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Browns coach Mike Pettine, staff will meet tonight, figure out if they're ready to name starting QB

By Nate Ulrich Published: August 19, 2014

The Browns will meet Tuesday night to figure out if they're ready to name either veteran Brian Hoyer or rookie Johnny Manziel their starting quarterback for the Sept. 7 regular-season opener at Pittsburgh.

"We'll decide later if we're ready to name a starter," Browns coach Mike Pettine told reporters Tuesday afternoon during a conference call.

Hoyer and Manziel struggled so mightily Monday night during a 24-23 loss to Washington in the Browns' second preseason game that Pettine might hold off on choosing one of them. Pettine said he still prefers to pick a quarterback Tuesday because, in an ideal situation, one would be given the reigns of the offense before the "dress rehearsal" exhibition game Saturday against St. Louis.

"We could have one named, and I'm not ruling that out," Pettine said. "That's something we're going to discuss tonight. And if we do have to wait until after the next game, so be it.

"We're going to weigh everybody's opinion. I'm very clearly on record. I would like to make a decision, and that's still very much a possibility."

Delaying the decision could hurt the offense's chances of building chemistry. Right now, there is little evidence of cohesion.

"We want to get the decision right, so it's the risk-reward with it if we want to make sure that we're diligent with it and do the right thing," Pettine said. "I don't want to rush it and make it for the sake of making it. And then you're risking the chemistry and cohesion if you have the wrong guy there."

The decision will be made by a committee led by Pettine, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains.

So is the coaching staff divided on who should start?

"I don't sense a lot of division," Pettine said. "I think there's a lot of common ground with all of us. I wouldn't say there's any divide amongst the staff."

Pettine said if the decision is made Tuesday night, he's not worried about it being a tough sell to the locker room, even though Hoyer and Manziel are coming off poor performances.

Pettine called Manziel's middle-finger salute aimed at Washington's bench Monday night "extremely disappointing" and suggested it would hurt Johnny Football's chances of being chosen over Hoyer.

"I think we'll take into account all things quarterbacks A to Z," Pettine said. "So it's body of work. It's everything from the time they set foot in the building back in the spring up until today."

Still, Pettine wouldn't rule out the possibility of Manziel prevailing.

"I think all the options are on the table," Pettine said.

Pettine said the competition for the starting job is still between Hoyer and Manziel, so veteran Rex Grossman and undrafted rookie Connor Shaw wouldn't be considered.

"It's not as bad as it looked in person," Pettine said of Hoyer and Manziel's performances.

That's still not comforting because it looked really, really bad.

Extra points

Pettine said the coaches wanted better effort from All-Pro wide receiver Josh Gordon on a couple of plays Monday night. ... Receiver and return specialist Travis Benjamin left the game Monday night with injured ribs. "I think Travis is OK," Pettine said. ... Pettine said he would have an update Wednesday about whether defensive end Desmond Bryant needs wrist surgery. ... The NFL announced practice squads will increase from a maximum of eight players to 10 players.

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