After the Cleveland Browns decided to draft Johnny Manziel in the first round (22nd overall) of the NFL Draft, to be sure, they knew things would be different in Berea.
Suddenly, the national media would pay attention to the Browns and the former Heisman Trophy winner’s media persona, “Johnny Football”.
However, we think the brown and orange are handling things just fine so far, although ESPN and other national football writers would probably disagree.
First was owner Jimmy Haslam’s public statement that Manziel should come to the mini camp and training camp “acting like a back-up quarterback”. This statement is fine on so many levels.
It tells the rookie and everyone else that no one, including Manziel, will be handed a starting job. If the 22nd overall pick comes in and plays better than incumbent Brian Hoyer in training camp, he will be the starter against the Steelers in the season opener.
If Hoyer plays better, then he will take the first snap.
The other good reason for the comment is the organization’s read on Manziel, that he is ultra competitive. Telling a player with the competition gene that he isn’t the number one guy is the same as waving a red cape in front of a charging bull.
You know that now Manziel is going to work his tail off to prove the owner, the head coach, and his teammates wrong, and show he is capable of taking the ball at Heinz Field in the opener.
How can blame the Browns for playing that card?
The Browns are also taking heat for limiting the national media during the rookie mini-camp this weekend. Most of the players at the camp are fighting for their NFL lives, and having a tremendous focus on the rookie QB from Texas A & M isn’t fair to those players.
Plus, ESPN is their own classic way, blasted the Jets for the media circus their training camp became after they signed Tim Tebow. Talking out of both sides of their mouth, the hammer the Browns for limiting the media distractions.
Could it be that it’s because Manziel happened to turn up in Cleveland, the poster city for losing according to the four letter network?
As for Manziel, you have to be impressed at how he says the right things. He portrays himself as needing to earn his playing time, he understands he needs to work hard to get the starting job.
He has also said he understands that Hoyer isn’t going to hand him the starting gig.
It is also refreshing to hear how Manziel talks about wanting to be here, to be part of the solution, to be part of a turnaround for the franchise.
We understand that there is a certain part of the fan base that wants Manziel in there no matter what.
But the time to win for the Cleveland Browns is right now. They can’t afford to have another 10 loss season, and most fans don’t want to hear how a rookie quarterback is going to make mistakes that rookies do, and have those error contribute to another 5-11 season.
That would just be more of the “wait ’til next year” theme the franchise has had over the past several years.
If Manziel is the best QB coming out of camp, then start him. We have no problem with that. However, if Hoyer is better right now, than let the rook sit and watch for a while.
He’s the future signal caller for the Browns, but the future doesn’t have to start this September.