After Brian Hoyer got the nod at quarterback one last time for the Browns last week vs. the Colts, the team has elected to turn to its prized rookie for Week 15. According to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (via Twitter), Hoyer and Johnny Manziel have been informed that Manziel will start for Cleveland this Sunday against the Bengals.
The Browns nearly pulled off an upset at home on Sunday against the Colts, but Andrew Luck led Indianapolis to a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter. Despite the Colts’ small margin of victory, it was Cleveland’s defense and special teams that kept the team in the game, while Hoyer had one of his worst games of the year, completing just 14 of 31 passes for 140 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. In his last three starts, since Josh Gordon‘s return, Hoyer has compiled a QB rating of just 45.6 and thrown seven INTs.
Even if the Browns were to win their last three games to finish with a 10-6 record, there’s no guarantee they’d make the playoffs, given the level of competition in the AFC. With Hoyer struggling and the team’s postseason chances slipping away, it makes sense for the club to see what Manziel, the 22nd overall pick in May, can do in the starting role.
Unless Manziel struggles mightily down the stretch, it’s very possible Hoyer has played his last game for the Browns. Hoyer, who is in a contract year, had a strong first half this season, fueling speculation that he could sign a long-term extension with the team, but his overall performance in 2014 suggests he’s probably not Cleveland’s QB of the future.