The quarterback competition in Cleveland is currently a non-issue . Veteran QB Brian Hoyer is kicking some rookie butt, prompting GM Ray Farmer to say that Hoyer is a better quarterback by “by a substantial margin”. But Farmer isn’t the only one piling onto Manziel.
Head coach Mike Pettine went so far as to say the Manziel would have to re-earn his “Johnny Football” nickname.
Where’s the love? This guy is a Heisman Trophy winner, and the Browns used their 22nd overall pick on him. Not since Tim Tebow has a rookie player had a more rabid fanbase (as evidenced by jersey sales, etc). Are they already giving up on him? Why not just go ahead and officially name Hoyer the starter?
There are a couple of reasons for the harsh love given to the college superstar. One is the age-old tradition of putting rookies in their place. Many drafted players were the best player on their college team, but awaken to the reality of being one of the lesser players on an NFL team. In the words of LT Joe Thomas, “rookies are supposed to be seen and not heard.”
But the other reason for the no-holds-barred criticism of Manziel could be the Cleveland organization’s plan to stifle Manziel Mania. By pointing out Johnny’s flaws and areas that need improvement, the Browns want to quiet the vocal contingent of fans that want Manziel to start day one. In theory, this rookie hazing will imbue a little more patience in fans of the rookie as well as to give Manziel himself motivation for improvement. The fact that Manziel actually does have a lot to work on before he’s NFL QB material makes this approach easy.
All that said, the fact that Hoyer is so far ahead of Manziel is nothing to be concerned about, according to Pettine: “It’s just like any other rookie, that he’s just inconsistent.” He went on to say that formations and mechanics are most of the problem, and that “once all that stuff becomes second nature a little bit, he’ll be a lot more comfortable.”
But for now, there really is no QB competition in Cleveland.