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Opinion: A 10% Reason Why The Browns Need To Stick With Manziel

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With media reports of the Cleveland Browns being 90 percent done with Johnny Manziel, is his time in Cleveland running out?

By now, we have heard and read all the reports of Manziel being close to finished in Cleveland, due to his various off-the-field incidents, lack of maturity and forgettable performances against Cincinnati and Carolina leading to the likelihood that Cleveland will jettison the former Heisman Trophy winner out of Texas A&M by going in a new direction entirely.

April Fools jokes aside, giving up on Manziel so soon is classic Cleveland incompetence.

Personally I’m in the pro-Manziel minority here in stating that if the Browns make such a move in taking ANOTHER quarterback a year after Manziel—after letting their best QB since ‘99 in Brian Hoyer kick rocks to Houston and bank on a journeyman quarterback in Josh McCown who has a total of 17 wins in 12 years—then Jimmy Haslam, Mr. General TextMaster in Browns General Manager Ray Farmer need to fire themselves and find new lines of work, because such a bone-headed move is another reason why the Browns are the perennial laughing stock of the league.

To my fellow Dawgs, please allow me to reason with you for a second with my logic, in first stating that Manziel is far from perfect, we all know that. And while he is just a young man, he needs the chance to develop and prove all the naysayers—and bitter Hoyer uber-homers—wrong in living up to his draft position before pining out meager and remote Super Bowl dreams on the likes of McKown.

For the record, and I just want to say this, but the proverbial pipe dream and fantasy of trading up for Marcus Mariota is that, a dream. I don’t mean to burst everyone’s bubble and channel my inner Tony Grossi—the best Browns journalist, period—but Cleveland has greater needs at tight end(thanks Judas Cameron), offensive line, defensive line, outside linebacker AND OF COURSE—drumroll please, wide receiver.

While all areas are of equal concern, I’m not holding my breather on Mr. Texter-In-Chief taking a WR on day one or two, as his logic seems to be that since we have Canton’s finest in Brian Hartline and Mr. DwayneBow, there would be no need to grab an elite prospect such as Jaelen Strong, Kevin White, DeVante Parker, Breshad Perriman, Devin Smith or Phillip Dorsett, or even late round steals such as Tyler Lockett out of Kansas State or Justin Hardy from East Carolina.

Based on Farmer’s proverbial aversion to taking wideouts in the draft for whatever reason, 2014-15 looks like it’s going to be another year of the “Smurf Attack” of Andrew Hawkins, Travis Benjamin and Taylor Gabriel.

Which brings me to the 10 percent reason why the Browns need to stick with Manziel.

As evidenced by the sterling performance of St. Hoyer during the 2014-15 season, the Browns were at one point at the top of the AFC North for the first time since I was a senior at Cleveland Heights High in ‘94 and Iman Shumpert-style high-top fades were still in fashion.

That being said, I was at the Houston game, where I felt that Hoyer finally got exposed by a top-end defense led my the man who SHOULD HAVE been the NFL MVP in All-World defensive freak J.J. Watt smother the slow and immobile Hoyer all day long.

Don’t get me wrong, but at one point during the game, there was a quiet murmur of wanting to see some Johnny Football, just to see what the kid can do. While in limited duty against the Bills, Manziel showed some flashes of what he could do in a loss, which ultimately led him supplanting Hoyer before being replace by him after suffering a hamstring injury.

As I stated in a Browns forum on Facebook the other day, in all honesty, Hoyer overplayed his “civic hero/savior” card and from my observation got a little cocky for his own good with all those Mr. Hero ads and stuff.  While he is humble, I’m glad that the Browns didn’t re-sign him to a big contract as I began to get the feeling that teams finally had enough game tape on him to know/see his limitations.

That—and Mack going down–completely changed the dynamic in terms of Kyle Shanahan’s play-calling and flow of the offense. Yes, he was 10-6, and I will gladly admit that while I was on the Hoyer bandwagon and that he needed to be cut some slack from the fans and media here.

Once his warts were exposed though.  Game over.

In terms of Manziel. It is not fair to judge a game based on six quarters of football. So in the equivalent of a football game and a half, we have a majority of impatient and short-sighted GM’s who have a serious man-crush on Super Mario calling for the Browns to repeat the same mistake of drafted Mariota (pipe dream, and a system QB. Just ask Ohio State), Bryce Petty (another Big 12 bust, in the mold of Brandon Weeden and RGIII) and Sean Mannion (Derek Anderson 3.0?).

Perhaps they were blinded by The Ducks flashy uniform choices and up-tempo offense, thankfully the Silver Bullets from down the way in Columbus gave the newly-crowned Heisman Trophy winner a taste of what he will see on Sundays.

Some say that he is the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck, etc. I say, he is nothing more but the by-product of a one-read, up-tempo offense that  relied on scoring points to over-compensate for their smaller and under-sized defense. And while we are at it, name one Ducks QB other than Dan Fouts and Norm Van Brockin that has made a impact in the NFL in that last 20 years?

Joey Harrington, Akili Smith, Dennis Dixon? I’ll wait.

If Mariota were, by some act of the football gods, slip to the Browns at 12—or heaven forbid—19 then grab him and let him sit. And if in the event that Manziel isn’t up to speed and ready to play, then go in the direction of Mariota and never look back.

Bottom line is that do we really want the Browns to go throw in another un-seasoned and unprepared QB under center? Only to then call for the backup when HE fails—and he will because this is Cleveland—the land of impatience and factory of sadness after all.

While Manziel is far from perfect, he is also not a finished product, unless he shows signs of serious commitment to football and actually learned the playbook, giving up on him so abruptly is why the Browns will forever be the Browns.

If Manziel fails to pan out, then so be it and try to “fail for Cardale in 2016”, but to so abruptly without giving him proper snaps along with a rebuilt offensive line and new weapons on offense, would be another example of collective stupidity from Cleveland.

St. Hoyer is in Space City and Manziel is our future. It is time to accept and deal with this likely ten percent reality.

Dawgfather out!

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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