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Pettine: 'Nothing's changed' in Hoyer-Manziel derby

If the Cleveland Browns plan to make a switch under center, they aren't letting on to it.

Coach Mike Pettine told reporters after a Monday practice that saw Brian Hoyer take first-team reps that Johnny Manziel remains the team's backup.

"Nothing's changed," Pettine said. "If there was a significant change on the depth chart, it would be reflected on the field."

Pettine reiterated that he's not ready to name a starter for Cleveland's next preseason game against the Washington Redskins.

"It's such a long time going to Monday night, so it will probably be a few days," Pettine told NFL Media's Aditi Kinkhabwala.

Manziel's opportunity to earn that start will be influenced by this week's practices, with the Browns planning to give the rookie his share of first-team reps in drills. Pettine just wants to see the young quarterback "continue to master his craft," denying that the No. 22 overall pick will "start just to start," as Kinkhabwala put it.

"If you're gonna put a (guy) in a starting role," Pettine said. "that needs to be earned."

Both quarterbacks were asked about safety Donte Whitner's claim that Cleveland's locker room is split "50-50" on who should start against Pittsburgh come Week 1.


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"I don't feel any rift like that or anything going on in the locker room," Manziel said. "As far as my end, I think they see two guys coming out, playing football and competing."

Said Hoyer: "To me, this is my team until someone else tells me otherwise."

Manziel was prodded repeatedly by scribes over whether he's done enough to earn a start against Washington, but the rookie safely avoided controversy, saying: "I don't expect anything."

Starting Manziel seems like a no-brainer around these parts. Against the Lions, Hoyer had a full opportunity to play behind Cleveland's sturdy first-team line and throw to the roster's thin supply of starting-caliber receivers.

If the Browns truly want to know what Johnny brings, give him a chance to do the same.

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