Back at the beginning of the NFL season, some three months ago, Johnny Manziel was still playing like an inexperienced college quarterback and lost a quarterback competition to career backup Brian Hoyer. Then the unthinkable happened, Brian Hoyer played out of his mind and led the Browns to a 6-3 record atop the AFC North division.
Lately though, things have started to fall apart for Hoyer. He has been dreadful in the last couple of weeks, throwing five interceptions in the last two games and leading a stagnant offense. Things got so bad that in last Sunday’s game against the Bills, head coach Mike Pettine pulled Hoyer in the fourth quarter and inserted Manziel. Manziel then proceeded to lead an 80 yard touchdown drive, but did not have enough time to complete the comeback.
With the Browns at 7-5 and one game back in the AFC North, the Browns need a spark. That spark is inserting the electrifying Johnny Manziel at quarterback full time. Manziel proved on that 80 yard drive that he is the best quarterback on the team, leading the Browns to ten times more yards in one drive than Hoyer had led them to all game.
Manziel’s dual threat ability sets him apart from Hoyer, and Manziel’s touchdown run to culminate the drive showcased that. Manziel won a Heisman award in college for a reason. He was a first round pick for a reason. He is a supremely talented superstar in the making with the ability to extend plays with his legs and his improvisation ability is one of his trademarks.
Manziel will not fade under pressure either, like many rookie quarterbacks have in the past. Manziel has been under the spotlight at 24/7 since he won the Heisman. He is a supremely confident kid and this is his chance. If the Browns give it to him he will not disappoint.
Rookie quarterbacks having late season success in the NFL on playoff caliber teams is nothing new in the NFL. Back in 2012, rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick stepped in for the San Francisco 49ers after Alex Smith’s injury. Kaepernick, a dual threat quarterback with similar talent to Manziel, caught fire and led the 49ers to the Super Bowl.
The Browns have basically no choice but to start Manziel. Hoyer has fallen down to earth and has started to play like the backup he has always been. Manziel is the future of the team, the Browns spent a first round draft choice on him and Hoyer’s contract expires after the season.
The Brown’s defense cannot continue to keep them in games where the offense cannot score. With a tough finishing schedule that includes two division leaders, the Browns lifeless offense needs a playmaker to lead it out of its rut. Johnny Manziel is that playmaker, and Mike Pettine needs to give him the shot he deserves, or the Browns will surely miss the playoffs for the 12th straight season.