The future of Cleveland football will undoubtedly be in the hands of the newly anointed savior, but not just yet. It's no question that the organization wants to give the young play maker the keys and drive the team to the playoffs but he has to first earn the right to get in the hot seat. The Browns made it clear that Johnny Manziel will be viewed as a backup behind Brian Hoyer until he earns the starting job.
Everyone may need to hold off on rushing to buy their #2 jersey (if they hadn't already) until they read these 10 reasons Johnny Cleveland will be Johnny Benchwarmer in September 2014.
1. Hoyer is a better NFL quarterback than Manziel
"Who is the best quarterback right now? Brian Hoyer...by a substantial margin," Ray Farmer told the fan's radio station Bull and Fox Show recently. This margin is likely still to be in favor of Hoyer for the first game.
2. First regular season game is played in Pittsburgh
Mike Pettine will not risk having Manziel break his NFL cherry against the Steelers' 13th ranked defense.
3. To humble Manziel
With Johnny comes the media, money, celebrity, and attention. Putting him in backup status for half a season or so minimizes any feeling of entitlement he may have. It keeps him from buying into his own hype.
4. Gives him an obstacle to overcome
Announcing Manziel as the current backup will give the guy a huge incentive to work on learning the game in the off-season and from day to day. Johnny is an extremely competitive guy and this strategy plays on his competitive nature. He will not stand being on the sidelines and will put in the extra hours it takes to get himself on the field. Making him that first guy to practice, last to leave. This strategy by the Browns will push him to reach his potential and keep growing as a player.
5. Because of the new flock of receivers
The whole lot of new receivers brought in to compensate for the Josh Gordon situation will require a veteran quarterback for awhile to get them gelling well together. The last thing the team needs is a quarterback who has never played a down to be throwing to a bunch of receivers new to the Browns' offensive system.
6. Rookie contracts are not negotiated the way they use to be
Teams now don't feel the pressure to put their multimillion dollar investment on the field as early as they did in previous years thanks to the restructuring of rookie contracts.
7. To keep "Manziel Mania" at bay
If Manziel were to start day 1, following the Pittsburgh game, he would be bombarded with interviews and media attention. This is not a good way to start a season. Having the microphone off of him early on is good for the locker room as well as to abate distractions.
8. Collin Kaepernick and Russel Wilson started as backups
The situation is similar although you can't compare them directly. They are both mobile quarterbacks who needed time behind veterans to get acclimated to the speed of the game. The situation worked out well for them as a similar structure is being put in place in Cleveland. Solid running game and defense being the backbone for a team with a young, mobile and dynamic quarterback.
9. Bad throwing habbits
"His mechanics are awful," said longtime NFL offensive coach Kevin Gilbride on the MMQB. These will take time to correct.
10. Manziel doesn't disagree with his backup status
"I don't want to come in and have anything handed to me that I don't deserve," Manziel told reporters after his rookie minicamp.
The job is Hoyers to lose at the beginning of the season and eventually he will lose enough games that the fans and media will be calling to put the ball in Manziel's hands. Three losses will be the magic number to make him starter. This will come most likely after week 7 where the Browns will be sitting at a mediocre 3-3. Those 7 weeks will make enough of a difference in building up his game enough to be a starter. From that point on it's no turning back. He is the starter for better or worse. So be patient and keep those #2 jerseys in the closet until October when he gets his chance to show what he's learned so far.