He has been a target for criticism over the past few years.
The persona that Johnny Manziel, or should I say Johnny Football has created over his college and early NFL career is incredible. It’s MTV meets Rudy with a pinch of fantasy. In terms of his presence in the media Johnny Manziel has been a complete success. It’s rare to see any sports outlet not talking about this lightning rod from Texas. In short, Johnny Manziel is Tim Tebow 2.0. Better player, same unnecessary attention.
However, Manziel is something different for Cleveland Browns fans. A symbol of hope.
In a franchise that has been built on futility and despair for almost 60 years, Manziel is a beacon of hope that the franchise has gone all in on. Unfortunately, this will be the biggest disappointment for the Browns since the original franchise moved to Baltimore in 1995.
What you say? How can you say that? It’s only been a preseason. Sorry Browns fans this is not the savior. Don’t get me wrong, I think Johnny can play in this league, he’s just not a player a franchise can be built solely around. If anything Manziel will be like a young Michael Vick. A player who on the highlight real will show off a great deep ball or a 50 yard scramble for a 30 second highlight. But he will never be a consistent quarterback in the NFL. One week he will light it up while the next week he will throw three interceptions. Great quarterback on Sports Center, not in a four quarter NFL game.
Why am I so sure, just look at this past few weeks. This preseason Manziel couldn’t even beat out journeyman Brian Hoyer for the starting job. Why? a 50 % completion rate magnified with errant throws against vanilla second teams defenses is not a good sign. Looking around the league it seems like every other rookie signal caller including ones that the Browns could have selected have outperformed Johnny.
Blake Bortles has played well enough to earn the starting job in Jacksonville, but ore importantly the quarterbacks on the board when the Browns were picking have looked much better. Derek Carr will start in Oakland and has shown off a big arm and the ability to move the football around the field. Teddy Bridgewater has shown that while he may need a little more time to develop could be a solid game manager and starter right now. Even late draft pick Zach Mettenberger has shown flashes in the preseason. Johnny? After a decent showing in the first preseason, the usually loud Manziel was rather quite over the next three weeks.
The other cause for concern? Did you see Texas A&M against South Carolina? Originally people thought that Johnny Manziel made coach Kevin Sumlin. Now we’ve learned it’s the other way around. In Sumlin’s offense sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill played his first SEC game on the road against No. 9 South Carolina. In his first game Hill light up the scoreboard with 511 passing yards and broke all of Johnny’s individual game records in his first start. Looks like Sumlin knows how to coach offense.
Sorry Cleveland, on the bright side Lebron James is back, but if you expect Johnny Manziel to be the football savior for the Browns, prepare for only more heartbreak.