The Cleveland Browns and coach Mike Pettine need to stop fooling around with the supposed quarterback battle between Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer and just name Manziel the starter already.
Early reports and Pettine’s own words suggest Hoyer has the inside track to get the job, which is outright silliness. The chief knocks against Manziel are his tendency to resort to the scramble when it isn’t necessary and that he doesn’t consistently go through all of his progressions.
Ask yourself, then: How is Manziel going to correct these issues if he is warming the bench during games and not getting first-team reps? This is a classic problem in the NFL, a league that effectively eliminates the “develop on the bench” potentiality simply by virtue of how few games there are each season and the nature of practices.
With the well-documented unreliability of Josh Gordon, Manziel is the future of Cleveland’s offense. The Browns are exceedingly unlikely to make the playoffs in 2014 whether Hoyer or Manziel starts for them, so what is the justification for sticking their prized prospect on the bench in a league where development rarely happens there? For every Aaron Rodgers there are ten iterations of Matt Cassel.
Experience is the best teacher, and dealing with NFL defenses right off the bat would be the best learning tool out there for Manziel. He isn’t stupid; after the Robert Griffin III disaster at the end of the 2012 season, Manziel will be very aware of the value of avoiding hits he doesn’t have to take.
Throw Manziel in there, let him learn on the fly and stop it with this Hoyer nonsense. Cleveland has their franchise QB; it’s time to treat him like one.