NFL position battles: Johnny Manziel, Brian Hoyer both flop in showdown

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Mike Pettine expected to have a starting quarterback named by Tuesday, but a poor performance from both of the candidates on Monday night could push back the decision. Elsewhere, Matt Cassel is holding off Teddy Bridgewater and Seantrel Henderson may have earned a starting job in Buffalo.

Outside of a sure-to-be overanalyzed flip of the bird, Monday night's preseason showdown between Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer was a non-event. Browns coach Mike Pettine was hoping to come away with a clear understanding of who his starting quarterback was, but he may be left with more questions than answers after both players -- and the offense as a whole -- looked bad against Washington. The pair alternated drives (Hoyer drew the start), with Hoyer going 2-of-6 for 16 yards and Manziel going 7-of-16 for 65 yards and a touchdown (don't get too worked up about that touchdown -- it was an eight-yard shovel pass). Accuracy was a problem for both, with Manziel especially missing receivers low or behind on multiple passes.

Pettine's plan coming into the week was to have a decision made by Tuesday. It's hard to imagine that he gleaned enough from Monday's garbage fire to stay on schedule, and he suggested after the game he's open to pushing the competition through the third preseason game.

"All options are still on the table,'' Pettine told Mary Kay Cabot of the "(Deciding Tuesday) is still something we'd like to do. We'll see.''

While Pettine sorts through his quarterback conundrum, let's check in on some of the other intriguing position battles from around the league.

Vikings quarterback

It would be easy to imagine that Teddy Bridgewater surged into the starting role after leading a brilliant last-minute, game-winning touchdown drive against the Cardinals last Saturday. The rookie, who finished with 177 yards and two scores, looked like a veteran while going 6-of-8 and leading his team 83 yards in just 53 seconds on the final drive.

But lost in Bridgewater's heroics is the fact that Matt Cassel had a good game himself. Cassel tossed for 153 yards and a touchdown, enough to earn him the start this Saturday against the Chiefs.

Though Mike Zimmer left open the possibility of Bridgewater seeing first-team reps in that game, Vikings blog Daily Norseman thinks the competition is over, at least for now.

With this being Cassel's third straight pre-season start, one would think that the only way that Cassel would lose the starting job now would be if he were to get injured against the Chiefs this Saturday or something like that.

Giants right guard

Tom Coughlin raised some eyebrows when he plugged rookie second-rounder Weston Richburg in for big-name free agent signee Geoff Schwartz at starting left guard on Monday. Despite that move coming in the wake of a particularly bad game from Schwartz (Pro Football Focus gave him the lowest grade of the Giants' starting offensive linemen against the Colts), there's no conceivable way that New York benches a player they just paid $5.7 million in guaranteed money.

Richburg's most likely path to the starting lineup is by beating out Brandon Mosley at right guard. Mosley has owned the first-team reps since Chris Snee retired the day before training camp, but Richburg, a center by trade, got a good dose of first-team reps against the Colts and could be making a push.

It's also possible that the Giants flip Schwartz to the right side and move the Mosley-Richburg competition to the left. It's somewhat surprising that Coughlin hasn't done that already, considering Schwartz played 31 games on the right side for the Chiefs over the last three seasons.

Bills right tackle

After missing a month of practice with an undisclosed illness, Cordy Glenn returned to Bills camp Monday night and immediately took back his starting spot at left tackle. That has major implications for the right tackle spot.

Rookie Seantrel Henderson, who had been filling in for Glenn on the left side, now moves over to right tackle to open a full-out battle with fellow rookie Cyrus Kouandijo. In Monday night's practice, Henderson pulled first-team duties over Kouandijo, who has struggled through two preseason games.

Don't be surprised that Henderson, a seventh-round draft pick, is edging out a first-rounder. Henderson was viewed as one of the most physically gifted offensive lineman in the draft, but saw his stock drop due to a plethora of off-field issues. He's kept his nose clean in Buffalo and impressed coaches after being tossed in at left tackle, allowing one sack and one quarterback hurry in three exhibitions. Kouandijo, meanwhile, has allowed two sacks, one quarterback hit and two quarterback hurries.

Titans running back

Rookie Bishop Sankey is the Titans' lead rusher through two preseason games and Shonn Greene went down with a hyperextended knee against the Saints last weekend. So why isn't Sankey, a second-round pick, the favorite to start?

For starters, it appears Greene has made a quick recovery. The vet was back at practice on Monday and told Fox News his knee was pain-free.

The most significant obstacle for Sankey, however, is his fumbling problem. He put the ball on the ground in the fourth quarter against the Saints and has had trouble with fumbles in practice, according to John Glennon of The Tennesseean.

In the end, it may not matter whose name is listed at the top of the depth chart. Sankey and Greene will split touches as part of a running-back-by-committee, with the versatile Dexter McCluster likely seeing a good bit of the ball as well.

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