Before Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns Head Coach Mike Pettine made it clear that even if Johnny Manziel “knocked it out of the park” in his last two games they would still have doubts about him, especially if he didn’t play well. Well, Manziel played and got hurt on a designed run which highlights one of the issues doubters had underlined concerning his game at the NFL level, not to mention his extremely uninspiring play. Pettine has been clear that he will explore all options this off-season which includes the quarterback position. It is possible that the Browns could decide to move on from Manziel before he even really got started, as his work ethic hasn’t been up to the standards of a starting NFL quarterback nor has his play, even if it is a very small sample size.
Even if the Browns decide that they are willing to go into 2015 with Manziel as their starting quarterback, there is one concept in Berea that will drive their off-season decisions. The 2015-2016 season cannot be about bringing along a young quarterback. The Browns have a roster that can win right now and they saw some tangible progress in 2014, as they remained in the AFC North race until week 14 and came within plays of winning 4 games that they lost. This team needs to build around the quarterback position, not feature it. They created a culture change and got some of that winning feeling back. At the very least, the Browns have to bring in a quarterback they feel they can win games, if Manziel cannot cut it. Jimmy Haslem will view anything short of the post-season as a failure. Farmer and Pettine surely understand all that is at stake, and their jobs may be on the line if they can’t lead the Browns to the post season. It seems the Browns now know the importance of addressing the quarterback position again, whether it be as a starter or a contingency plan. Here are 5 candidates that make sense: