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Browns' Brian Hoyer not ready for prime time vs. Rams

On a problem-filled night for the Cleveland Browns, the most pressing issue was a doozy: Brian Hoyer doesn't resemble an NFL starter.

Three days after "winning" the team's over-hyped quarterback competition, Hoyer "led" the starters to a mere 76 first-half passing yards in a 33-14 loss to the St. Louis Rams.

Hoyer's seven drives generated four punts, an interception, a strip-sack and just seven first downs. His 10-of-16 passing night also included a five-yard scoring strike to Andrew Hawkins -- the only touchdown by Cleveland's first team all preseason. Scary stuff.

Hoyer's chemistry with his mediocre cast of wideouts was improved, but his 5.3 yards per attempt -- which matches his preseason total -- speaks to the veteran's inability to find his targets downfield in this offense. Not a surprise considering whom he's throwing to.

"I don't think he played well enough, that's across the board," Browns coach Mike Pettine told reporters, before adding, per NFL Media's Aditi Kinkhabwala: "It's hard for your quarterback to look good when guys around him are not playing up to our standards."

We see nothing sustaining about Cleveland's attack. They've preached a ground-and-pound run game, but the so-called double-headed monster of Ben Tate and Terrance West combined for a paltry 2.2 yards per carry.

Manziel's night was slightly more hopeful. Hitting the scene in the third quarter, the rookie orchestrated a rapid-fire touchdown drive capped by a crowd-pleasing 7-yard scramble to pay dirt. Johnny Football and his plus arm looked more comfortable than last week, but his 5.7 yards per attempt magnify a scheme yet to achieve liftoff.

Maybe play-caller Kyle Shanahan has something up his sleeve for the regular season -- or maybe it's just clear that we'll see Manziel much sooner than the Browns planned when they elevated Hoyer into the catbird seat.

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