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Johnny Manziel struggled with Browns' playbook

It felt like there were no winners in the Cleveland Browns' starting quarterback competition, but we now know that Brian Hoyer will line up under center in Week 1. Johnny Manziel wasn't ready.

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Despite Mike Pettine's decision, Bucky Brooks still believes Johnny Manziel is a better option at quarterback than Brian Hoyer. READ

This competition was never about Hoyer. As Browns coach Mike Pettine said, it was about Manziel versus the playbook. It sounds like the playbook is winning early.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that players knew Manziel was struggling to call plays. (Viewers of Monday Night Football got a taste of the issue during a telecast when Manziel struggled to spit out the complicated verbiage of the Kyle Shanahan system.)

Rapoport noted that the Browns quickly discovered what a steep learning curve Manziel had after playing in a spread college offense with no playbook. Play calls, snaps under center and setting protections were all skills that Manziel had to learn from the ground up.

NFL Media's Aditi Kinkhabwala relayed a conversation with wide receiver Andrew Hawkins, during which he talked about Hoyer's veteran command of the playbook.

"With Johnny Manziel, the people in the huddle are still helping him a little bit," Kinkhabwala said.

This is all part of the natural evolution of a young quarterback. And it doesn't mean that Manziel will remain on the bench all year. As Marc Sessler notes in his excellent piece, it would not be a surprise to see Manziel on the field in Week 1 with a special package of plays. It also would not be a surprise if Manziel is starting at quarterback coming out of Cleveland's Week 4 bye.

Johnny Football's time is coming. He just has to beat the playbook first.

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

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