What happens now to the first-round pick who sent waves of hope rippling through the streets of Cleveland all summer long?
My guess: We won't wait long to see Johnny Football back under center.
Not as a starter, but in a subpackage role that Pettine has hinted at for months.
The former Jets defensive coordinator was impacted by a 2012 tilt that saw the 49ers fry Gang Green with an off-the-bench Colin Kaepernick running a souped-up version of the Wildcat. Pettine on Wednesday shot down the idea of a two-quarterback system, but we still expect Shanny to dip Manziel into action with a handful of plays that make the most of his gifts.
Using Manziel as a change-of-pace option might be the only surprise element this potentially anemic offense can throw at the Steelers come Week 1.
Hoyer, meanwhile, is under plenty of pressure to play at a level he's never achieved before in the NFL. The scenario is set up for the Browns to return to Manziel as their starter before long -- maybe even during the team's Week 4 bye after a brutal opening stretch against the Steelers, Saints and Ravens.
Despite Mike Pettine's decision, Bucky Brooks still believes Johnny Manziel is a better option at quarterback than Brian Hoyer. READ
That's just enough time for Manziel to master a playbook that Hoyer has shown better control of in practice.
"Andrew Hawkins told me weeks ago: You walk into the huddle and Brian Hoyer says something -- you don't even question it, you don't even wonder because the kid prepares so much," NFL Media's Aditi Kinkhabwala told "NFL AM" on Wednesday. "He's put in so much time, you know he knows what he's talking about.
No matter how the Browns spin it, they've found trouble again under center. You don't draft a first-round quarterback if you believe the starter already exists on the roster.
Cleveland, though, has seen a thousand signal-callers thrown into the fire, only to burn away. They're taking their time with Manziel, but he won't sit for long.