Johnny Manziel Should’ve Started From Day One


Scenario A: The Browns head into a Week 17 match-up with the Baltimore Ravens at a solid 8-7 record. While the season has been filled with many ups and downs, rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel has really held his own. As the starter from day one, he’s made smart decisions, but most importantly has shown signs of growing into a starting NFL quarterback. Amazingly, he found himself a groove after struggling throughout the first couple of games. Johnny Manziel, at least for now, looks like he’s Cleveland’s guy for the future.

Scenario B: Another horrible Browns season has come to a close, and Johnny Manziel, dare his name even be spoken, has won only two games this entire year for the Browns. He’s shown no signs of improvement or growth, and quite frankly would rather be out partying than practicing with the team. He’s leading the league in turnovers, and just cannot seem to move the football down the field. He’s lucky to have kept his job for the entire year! Thought he’d be run out of Cleveland by now!

Unfortunately, Scenario C, better known as ‘Browns Football 2014,’ is what actually happened to Johnny Manziel this past year. There’s no denying that in his limited action (before getting hurt) Manziel completely sucked. Even so, there were so many different factors that were against his favor. They’re definitely excuses, but also valid points.

1. Started against a hungry Bengals team that wanted to make the playoffs, and avenge an earlier loss to the Browns.

2. Had a beat up offensive line and team in general to work with.

3. Browns had already lost their hope to make the playoffs.

4. Spent the last three months primarily standing on the sideline watching. Zero game reps.

Because of the Browns enjoying the mediocrity that Brian Hoyer provided them, we are now left with zero clear-cut answers when it comes to the former A&M stud.

The idea of starting Manziel from day one made sense. Simply so that this risky project’s end date could come sooner rather than later say he didn’t prosper. But no, they made the kid wait on the sideline. Sure, the Browns won games but everyone knew that Hoyer wasn’t going to take them to the promise land this year or anytime in the future.

A betting man would take the aforementioned ‘Scenario B’ occurring over ‘A’ simply because of the small sample we received of Manziel’s play late in the season. However, there’s no certainty that it’s final, that Manziel isn’t a good NFL football player. That he can’t lead the Browns to the playoffs, or that coveted Super Bowl title this city so desperately desires.

But no, the Browns have put themselves in one giant pickle because they didn’t give Manziel a big enough window to perform out on the field.

This is why from day one I preached to anyone that would listen that Johnny Manziel should start. Not because I thought he was a guarantee by any means, but because waiting would just waste another year of solving nothing for the long term success of this franchise.

And look at us now.

So now the Browns have another offseason/year of quarterback decisions to make:

Do we resign Brian Hoyer?

Do we draft another quarterback?

Do we trade up for a quarterback?

Do we sign a free agent veteran quarterback?

Is the starting job Johnny Manziel’s to lose?

What about Conner Shaw?


If Johnny Manziel started throughout this entire season there would be one of two choices:

A. How can we help Johnny Manziel succeed?

B. Which quarterback are we drafting?


It’s January 22nd – let the games begin!


-Zach Shafron


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