Being drafted into the factory of sadness isn’t the way any young NFL player wants to begin his career. It doesn’t matter that the aforementioned player claims he was thrilled to be heading to Cleveland. Brady Quinn once said that too. Quinn was never surrounded by the necessary talent to succeed, and he became a big flop.
The question on everyone’s mind now is, are the Browns about to bury another young quarterback’s career? The answer may depend on what happens over the next several months.
It’s easy to dismiss the Browns’ offense based on last year’s performance. This time around, however, Cleveland has some pieces in place that may allow their offense to play with the rest of the AFC North. Let’s not run to the bank yelling, “The Browns are heading to the playoffs!,” but there’s certainly room for some tentative optimism in Cleveland.
Although Josh Gordon’s status for the 2014 season may be in question, the Browns are still working with Miles Austin and Nate Burleson. Ben Tate also gives the Browns a legitimate threat on the ground. Cleveland will also have a solid offensive line anchored by Alex Mack at center. The only thing the Browns are missing is a proven starting quarterback.
Brian Hoyer is currently slated as the Browns’ starting quarterback, although many of us don’t believe he’ll finish the season in the same capacity. That’s because Johnny Manziel is the most popular quarterback coming out of college since Tim Tebow, but unlike Tebow, Manziel has the talent to back up his hype.
If Browns head coach Mike Pettine doesn’t stick to his guns, he may torpedo Manziel’s career before it ever gets off the ground.
Manziel needs time to adjust to the speed of the NFL. Although Cleveland does have some offensive weapons in place, but throwing a rookie quarterback into an offense that is still learning a new system is a recipe for disaster. Manziel has always been a media darling, and it’s unclear whether he could stand up to widespread criticism.
By keeping Manziel on the sideline, the Browns would give him the best possible chance to succeed. Unfortunately, it’s entirely possible that Hoyer could struggle at times in 2014. If the Browns pull the plug on Hoyer, their only option will be Manziel.
Manziel is a hard prospect to analyze. Although he has a lot of natural talent, he also improvises far too often to be highly successful at the pro level. In short, Manziel has a lot of parts of his game to work on before he’s ready to take the spotlight.
Right now, the Browns are trying to handle Manziel with as much care as possible. If they stick to their guns, Cleveland may be able to break the cycle of sadness that is Cleveland sports, but their resolve will be truly tested over the next few months. Depending on who the Browns ultimately roll with, Manziel’s future could be made or lost this season.