Why Johnny Fans Still Want Johnny…By A Johnny Fan

It’s amazing and no one would have ever believed it at the beginning of the season, but the Cleveland Browns are a profound 5-3 heading into one of the biggest games since the franchise returned in 1999. It’ll be a thriller on Thursday night in Cincinnati against the Bengals. Led by first year head coach Mike Pettine, the Browns have trudged their way through a relatively easy schedule, by most standards, to secure those five precious wins. It’s the best start the Browns have had since 2007 and fans need to recognize it as such…

Or does it?

This is where the classic debate of Brian vs. Johnny begins, and even after a 5-3 start most fans are still calling for the backup to take the field.

Despite my intense love for Johnny Manziel and strong desire for him to have been the starter all along, there’s no way I would pull Brian Hoyer out of the position right now. However, it’s easy to be blinded by such a good start to the beginning of the year.

If you ask a Brian Hoyer fan if they think he is a Super Bowl caliber quarterback, the response is something along the lines of: “What? We don’t know that yet. He’s only played 11 games. How could you ask such a question?”

There lies the problem. For a franchise that has been absolutely decimated by other teams for the last decade, it’s easy to settle for mediocrity, some sort of success. And that’s exactly what Brian Hoyer is – mediocre. He will win games, he will excite (some) of the fan base, but we’ve been so used to sucking that we forget about what the ultimate goal is —

Winning a Super Bowl.

Is Brian Hoyer capable of that – No.

Johnny Manziel is probably the most exciting player to come out of the 2014 class. A man with so much upside, but definitely plenty of faults as well. This fan base was excited to see the rookie play, yet it hasn’t happened yet.

Now I don’t blame the coaching staff for starting with Brian Hoyer and even for continuing to play him. The team keeps winning and Hoyer musters just enough to get the Browns over the hump each and every week. But come on, he’s barely beaten relatively bad teams that we should have truly smoked. Those solid teams beaten were games won by defense and a really strong running game, not Hoyer’s arm itself.

Super Bowl quarterbacks are able to win games even with a bad offensive line, and even when the running game isn’t there. They are able to find a way to win no matter what.

So far, Brian Hoyer has done that against bad teams, but the question is: will he be able to get away with mistakes against the best teams in a hostile environment like Thursday night in Cincinnati?

I, and many other Johnny Manziel fans, feel that this hot start may not be a true indicator of what’s to come. Ultimately, we feel Brian Hoyer will be consistently average – never getting the Browns over 8 wins in a season.

Also, no one will know if Johnny Manziel will actually turn into anything special if he continues to stand on the sideline. As ridiculous as it sounds, the delay in the Manziel era starting will be the delay in it possibly ending if he turns out to be a bust. It’s just like the Browns wasting a year because of Brandon Weeden.

This chain of events may push the Browns franchise back another five years. It depends on how long this front office is ok with Brian Hoyer’s decent play.

A ridiculous theory?

I am writing off a quarterback that has played very average football against bad teams. Our record is 5-3, but most importantly out of everything I’ve mentioned in this article is that Brian Hoyer has already reached his peak. For Johnny Manziel, the sky is the limit.

Finally, Thursday night will be a real test for Brian Hoyer. If he is able to go into Cincinnati and win against a Bengals team in a hostile environment, many Browns fans will be saying…Johnny who?

-Zach Shafron

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