Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel was painted in an unfriendly light by a report yesterday stating that the Browns were disappointed with Manziel’s off-field stunts and believed that the Texas A&M Aggies product “regressed” and wasn’t spending enough time soaking up the playbook. But other sources told the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot different things in the report, as some remained firm that the quarterback competition between Brian Hoyer and Manziel is still open, with a source close to Manziel stating that the quarterback has been extremely dedicated in his preparation and desire to put on weight to silence critics stating that he won’t be able to hold up in the NFL.
According to Cabot, Manziel has been “consistently” taking reps with the first team today, and she added that the magnet-for-criticism has displayed “nice zip” on his passes, “quick” decision-making, and his trademark agility at practice today. This helps put some water on the flames started by yesterday’s negative report, and hopefully Manziel can continue to impress throughout training camp.
Contrary to what we heard on a couple of occasions yesterday, this is still very much a heated battle between Manziel and Hoyer. Manziel has electrifying, franchise-defining talent despite his bust potential, and it’s important to make sure that he’s given a fair shot at starting in his rookie year. I’m not sure if he’s ready to start, but if he can outplay Hoyer in training camp, then I think the Browns should start him. If he’s the better man and is ready to start over one of the league’s best backups, then I wouldn’t hold him back.