Johnny Manziel has made his Cleveland Browns debut. And thank heavens we all lived to see another day. To hear the local and national media Manziel’s arriving and performing at the Browns rookie mini-camp over the weekend was that of which legends are made of.
Of course they only saw 15 minutes of it. Which means the media is more intelligent than any of the coaches or scouts known to mankind. They feel after one weekend and 900 seconds of seeing him throw, Manziel should be the starter against Pittsburgh on September 7th.
This after a quarter hour of watching “Johnny Football” throw against nobody. Air. Indoors as a matter of fact. Not outdoors in the rain or elements like he will be playing in this season. In a controlled environment. But then that’s what caused the Cleveland media to do cartwheels over him after his Pro day in Texas.
Does anyone remember Tom Couch? The highly regarded quarterback from Kentucky in 1999? The Browns had the first selection and chose the Wildcats QB. He was the hotshot in that draft and came to the team ready to sling the ball all over the new stadium for an expansion team. He was to sit behind Ty Detmer for one season to learn the system and then the team would be his.
Instead, the plans changed at halftime of the first game against Pittsburgh. Down 20-0 at halftime, coach Chris Palmer turned to his rookie quarterback and the rest is history. Behind a lackluster offensive line and a torrid pass rush, Couch put up a total of 0 points in the second half as the Browns lost 43-0. The rest of the season was much of the same. Couch was pummeled from stem to stern through 15 games, finally missing the final game that season with a banged up foot. Couch never recovered from the beating he took that first year.
Yet the media is so hungry for Manziel they don’t care. They want him on the field, even at the expense of a hometown boy in Brian Hoyer. A quarterback who played in 3 games one year ago, all wins, before he tore his ACL in the Buffalo game. Hoyer is the only Cleveland quarterback to reach such lofty heights since the return.
But lets forget all that and throw Manziel to the wolves. Let him run for his life, much like Archie Manning did. Much like Robert Griffin III did his first two years while sidelined with an ACL injury also.
The national media wants a story. Manziel is it. He brought ESPN ratings on Draft night. Then the Browns brought down the curtain on them by not allowing any media into their mini camp. The Browns are in the right, and the media’s own argument is against them.
They want Manziel to be the starter, to be under center on September 7th. For that to happen, he must get used to a structured offense. Something he never had at Texas A & M. Manziel played without a playbook for two years with the Aggies. Plays came in as a pass or run. He improvised. He cannot do that in the NFL.
So if, and that a BIG if, Manziel has any hope of being the starter he must learn the offense and the professional way of doing things. To do that, he must give his all to the team and football right now. Not worry about ESPN wanting an interview, or the local media wanting a piece of him.
The Browns should go one step further and not allow Manziel any interviews with anyone for the first year without their consent. No endorsement deals or “nights out with Johnny Manziel” at the local restaurant for Monday Night Football. He should be shut down for one season so he can learn how to play the game. This is the only chance for him to develop into the kind of quarterback he needs to be.
The national media can wait. The local media can wait. For Browns fans and for the team’s sake, they should wait until next year.
And Another Thing: The Tribe enters Tonite’s game with Detroit having committed a Major League-leading 45 errors in 44 games, over half as many as they made in all of 2013 (98). The Indians have already allowed 28 unearned runs after giving up 51 in 2013.
Dave Mitchell co-hosts with Mark Donahue the UST talk show “Ohio Baseball Weekly,” highlighting the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds. The Show is at 9pm every Monday evening. He is also the host of the “Ultimate Sports Talk” show every Thursday night at 7pm. If you have a comment on this or any other article,email Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @ohbbcohost or @ultsportstalk.