Mailbag: Can Manziel live up to the hype and can Terrance West be a starter?

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Is it weird that Johnny Manziel has the most jerseys sold in the NFL without ever having played a snap? Is it possible for him to live up to this insane hype?

 Bradley in Wisconsin

I don’t think it’s weird at all. People love the hot new commodity whether it be the brand new cell phone, the brand new video game system or in this case, the brand new hot shot quarterback. Plus, the Browns have one of the most loyal fan bases in the entire league (constantly ranked amongst the top-5 in the NFL). So, they support their team, now it’s only intensified with the most high profile rookie in the history of the league. When it comes to whether or not he’ll live up to the insane hype, I think absolutely not. But, does he have to in order to have success as a quarterback in the NFL, absolutely not. If Manziel lives up to this superhuman hype, he’ll be the best quarterback in the football the minute he steps out onto the field, which won’t happen. All the Browns need is a signal caller who can immediately contribute and transform into a top-15 quarterback within a year or two. Would that require Johnny Football to live up to the insane hype? No. But, would it suffice for team success on the field? Yes.

Could Terrance West be the opening day starter at RB?

 Bobby in C town

I definitively think he could be, but I ultimately think he won’t be. It’s kind of along the lines of that “Dumb and Dumber” quote, “SO YOU’RE SAYING THERE’S A CHANCE?” West is a talented back, and he’s a big bruising runner that would fit well into the hard-nosed style that defines the AFC North. When it comes down to it, I think it’s almost identical to the Johnny Manziel vs. Brian Hoyer battle. When it all comes down to it, neither player has done anything to deem himself not worthy of the spot, but I think the coaches will lean towards the guy, in this case Ben Tate, who ahs previous NFL experience. Plus, the team went out of its way to shell out a contract to Tate, who garnered interest from several other teams, so I doubt the coaches would give up on him before week 1. With that being said, I do think West will see some touches, especially on short yardage third downs and red zone appearances. Tate has also had injury problems in the past, so even if West doesn’t earn the starting spot immediately, injuries could give him a chance to shine earlier than expected.

 Who is the favorite to win the AFC North? Seems now to be an underwhelming Division. 

 Sinclaire in Louisiana 

 I would say the Cincinnati Bengals are currently the favorites to win the North. They are the defending champions of the division, and when you really look up and down the board, none of the teams have gotten significantly better or worse since last season. The Ravens and Steelers continue to become two of the oldest teams in the league, and while there are a ton of experienced players on both teams, it seemed, during points in last season, that the age caught up with them. Plus, with the Ravens, the outcome of the entire Ray Rice situation could make or break their season. The Browns are a very talented team, but still a little too young in my book. Plus, I’m not really sure about the wide receiver position, and the quarterback spot isn’t completely settled either. When I look at the teams in the division, the Bengals have the most all-around talent, especially at the key skill positions, plus they’ve been there done that (in the sense of winning divisions, not playoff games), so it’s something that they’re already used to.