In the aftermath following the disaster that was Johnny Manziel’s first start...
Did the Cleveland Browns Put Brian Hoyer in an Impossible Situation by Drafting Johnny Manziel?
When Ray Farmer and the Cleveland Browns made the bold decision to trade up to snag Johnny Manziel at No. 22 in the 2014 NFL Draft, it created an issue much deeper than drafting him in the background of the fans’ burst of cheers. It is clear that an overwhelming amount of Browns fans wanted Manziel, and their wishes were granted.
However, at that moment what fans were not thinking about were the decisions of the coaching staff and what to do with Manziel. Clearly, it is still very early in the process, as we are yet to see Manziel on the Browns practice field. Before the draft those very same fans were also calling for Brian Hoyer to get his shot at the starting job. The question now is what should the Browns do with the impending quarterback competition.
Browns owner, Jimmy Haslam, said Manziel should “act like a backup QB,” and that Hoyer will be the starter going into camp. Haslam deserves his kudos for this call due to the history of rookie quarterbacks simply being handed the job here in Cleveland. The truth is, small sample size or not, Hoyer earned at least something with his play last season, opposed to Manziel who has yet to step foot on an NFL practice field, let alone a game situation.
This coaching staff and personnel department should be trusted and do not seem in any rush to put Manziel on the field unless he truly proves he is ready to go and be a difference maker on the field at the NFL level. He has a lot to learn in a little amount of time, and there is no book out there on what to do with a rookie quarterback, but Manziel can definitely benefit from a developmental sit and learn type of season.
The fan input and desire will be the hardest thing for the Browns personnel to deal with. Fans want the flashy new player out on the field, but what must be understood is that as much as you want to think the Browns staff is listening to you, they aren’t. On top of that, the Browns deserve credit for sticking to their draft plan after the reports of Josh Gordon’s failed drug test. They will continue to do what they think is best for the team, and the development of their new 1st round quarterback.
Truth is, the Browns have not put Hoyer in an impossible situation, but the fans certainly will be chanting Manziel’s name come the first mistake that occurs if Hoyer is named the regular season starter. Hoyer is going to get his shot in what is lining up to be an intense training camp battle between the two.
There is an unproven Hoyer who came in and showed signs of a smart quick release quarterback, and there is a rookie in Manziel who definitely needs to learn the NFL game, but clearly already has one of the largest excitement factors in the NFL.
Cleveland can’t fall victim to the notion that Manziel must start because he is Johnny Football. The Browns must take their time with him and develop him into the franchise quarterback. The worst thing they could do is force him into action too early. Forcing him into action early can only disrupt a player’s development.
Manziel’s style of play won’t allow for success if forced in. He is very innovative and deserves credit for that. However, innovating also leads to turnovers, which can mess with a young quarterback mentally, and innovating leads to unnecessary big hits, which nobody wants on their franchise quarterback.
Now, if Manziel rolls into camp, develops and learns quickly, and truly beats Hoyer out, then he absolutely deserves to see the field. However, until that is seen, Browns fans need to prepare themselves to see Hoyer on the field to start the regular season.
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