Friday, November 27, 2015

Not a Crisis with Manziel, Let's Move On

    Johnny Manziel apparently had a relapse in his recovery from substance abuse and lied about it to the coaching staff. For this reason he has been demoted to third on the depth chart.  Naturally, the sports media is going crazy either demanding that he be re-installed as the starter or else cut.  

The Browns quarterback cadre of Austin Davis, Josh McCown, Johnny Manziel and Connor Shaw is deep if not overly talented.  They'll be home for the holidays, don't worry.  

    This is all over-reaction, in my view.  Relapsing is a serious matter but it is not a crime.  Nor, for that matter, is Johnny's re-assignment considered cruel and unusual punishment.   The Browns are dealing with an employee that has a medical issue, and the recovery has been generally good but now there is a relapse.  

    In reality, the pressure to make a decision soon is mainly psychological.  Manziel is under contract through 2017 and they have an option for 2018.    

     Currently Josh McCown is the 13th ranked NFL quarterback despite playing on an inept team with an underperforming line and nonexistent running game.  They also have Austin Davis, who had three wins as a starter in 2014 for the Rams, and Connor Shaw who looked good in 2014 in a start for the Browns.  So the Browns might draft a kid to compete for one of three roster spots (hopefully Connor Shaw can be on the Practice Squad, for a fourth option at quarterback), but they really don't have to.  There are other parts of the team that need to be fixed, not just quarterback.  

     It's not like Manziel's 2015 performance dictate whether we draft a qb or not in 2016.  If the right guy is available, the Browns should take him, Manziel or no Manziel.  But this rookie, whoever he is, would probably not be better in 2016 than fourth stringer Connor Shaw, who knows the playbook inside out by now.  Any rookie would be more likely to have an impact in 2017 or 2018.  

     If we learned anything in 2015, it's that Manziel remains a highly talented but risky proposition.  He's definitely good enough right now to have a roster spot, but maybe not mature enough to be first string.  That's okay, we can afford to wait. 

     Nothing bad happens to the Browns if JFB remains on the bench another year.  It doesn't mean we have to be desperate to replace McCown or even Davis.

   We have talent at the quarterback position, but at the same time we are:
   worst in the NFL in rush defense
   worst in the NFL rushing offense
   worst at giving up sacks
   bottom five in defensive sacks
   bottom five in overall defense

    That says to me that there are a number of positions that need to be upgraded.   I can't look at that and think that quarterback is the only position needing major help, even if Manziel is 100% unavailable in 2016   We need to continue to develop the guys we alread have, while  having a balanced slate of draft picks and free agents in 2016, not place all our chips on one key quarterback prospect.  



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