Listen, I am big on character. I was not a Johnny Manziel fan when he was flashing the “Money” signs during his time at Texas A&M and I would be a liar if I said I was rooting for him to succeed in the NFL.
However the way the Cleveland Browns who following a 37-3 loss on Sunday have handled the situation with Manziel under a first-year and maybe only year head coach in Mike Pettine has been laughable.
Was Manziel ever the man in Cleveland? Who knows but if he rides the bench for the rest of the 2015 season we will never know.
Pettine never appeared to be in the corner of Manziel from the start. Last season the Browns looked like a playoff caliber team and then the second half of the season hit. Brian Hoyer struggled and instead of making the move to Manziel the Browns stuck with the veteran journeyman who they knew would not return for the 2015 season as their quarterback. There was nothing to gain, their playoff hopes were vanishing and when the season ended the Browns put themselves in the same situation.
Rather than state that Maniel was the man under center the Browns brought in another veteran journeyman in Josh McCown. If his failures as the quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were not evident enough, McCown had no right to be listed as a starting quarterback in the NFL and certainly not on a team devoid of any offensive hope – hope that could only be gained by a dynamic player with play making potential such as Manziel.
Instead the Browns rode with McCown and his struggles while Manziel hardly showed he was deserving of an elevation on the depth chart. A few weeks ago Manziel had a career day against Pittsburgh at which time he was named the teams starter for the rest of the season. Days later a video of him drinking surfaces and the Browns demote him to third string. McCown becomes injured and suddenly the Browns are turning to Austin Davis.
Fortunately the run of Davis under center will be short. Manziel is expected to be named the Browns starter for the rest of the season – for the second time. This time we can only hope the team allows him to run with it. The Browns have nothing to gain by sitting Manziel even if his off the field behavior lacks discipline.
The Browns drafted Manziel with the hope that he would ‘wreck this league’ but this far neither side has held up their end of the bargain. It is time for the Browns to let Manziel start and ride and die by him. It is only four games, the team is well out of the playoff picture. The best case scenario is a nice stretch of play which allows the Browns to either start him in 2016, keep him around as a backup or trade him for a late draft pick. The worse case scenario is a complete failure the likes of McCown and Davis rolled into one.
Well there is one more scenario. Manziel wins enough games for the Browns, prevents them from getting a higher draft slot. Hmmm… decisions, decisions.