Cast one vote for Brian Hoyer in the Browns’ quarterback derby.
Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason thinks it would be a disaster if coach Mike Pettine picked rookie Johnny Manziel as his Week 1 starter.
“I’m telling you right now, he is not even remotely close to being ready,” Esiason said Tuesday on his radio show on WFAN. “If he opened as the starting quarterback in Pittsburgh in Week 1, he would get his (butt) kicked. And his (butt) would be driven into the ground. Because I’m telling you, other teams hate this guy. Hate him.
“I saw it from the Detroit Lions. I saw it last night from the Washington Redskins. And I’m telling you, those linebackers for the Pittsburgh Steelers are just praying to God that (Manziel) plays in Week 1. And if I were Mike Pettine, I would have to have my head examined to put that kid on the field. He is not even close to being ready.”
Washington players yelled at Manziel during the game Monday night and mocked his money signature after a sack. Manziel flashed an obscene gesture at Washington’s bench after an incompletion in the second half.
Esiason, who played with the Bengals from 1984-92, also picked on Manziel’s draft-night “wreck this league” text to Browns quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains.
“Yeah, OK. You’re gonna get wrecked, son,” Esiason said. “You know, the NFL is about as unforgiving a place as there is on God’s green earth. It is a men’s place. It is for people that have a very, very strong constitution.
“Whether or not you can handle it is going to be determined by your maturity level. And right now, this kid is a baby.”
Pettine stayed out of the fray.
“That’s Boomer’s opinion and he’s entitled to it,” he said. “Any quarterback that we put out there against Pittsburgh, we’ll have confidence in and the game plan built around them that they can be successful.”
MORE EFFORT, PLEASE
Receiver Josh Gordon has often appeared distracted during camp and the preseason as he awaits a ruling on his appeal of an indefinite suspension. He dropped two slants Monday, one from each quarterback.
“There were a couple of plays where I know we would want … we just came out of a personnel meeting and talked about it and we would have wanted better effort,” Pettine said. “We want him to finish plays better. There were a couple of balls that were behind him that he made an effort to catch, they were tough to catch but we would want regular-season effort to match preseason effort.”
Gordon had one catch for 8 yards.
Pettine said receiver/returner Travis Benjamin should be OK after leaving the game with a rib injury after a big hit.
Pettine will update the status of defensive lineman Desmond Bryant today. He might need surgery on his wrist.
ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” broadcast drew a 4.5 rating and 6,898,000 viewers, according to Nielsen. The telecast is the highest-rated and most-viewed NFL preseason game on ESPN in five years — Houston vs. Minnesota with Brett Favre.
Cleveland-Washington ranks as ESPN’s fifth-highest-rated and sixth-most-viewed preseason game (since 1990).
The game drew a combined 28.5 rating in Cleveland, 21.1 on Channel 3 and 7.3 on ESPN.