Browns first-round QB Johnny Manziel will open the season as a backup to Brian Hoyer.
Unlike fellow rookie Blake Bortles, Manziel was given a fair shot to win the starting gig. He didn't seize it, showing immaturity on and off the field while averaging just 4.74 yards per attempts in two preseason games. "We're confident that Johnny is going to have a great future, but felt that Brian still had a decided edge on him," coach Mike Pettine said. While it's somewhat disappointing Manziel couldn't beat out a 29-year-old (in October) journeyman coming off an ACL tear, the future will likely come sooner than later. A change at the quarterback spot could come immediately following the Week 4 bye, especially if the Browns start 0-3. Their first three games are at PIT, vs. NO and vs. BAL.
Browns named Brian Hoyer their Week 1 starter.
"He was the clear leader from the beginning. We've maintained all along that if it was close, I would prefer to go with the more experienced player," explained coach Mike Pettine. Johnny Manziel was unable to close the gap, starting with off-field distractions during OTA season and culminating with a pair of uninspiring preseason performances. Hoyer, who will turn 29 in October and is coming off an ACL tear, will now serve as a bridge starter until the Browns deem Manziel ready. We suspect that will come as soon Week 5, as the Browns have to face Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Baltimore before their Week 4 bye. Hoyer will be a decided underdog in each of those games.
Coach Chip Kelly downplayed LeSean McCoy's "small version" for turf toe Tuesday.
McCoy practiced in full on Monday, a surefire sign that this ailment is nothing to be worried about. If the Eagles' medical staff had any concern at all, they would have held him out as the regular season opener is more than two weeks away. "He's fine," coach Chip Kelly said. "It's not as big of an issue as I think anybody has made it out to be. ... There’s a lot of questions about a toe in August that I think is way overblown." Owners looking for protection can snag Chris Polk, although he has to get over his nagging hamstring injury soon to secure the backup job.
There's concern that Bears RT Jordan Mills (foot) is in danger of missing Week 1.
Mills is listed as day to day, but he hasn't played in a preseason game yet and has been spotted with a walking boot sporadically throughout camp. He underwent left foot surgery in January. When asked if his starting right tackle's is in doubt for the opener, coach Marc Trestman said, "I'm hopeful that it's not. I'm not trying to get you to insinuate anything. I'm just hopeful it's not." Mills was the weakest member of the Bears' improved line last season.
FS Jairus Byrd (back) went through full-contact drills for the first time as a Saint Tuesday.
Byrd, who was signed to a $54 million deal on the first day of free agency, is coming off minor surgery to repair a disc issue. He's on track to be 100 percent for Week 1, as expected. Rob Ryan's Saints defense is loaded with talent and will also benefit from a relatively soft schedule. Their first five games are against Atlanta, Cleveland, Minnesota, Dallas and Tampa Bay.
Packers TEs coach Jerry Fontenot believes TE Colt Lyerla (knee, injured reserve) could eventually be moved to fullback.
Fontenot believes the move would "certainly (seem) to fit his wheelhouse." It's bizarre to hear of a 6-foot-4 tight end with 4.61 speed potentially being moved to fullback, but it's a moot point for 2014, as Lyerla will miss the entire season. There's a chance Lyerla will be riding the pine for another team, as he's been exposed to waivers after being waived/injured on Tuesday.
Although he admits there will be "temptation" to return, Tony Gonzalez insists he's retired.
Gonzalez acknowledges he's already been contacted about a comeback. "The temptation would be there, but I don't know what the gain would be,'' Gonzalez said. "I've always wanted a ring. ... But I'd be a mercenary to come in and get a Super Bowl ring, play with a team for, what, six, seven weeks?" Settling in nicely to his new role as a pundit for CBS Sports, Gonzalez has predicted the Broncos will go undefeated this season.
According to WGR 550 Buffalo, Bills RE Jerry Hughes has been an "overwhelming presence for the majority of camp."
Coming off a 10-sack, breakout campaign, Hughes drew similar plaudits for his play in the offseason program. Headed into the final year of his rookie contract, Hughes is going to make himself a ton of money if he can improve on or repeat his 2013.