BEREA, Ohio — Johnny Manziel will start Cleveland’s exhibition opener ... on the sideline.
Browns coach Mike Pettine named Brian Hoyer the starting quarterback for Saturday’s game at Detroit, giving the veteran the first chance to impress before Manziel takes the field.
Pettine said the decision to start Hoyer was based on his performance so far in training camp.
“That was his job,” Pettine said. “He was the one coming into it. We did want to mix the groups up coming into it, as we did, but he’s done nothing to have that taken away from him, so he’ll be out there with the starters.”
Manziel took his first practice snaps with the first-team offense earlier this week. He could get some playing time with Cleveland’s starters against the Lions.
The competition between Hoyer and Manziel appears to have tightened in recent days, and Pettine said both QBs have made progress.
“They’ve both made improvement, and I think they’re both doing a great job of playing to their skill sets,” Pettine said. “It’s obviously very different, what they bring to the table. I think Brian’s starting to feel very comfortable in the pocket.”
JAKE LONG WON’T PLAY AGAINST SAINTS: St. Louis left tackle Jake Long has sat around longer than he has wanted. He’s going to have to wait a little more before he gets to play.
Long had surgery in January to repair a torn ACL. Though he has been participating in all preseason practices, he won’t see any playing time Friday when the Rams host the Saints in the teams’ preseason opener.
“Jake will not play,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “Could play, but we’re not going to play him.”
Long isn’t certain whether he’ll see any action before St. Louis begins its regular season Sept. 7 against Minnesota.
Around the league
Falcons receiver Julio Jones said he isn’t sure he’ll play in Friday night’s preseason opener against Miami even though he feels good about his recovery from a broken foot. ... Cardinals tight end Jake Ballard announced his retirement. He traced his decision to the severe knee injury he suffered playing for the Giants in the 2012 Super Bowl. ... The Pro Football Hall of Fame is adding a contributor category for nomination next year. The new category has the potential of increasing the number of annual inductees to eight.