BEREA, Ohio -- Mike Pettine admitted Monday that "it's natural to lean the other way" when deciding who should start at quarterback -- Johnny Manziel or Brian Hoyer -- for the Cleveland Browns against Cincinnati Sunday.
Pettine said the staff was to meet Monday evening about whether to stick with Hoyer or give Manziel his first start against the Bengals, but he was not prepared to comment on Sunday's starter because he had not talked to the players yet.
"We're in a results business," Pettine said Monday as he assessed Sunday's difficult offensive game in a 25-24 loss to the Colts. "We've lost two in a row. We all know what the numbers have been in the pass game. For us to be successful they have to improve."
Hoyer has one touchdown and eight interceptions in his last four games, and one touchdown drive in the last 29 possessions he's led. The Browns defense forced four turnovers and scored two touchdowns against the Colts, but the offense provided little help.
After starting 6-3, the Browns have lost three-of-four to fall to 7-6. Hoyer completed 14-of-31 for 140 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions against Indianapolis.
The groundwork certainly seems to be set for Manziel to take over. A team source told ESPN that Pettine has no choice but to make the switch to Manziel.
"I think it's natural to lean the other way, given the results," Pettine said, meaning leaning toward Manziel. "I still want to make sure we do our due diligence and get a chance to talk to everybody involved with it."
Pettine addressed two issues about Manziel that were made public on Sunday. The coach said the team's rule is a player has to arrive two hours before a game. Manziel was shown on FOX getting out of his car at 10:55 a.m., five minutes before the deadline.
That was not late, Pettine said.
"You're either on time or you're not," Pettine said. "It's like being slightly pregnant. He was on time."
Pettine reiterated that he was not upset that Manziel went to the Cavs game the night before last week's quarterback decision was made.
"I had no issue," Pettine said. "We're not going to micromanage our players outside of the building."
Pettine said the fact the Browns led much of the game against the Colts was the main factor in him not going to Manziel. He said a discussion about replacing Hoyer never took place.
"I think it's extremely rare that you would see a switch when the team has a lead," Pettine said.
The offense had just three first downs in the second half, one by penalty.
"When you go back and watch the tape, I think there are clearly some throws that (Hoyer) missed," Pettine said. "But I think it was also exaggerated by how poorly we were in the pass game around him. We always say that a quarterback is only as good as his supporting cast. When the guys around him play well, Brian will play well. It's rare that there's a quarterback who can transcend his supporting cast."
He also addressed whether Manziel is doing the work needed to be an NFL starter.
"I understand with the position comes a little bit more responsibility, and I kind of get a sense for what everybody's driving at here," Pettine said. "But it's part of the learning process. I know sometimes when you come from a system where it was simpler for him at A&M and at college as far as what defenses he was seeing and the extent of the game plan and all that. There's a transitional oeriod. All that's understandable."
Will Manziel be ready if he's named the starter?
"Absolutely," Pettine said.