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Brian Hoyer to start preseason opener, but Johnny Manziel gaining?

Brian Hoyer will get the start at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns' preseason opener, on Saturday at Detroit, which isn't much of a surprise. But it seems like rookie Johnny Manziel is gaining ground, which seems to be leading to the inevitability that he'll be Cleveland's starter sooner rather than later. 

Hoyer will start but there's a "possibility" that Manziel gets some time with the starters, Browns coach Mike Pettine said, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. Manziel started to get some practice time with the first-team offense this week, and it appears to have gone well. Manziel said he's grasping the playbook better this week and the lights have come on since the first week of training camp, the Cleveland Plain Dealer said.

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In Pettine's announcement that Hoyer would start, it seemed rather lukewarm.

"It was his job," Pettine said about Hoyer, according to the Beacon Journal. "He was the one coming into [training camp]. We did want to mix the groups up as we did, but he's done nothing to have that taken away from him, so he'll be out there with the starters."

That may mean nothing, just a coach answering a routine question in the middle of a lot of routine questions in camp, but "he's done nothing to have that taken away from him," isn't all that exciting of an endorsement. It's a lot less enthusiastic than the first week of camp, when the quotes about Hoyer were so over-the-top positive they were clearly a message aimed right at Manziel.

Maybe all of that worked. Manziel has said he's the type of player who performs better in games, which will make the Browns' preseason so interesting. The Steelers, the Browns' Week 1 opponent, appear to be preparing for Manziel to be the starter, and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that's what he is planning on.

Based on the positive strides Manziel seems to have made this week, there seems to be a good chance of that being the case.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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