repeat offender. This is HIS league and when he makes a decision regarding behavior, it gets upheld, even in a roundabout way, under this scenario. Manziel now in with similar field position as Hoyer had on his second drive and also goes 3 and out while taking a sack. The Cleveland Browns starting QB audition is completely unimpressive at this point. And more evidence for the New NFL, Cleveland with a killer penalty on 3rd and 17 for defensive holding, the 3rd on All Pro corner Joe Haden. How many times during the regular season are we going to see scoring drives continued on a defensive holding penalty or illegal contact in the secondary on third and long? Enforcing this penalty more often outside the first 5 yards is going to continue the record assault on NFL yardage we’ve seen in recent years … that’s the new NFL, lots of yards, lots of points, and hopefully your defense gets one more stop than the other team. Cleveland defense with a nice goal line stand and I’m continuing to learn about Washington RB options for my fantasy draft after seeing the hit Morris took on a play initially ruled a TD. Now instant replay, geesh Goodell, are we trying to become major league baseball with the length of games? The play was reversed, Cleveland D has a nice 4 play goal line stand, and now Manziel 99.5 yards away from Washington’s goal, takes over for his second drive. Hey Johnny Football, this is where starters are made. Manziel’s second drive, where he picked up a first down, was saved by another defensive holding call on 3rd and 18 followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for 15 yards on the Washington bench. Goodell has also ordered sportsman penalties to be enforced more strictly. A Manziel designed play, aka, the read option, didn’t fool anyone and was followed by two poor throws. Manziel leads Cleveland on a 60 yard drive, 5 first downs, and switches field position while Hoyer has not completed a pass or accounted for a first down. It appears Hoyer will get another chance as Washington’s second string offensive unit is taking over this drive. Hoyer, it appears, will be getting a shot against Washington’s second string defense. Hoyer takes over in the red zone after a Washington interception, Hoyer hasn’t completed a pass and completely missed a wide open receiver in the end zone on 3rd and 6. It’s a throw you can’t miss when you’re looking to be named the unquestioned starter of the Cleveland Browns because EVERYONE is just waiting for Manziel to get the opportunity. Hoyer leads the Browns to 3 points, the first of the game. Hoyer is coming out again, lets see his second drive, inside of 4 minutes left in the half, against Washington’s second string defense. It’s nice to see Hoyer complete a pass and get a first down, although Cleveland fumbled and it appears Washington will take over. We have to wait for another instant replay and confirmation of the turnover. We’re running just short of 90 minutes for the first half, 30 minutes of game time. A reason Europeans do not understand the game, it has taken an hour and a half to play 30 minutes, the game is called football, yet the players don’t use their feet and don’t use a ball, and they’re always trying to convince you to buy something. Learning names like Evan Royster and Roy Helu are crucial for successful fantasy football teams. Buster Skrine a good corner? Mike Tirico, teams don’t draft CBs 8th overall when one of their corners is All Pro and the other “good” in the way you describe Buster Skrine. Serviceable would be a better choice of words and Skrine is certainly more suited to the nickel role than covering the opponents #2. Curious to see who comes out for Cleveland in the second half. I don’t think you can say Hoyer has lost his job … he certainly has not done anything to cement himself in the position as the starting QB Week 1 @ Pittsburgh and can be described as nothing less than disappointing.
Washington’s first drive of the third quarter is what makes preseason NFL kind of exciting, watching players who are trying to make the squad. Washington’s receivers on the field include veteran Santana Moss, Andre Roberts brought in from Arizona, Aldrick Robinson, and 2014 5th round draft pick Ryan Grant, who now has 7 catches in the preseason. Which of these players will actually make the team? Cemented starters DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, who led the NFL in receptions during the 2013 season, there are only 4 slots left on a typical 53 man active roster at WR, and only 3 of these will actually dress for game day. Who will be the odd man out? Maybe Santana Moss who is welcome to sign with the Browns after being cut, Washington believed you had another season in you at age 35, giving you a 1 year $1M dollar contract.
Manziel takes over the first drive of the third quarter with excellent field position and turn the ball over on downs. Manziel’s second drive of the third quarter, extended by an illegal contact penalty in the secondary on 3rd and 12, with Josh Gordon STILL on the field, results in a Cleveland TD and Manziel’s first passing TD in the NFL. Manziel led Cleveland on drives of 11 plays for 60 yards and 16 plays for 68 yards and a touchdown.
Who’s the starting QB in Cleveland? Mike Pettine is apparently making a decision based on tonight’s game and the results have made his decision more difficult. Pettine must have hoped to see something convincing from Hoyer because Manziel appeared one week better in the second preseason game, complicating the decision. Hoyer really needs to show something in the preseason Week 3 dress rehearsal for the 2014 NFL regular season and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Manziel taking reps with the first team on August 23 against St. Louis.
The Cleveland QB battle is easily the top story of the 2014 NFL Preseason. And, it really isn’t a battle. Manziel is the future in Cleveland and the longer the Browns regime skirts the issue of who’s really the QB in Cleveland, the more difficult things are going to be Week 5 of the 2014 NFL Regular Season.