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Johnny Manziel, Brian Hoyer fall flat in Browns' loss

Brian Hoyer gave Johnny Manziel an opening in the Cleveland Browns' quarterback competition Monday night. The rookie didn't exactly high-step through it.

Both quarterbacks fell flat versus the Washington Redskins, leaving impartial observers to wonder if Rex Grossman might be the best option on the roster.

Coach Mike Pettine has maintained that the starter will be decided Tuesday, but after the game he changed his tune. 

"All the options are on the table," Pettine said at the postgame news conference. " ... Whoever gives us a chance to win the opener is going to be the starter."

Whereas the Vikings' second preseason game painted a best-case scenario for their two quarterbacks, Monday night's effort spelled doom for the Browns' offense.

Cleveland defenders had as many yards in interception returns as the offense generated in total by late in the second quarter.


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Hoyer went three-and-out on three of his four legitimate series. His two completions were both thrown within a foot of the line of scrimmage. Manziel provided the lone offensive highlight, an eight-minute drive aided by penalties and capped off by an inside screen to Dion Lewis that went for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Prior to that series against Redskins' backups, Manziel's night was filled with inaccurate passes, missed reads, shaky pocket presence, failure to adjust to blitzes and a botched clock sequence.

If Manziel proved not ready for prime time, Hoyer served up a useful reminder that he's no more than a journeyman player best utilized in a second- or third-string role.

The Browns' brain trust has emphasized that this decision will come down to game performance, in which case Pettine can't justify handing the offensive reins to either quarterback.

He's going to need another week to sort through this mess.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" recaps all of the action from the second week of the preseason.

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