The Cleveland Browns had targeted Aug. 19 as the day they chose between Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel. But after the Browns, Hoyer and Manziel all struggled against the Washington Redskins on Aug. 18, it wasn't too shocking that a decision wasn't made the next day. But that made it more surprising for Cleveland to choose anyway on the morning on Aug. 20 - never mind that its ultimate choice of Hoyer may not be the most popular in town.
While the Browns had made clear that the job of starting quarterback was Hoyer's to lose, Manziel's overwhelming popularity and buzz could have easily carried him over. In fact, all he needed was a solid performance against the Redskins, and it might have been impossible for Cleveland to ignore the calls for his promotion. Yet the biggest thing he did in Washington was flip off the Redskins' bench.
That could have made the Browns pick Hoyer the next day, but Aug. 19 came and went without a decision. This made it likely that the competition would stretch into Cleveland's third preseason game against the St. Louis Rams on Aug. 23, which will be Manziel's home debut.
Nevertheless, the Browns finally made their choice this morning, putting Hoyer on an even bigger hot seat. At the slightest struggle -- of which there may be many, given how poor the Browns are -- the Manziel-loving fans will be quick to call for Hoyer's benching. If Cleveland has a poor first half of the season, it may need to bench Hoyer and finally see what it has in Manziel by necessity in the second half.
Until Manziel takes the field in the regular season, the Browns will likely toil back in obscurity, no matter how fair it is. Manziel's selection in the NFL draft gave Cleveland professional football its biggest buzz since the Browns were reformed over a decade ago. However, it clearly hasn't influenced the Browns' coaching staff the way many fans wanted.
Those fans will still get to see Manziel play in Cleveland for the first time on Aug. 23. If the Browns actually win under Hoyer, however, it might be the last time Manziel gets serious action at home in his rookie season.