After a horrendous first start, rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns organization have taken a ton of heat from members of the media and former players as well. The Bengals beat the Browns 30-0 (in our house) and the whole team seems to be in complete disarray.

My thinking – So what?

First, of all. Let it be clear that the Browns front office pulled a Brian Hoyer that looked absolutely God-awful four straight games in a row. 1 TD to 9 INT’s is an abysmal ratio for a high school quarterback let alone an NFL starter. The offense was completely stagnant, and even a stout defense couldn’t hold off opponents forever. Hoyer was making terrible decisions, throwing inaccurate passes and he failed to put points on the board week in and week out. Additionally, there are already reports that Hoyer isn’t coming back to Cleveland next year, as well, so suffering through the bad times aren’t going to lead to any good ones…at least for the Browns.

From the Josh Gordon suspension, to many injuries and even factoring in a new head coach, a 7-7 record is a pretty

Johnny Manziel sacked
Johnny Manziel sacked

damn good start to something special. Those criticizing the Browns front office are rushing everything.

Johnny Manziel had to play some time this year. For him to stand a whole season on the sideline gives the Browns no information, no tape to watch and no idea on what the team is going to do moving forward. Now that Manziel is under center, say he struggles the next two games. It gives the Browns the knowledge and opportunity to possibly pick another quarterback in this year’s upcoming draft. If he is successful, then at least the team knows who our guy is for next year.

In my opinion, you only get so much better from watching. In-game reps are the way to truly mature a young player into a quality quarterback and leader of an offense. Manziel’s ego and his immature acts aren’t going to magically fade away. The kid will start to man-up and humble himself after he starts to feel what it’s like to lose in the NFL. After all, you’re not cool when you’re a loser, right?

The critics of the Browns need to take a second and think about where we were about this time last year. This team was going absolutely nowhere and we were the usual laughingstock of the entire NFL. So this year, we aren’t making the playoffs; but the Browns have made plenty of undeniable progress from a year ago, despite this recent losing streak.

For anyone to call out Johnny Manziel or the Browns front office after one game is incredibly unfair. Give the kid another year to grow and develop. We all saw how talented he was in college. That potential cannot be forced. It needs to grow and develop in time.

No one is denying that Sunday’s game was absolutely awful. To be quite frank, those Cincinnati Bengals were hungry to get revenge on a team that beat them in their stadium weeks earlier. It wasn’t just Manziel, but the whole team. And finally, maybe it’s simply worth tipping your cap to the Bengals. They were fantastic. Manziel and the Browns were not.

This Sunday, the Orange and Brown head to Carolina to face the Panthers, sporting a 5-8-1 record of their own. Despite being on the road, I believe that this will be a much easier game for Manziel to get adjusted to playing quarterback in the NFL. Ultimately, he’s trying to salvage a couple victories and remove the bitter taste in our mouths before the season ends.

No doubt, Johnny Manziel has a lot to prove these final two games of the season. However, calling out the Browns for switching the Manziel (when it was the only option) is far too reactionary and narrow minded. The regime had no other choice but to make the move.

R-E-L-A-X, the Browns will be fine.

-Zach Shafron

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