Why The Cleveland Browns Are Blowing It With Johnny Manziel


With Josh McCown reminding Cleveland Browns’ fans that he’s Josh McCown, Johnny Manziel’s personal life started trending downward after a domestic incident involving his girlfriend. The truth is Manziel should be starting for the Browns, but instead, the organization continues to blow their chance to develop their former first round NFL Draft pick.

Johnny Manziel wants to play. He needs to play. When he doesn’t, his life takes a wrong turn. He’s a 22-year old celebrity backup quarterback. There’s no dearth of free time for the Heisman Trophy winner, and that can, and has, troubled the former first-round NFL Draft pick.

And while Manziel showed promise earlier in the season when substituting for an injured Josh McCown, the Browns continued to put him into position to fail, both personally and professionally by not moving forward with Johnny as their starter.

When Manziel isn’t playing, lookout. Bad things are likely to happen. His redshirt freshman season in 2011 while at Texas A&M is the perfect example. During that 2011 season, Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin was trying to figure out how to keep his promising prospect from drinking. Family members reportedly thought Johnny was suffering from depression, according to Cleveland.com.

A season ago, Browns fans witnessed what becomes of Johnny when he’s the backup. Manziel became more known for partying than anything he accomplished on a professional football field. That led to rehab.

But it also led to hope. The hope a refreshed Manziel would help realize his NFL potential. But the Browns squandered an opportunity.

The organization might have avoided a setback by giving the kid the job for two reasons: 1. He earned it. He genuinely appeared to have turned his life around and his focus–by all accounts–was on football. 2 He made plays. After Manziel took over for McCown, he showed a dramatic difference from the clueless, entitled rookie fans saw in 2014.

But instead of immersing the kid in the playbook, and all the time and preparation it takes to be a starter in the NFL, the Browns moved Johnny to the back burner. More free time. Which, as it turns out, meant more time for drinking, and more time for a girlfriend who is perceived as an enabler of Manziel’s alcohol addition.

Conflicting reports surfaced Sunday that the Browns either believe Manziel can be a championship caliber player, while another stated the franchise is over their former first-round pick.

The latter opinion came from Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, who has been reporting that the Browns’ organization is dumpster fire since February.

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Glazer wrote the Browns are impressed with Manziel’s maturity.

Even if Manziel had a couple of beers, he’s supposed to abstaining from alcohol. The news that he had admitted to drinking surprised his high school coach, Julius Scott, who is lived with his former student during the spring to make sure Johnny was walking the line.

"“Did that surprise me? Yes, it did,”Soctt told USA Today, via Cleveland.com “If he asked me if I thought drinking was a good idea, I would say absolutely not…You’d have to have your head examined if you said, ‘It’s OK to go have a couple.'”"

By not moving forward with Manziel as their starter, the Browns aided to Manziel’s latest setback. The argument could be made that the Browns need to do what’s best for the organization and what Manziel does in his spare time isn’t their problem. Except it should be. He’s a first-round pick. He’s supposed to be the savior. Putting him in the best position to succeed only makes the franchise better, and that means playing Manziel.

But after Johnny’s latest setback, who knows? All the goodwill and trust Manziel built with fans is gone. Do the Browns feel the same way? Publicly, they’re backing Manziel–but how much longer can they continue to do so?

Every fan in Cleveland wants to find out about Johnny. Can he be a franchise quarterback? Unfortunately, if Manziel isn’t given the opportunity to fail, Browns fans may never find out.

Next: Colleen Crowley: Who Is Johnny's Girlfriend?

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