Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine expects a battle for the team's starting quarterback role. The combatants: Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer. Pettine makes no bones about wanting the two men scrapping it out for the job.
"We don't want guys who are going to be warm and fuzzy,'' Pettine told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "They're fighting for a job. It's somebody you're going to be working with. It's a unique situation where you're competitive, you want that job. It's not going to be this warm and fuzzy (thing). That to me is how you want your quarterback to be."
Good to know they don't want Manziel making friends with his main competition for the job. Pettine almost sounded like he wanted some sparks to fly between the two.
"I don't know if they're going to be sending each other Christmas cards anytime soon," Pettine said.
Asked to clarify, Pettine didn't change his tune.
"Yeah, that's what I meant," Pettine said. "Nobody's going across the table yet in a quarterback meeting, (but) they're ultra competitors. They're going to be friendly to each other, but that's why I said that."
Pettine said that Hoyer is the starter now and that Manziel is going to have to beat him out for the job. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, who certainly says whatever he wants and seems to be quite prolific at that, earlier said that he wanted Manziel to act like a backup. No one has been able to confirm what in the heck this even means, but apparently — if we pair them with Pettine's backup talk — it means they want their backup to be an ornery dog. Or something.
The Browns also have undrafted rookie Connor Shaw and NFL journeyman Tyler Thigpen on the roster at quarterback, fighting for roster spots. South Carolina's Shaw and Manziel, who played at Texas A&M, were SEC competitors but did not face each other the past two seasons.
Basically, what Pettine wants at quarterback are competitors. He tried to contextualize his comments by saying that the best quarterbacks have an edge to them. But is he saying he wants Hoyer to be the gnarlier dog? Consider this quotation:
"The Peyton Mannings and the Tom Bradys probably aren't the warmest and the nicest to the guys who are coming in trying to take their jobs," Pettine said.
"There's no better motivator than someone breathing down your neck trying to take your job."
Pettine and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan might be uniquely qualified to handle Manziel and the show he's bringing to Cleveland. Pettine observed Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow during that circus, and Shanahan was in Washington when the Redskins drafted Robert Griffin III. Both Tebow and Griffin drew an awful lot of attention — and distraction.
But we don't recall either one of those teams requesting that the affable Griffin or the cherubic Tebow start not sending Christmas cards ...
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