The Cleveland Browns have been the ridicule of the national media for how they have handled Johnny Manziel. The team took the unique approach by only allowing local media to attend the rookie mini-camp this weekend. The team does not have control of media access once training camp opens up so this was their only time they could keep the “circus” out of town. The obvious goal was to focus on football for Manziel and to temper expectations. Most rookie mini-camps are rough to watch, with players learning new plays and each other. One national media member credited the Browns handling of the situation, Pat Kirwan of CBS Sports:
1. I like the Cleveland plan: The Browns organization knew there would be some backlash for not letting the national media in to watch Johnny Manziel practice but I like the way they handled the situation. It put the attention on the club and not the player. Until Manziel gets a grip on the job it helps him stay focused and away from issues he can’t control like people reading into what he is doing at practice or speculating on how good or bad he looks at practice.
First and foremost Cleveland fans should be happy that the team is not focused on the “backlash” they were going to receive and instead focused on what they thought was best for the team and the players. As Kirwan states in his next paragraph he already heard about Zach Mettenberger‘s first pass completion and Derek Carr fumbling his first snap. All very non-relevant information this early into rookie QBs first camps. Kirwan continues with his praise:
The day will come when he wins over his teammates and coaches and then we will see him as the leader and spokesman this club needs. GM Ray Farmer and coach Mike Pettine are helping Manziel, not hurting him, at this early stage of his development. Announcing him as the backup was brilliant and as Manziel said, “I don’t want to be mediocre when I go out there.”
Manziel called some of his off-field decisions at Texas A&M “reckless” but it doesn’t appear he or the Browns intend on being reckless going forward. Monday I sit down with Farmer to discuss the plan and so far I’m in favor of it.
His meeting with Farmer will be interesting. Farmer has been a straight shooter with people, except for the draft where his smokescreens had smokescreens. Farmer is a football guy who speaks clearly and succinctly about what he believes and what he chooses to do. He doesn’t make excuses or change for people, instead he seems to push forward until told otherwise. It is Farmer’s approach helps him stand up to his hands on Owner, Jimmy Haslam.
What is your thoughts on how the team has handled the Manziel coverage so far?