Johnny Manziel may not be Victor Newman, but he has had quite the soap opera in his two-year tenure in the NFL. The now demoted quarterback was relegated to third string after a video surfaced that showed Manziel partying it up.
In my opinion, the video is harmless, but when the off-the-field antics overshadow the play on the field, it poses as a problem. If this was a wide receiver or defensive back in this video, nobody would care. It also doesn’t help that Manziel got into a dispute with his girlfriend that caused the police to interact. No arrests were made, but it appears that Manziel has an allure for negative attention.
With Manziel being a quarterback, he is looked at as the face of the franchise. Quarterbacks are held at a higher standard than the rest of the players on the team. Manziel knows that he has to walk a straight line to win over the front office, coaching staff and players of the Cleveland Browns. Instead, he did what everyone expected him to do, and that was to fail.
The Browns know a thing or two about failing. The franchise has had issues finding stability at head coach and quarterback since the days of Bernie Kosar and Bill Belichick. Yes, it’s been over 20 years — including all the years since the rebirth of the team in 1999 — since the Browns had a competent coach and quarterback. They reached and drafted Manziel as the No. 22 pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. To some, drafting Manziel that high was a mistake, but as I mentioned before, the Browns are repeat offenders for doing the wrong things.
Manziel’s rookie season was atrocious, and the Browns organization wasn’t impressed with him on or off the field. Coming out of Texas A&M, he was not adept at playing from the pocket, and that was something he struggled with immensely. He was asked to walk a fine line after a rocky rookie season.
This past summer, Manziel checked himself into rehab to battle his issues. After leaving rehab, it appeared that Manziel was becoming a consummate professional off the field. Working on his personal life, his play on the field was a work in progress as well.
This season, Manziel has shown flashes of what made fans adore him during his Heisman campaign. With Josh McCown out to due to injury, it appeared that Manziel had the starting position that he had worked for. However, with the new video compounding last month’s incident with his girlfriend, the Browns have put a damper on the development of Manziel the person and football player. Soap operas are filled with suspense, and thus far that is what Manziel has given us in his short career.
So, what’s next for Johnny Manziel and the Browns? Now that Manziel is in the dog house, it will be hard for him to regain his starting position. It is likely that his time in Cleveland is winding down. The Browns should be at fault, because they knew what they were getting into from the time Manziel was selected in the draft.
In hindsight, they should have selected Teddy Bridgewater over Manziel, but hey, these are the Browns. Seeing Manziel do his best impersonation of Dame Dash in the club is nothing new. The Johnny football persona has always been bigger than the actual football player. As problematic as that logic is, it’s a large reason why people love Manziel. The Browns thought they could keep him under wraps, but they forgot they drafted someone with a gargantuan ego.
Bottling up Manziel hasn’t worked, so it will be best for him to go to a team where he can be himself. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but Cleveland isn’t that place. Manziel’s dysfunctional two-year relationship with the Browns has been a roller-coaster ride for both parties, so at season’s end, it would be best to sever ties. There are several teams that can use a quarterback, but do we really know if Manziel can be a starting quarterback in he NFL? While he was good in spot duty, when defensive coordinators get a chance to study film on you for an extended period of time, a lot can change. Just ask Colin Kaepernick.
Manziel still has a chance to make a career for himself, whether as a starting quarterback or a backup. Quarterback is a dire need in the NFL. Yet until proven otherwise, the Cleveland Browns will continue being the Cleveland Browns that we all know them to be, unless until they bring in Kevin Costner to save them as he did in Draft Day.