Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Brief and Obvious Points About Johnny Manziel

This just in... the Browns set local ratings records for Sunday's game against the Bengals, Manziel's first start in the NFL, which was, of course, a train wreck for the ages.

Is this franchise a Factory of Sadness or what? (And yes, I know, Eagle Fan talking about how some other fan base has it rough is Pot Kettle Black, but so be it.)

And yeah, I don't think any one is really faulting the team for moving away from QB Brian Hoyer, but... um...

Did anyone watch, or remember, the pre-season?

There's a reason why Hoyer got the job over Manziel. It was because he played better, and the team looked better, with him in the lineup. Not good, not even all that close to good, but better.

The thing is, the Browns *should* be a decent offensive team, especially now that they have WR Josh Gordon back. And yeah, Gordon might be the most overrated player in the league, because his routes aren't good and forcing him the ball is doing no one any favors, but there are weapons here. The rookie running backs are solid, TE Jordan Cameron has potential, WR Andrew Hawkins is a solid WR3, and before injuries to the offensive line, that unit was very capable. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has had some moments in the league, and the defense is good enough to put them in decent situations. They aren't world beaters, and won't be until health and Gordon getting anywhere close to his 2013 fantasy football press clippings, but they aren't hopeless.

Enter Manziel.

There is, of course, a prejudice against short QBs. For a reason. When you see a smaller guy go down in the hands of a big defender, it looks bad. When sacks happen, it looks worse, and when a ball is tipped at the line of scrimmage, it looks like a definitive end point.

But, well, tall QBs fail all the time, too. At every level. And the defending Super Bowl champions, and the team that looks most likely to win it all again right now, has the definitive short QB of the age in Russell Wilson.

I watched most of Manziel's game, and yeah, he was terrible... but his teammates weren't much better. The defense got steamrolled by the Bengals running game and gave up a long drive for a score right off the kickoff. The WRs dropped balls, and high throws became tips for turnovers. Penalties put the team in long third down situations, and Manziel honestly could have played like an All-Pro and still lost this game.

There was also, frankly, some unseemliness about the joy in which some greeted the player's struggles. Joe Buck got on Fox and pretty much a chortle-fest over the results, and was as close to wrestling heel on the hopes of Browns' fans as you could get. It's as if Manziel, had he been a success, would have somehow been bad for the NFL, or the Very Very Serious Nature Of How To Be Good At Football.

And that, really, is why people want Manziel to succeed. He's different. He's fun to watch. Rubbing your fingers together is a relatively innovative celebration, and having your QB run around like he's a real-life Tecmo Bowl character is good times. Especially if he wins. Which, well, he probably won't, because most QBs don't.

I have no idea if Manziel can play at this level. Anyone who watched this game would have the same doubts. If I'm a Brown fan and the team isn't looking to upgrade the position in the off-season, and Manziel doesn't set the world on fire in the last two weeks, I'd be wondering about the continued competence of the organization.

But, well, the Browns weren't winning anything this year with Hoyer, either.

I just don't get the hate. Do you?

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