If Browns Have the Guts, Johnny Football Could Pay Huge Dividends

There is something dangerous about Johnny Manziel, and that’s why we can’t wait to see him in the lineup for the Cleveland Browns.

If only Browns head coach Mike Pettine will make the right decision and insert Johnny Football into the lineup. Of course, is it really Pettine’s decision? Normally, the head coach determines who plays and who sits on the bench. But in the case of Manziel, it’s a little bit bigger than a first-year head coach who only got the job because every other candidate rejected the position.

This means that the decision could be in the hands of owner Jimmy Haslam and general manager Ray Farmer.

The Browns have a 7-5 record and still have a chance to make the playoffs as a Wild Card team or as the AFC North champions. One of the primary reasons for the success is that Brian Hoyer has been a solid leader at quarterback for the majority of the season. He directed the Browns to key wins earlier in the year over the Steelers and Bengals, and that earned him kudos from the coaching staff and Cleveland fans.

But as the season has reached the home stretch, Hoyer’s productivity has waned. He was miserable in the Browns’ 26-24 road victory over the Falcons – three interceptions – but he directed a final drive in the waning seconds that resulted in Billy Cundiff’s game-winning field goal.

Instead of capitalizing on that momentum Sunday against the Bills, Hoyer was once again a lost soul. He completed 18-of-30 passes for 192 yards, but none of them were for touchdowns and he threw two interceptions.

Pettine had seen enough of Hoyer’s struggles, and he tapped J. Football on the shoulder pads. Suddenly, everything got amped up because Manziel was getting his first chance to play competitive football in the NFL. He did not fail in his first game.

The Bills were dominating on defense and leading 20-3 when he came into the game in the fourth quarter, but Manziel came in with his trademark swagger and produced on his first drive.

A three-yard scramble, a 12-yard pass to Miles Austin and an 11-yard run by Isaiah Crowell got the Browns’ offense moving. Then, Johnny Football faded back in the pocket and saw Josh Gordon running towards the post and hit him with an 18-yard pass. Two plays later, Manziel saw tight end Jim Dray running towards the post and he delivered a pass that made it through traffic and went for a 24-yard gain.

It was the kind of play that only a confident quarterback could throw, because the coverage was tight. But Johnny Football never hesitated and suddenly the Browns were at the Buffalo 12. One play later, Manziel dropped back and then took off on a 10-yard TD jaunt. The Browns had life and trailed 20-10.

However, there would be no Johnny Miracle, as the Bills would respond with a couple of field goals to put the finishing touches on a 26-10 victory.

If the Browns were stumbling along with a 4-8 record, there is little doubt that they would turn the team over to Manziel. But they still have a lot to play for and the Browns have to figure if they are better off with the steady quarterback who has gotten them to this position, or they should push all-in and let the much-hyped rookie take over.

A decision to go with Manziel will brand Pettine – or whoever truly makes the decision – as a gambler. The Browns’ four-game home stretch includes the Colts and Bengals at home followed by season-ending road games against the Panthers and Ravens. There’s no reason why they can’t be competitive in all of them and go 3-1 or 4-0 if they play their best football.

But to play their best game, they need a charge. Playing it safe with Hoyer will not give them the juju they need.

Remember, this is the Browns we are talking about. They have had double-digit losses for six straight years, and the current version of the team has been to the playoffs once since the NFL returned to Cleveland in 1999.

More often than not, the Browns have been as fulfilling as weak tea. No pizazz, no excitement. Manziel gives them the adrenaline surge that has been missing since Bernie Kosar was throwing TD passes in the late 1980s and the Browns were getting their hearts broken by John Elway and the Denver Broncos.

This team has a chance to turn the page and make a statement by going with Johnny the Kid. It may not be a smooth ride, but it will be an exciting one and the football world will be paying rapt attention.

12 thoughts on “If Browns Have the Guts, Johnny Football Could Pay Huge Dividends”

  1. Interesting how Silverman totally ignores Manziel’s absolute immature, panic pass attempt from his own goal line
    following his touchdown against a mostly prevent defense in a game that was already lost.  The Replay Review Ref butchered the call — it was really a Bills TD.  ( The irony being that in ruling Manziel was actually trying to put up a desperation duck with a guy about to flatten him, is that Manziel’s decision to pass in that situation was actually worse than tucking the ball back in )
    Silverman also ignores Manziel’s idiotic, immature “money sign” following Manziel’s TD, — an act that seems to say an awful lot about the kid.

  2. Hoyer needs to grow up a little.why cry when you are taken out of a game like he did. If he were a team player, he should not have said the things he did when taken out.He should sit for awhile after that display.

  3. Why are these so called football fans in Cleveland calling for Hoyers head because hes in a slump? these people aren’t fans. No wonder they call them DOGS.Shame on all of you.

  4. sonnybabe59  Wait …… What ? HOYER needs to grow up ?   Oh, brother, do you ever need a compass and a clue !

  5. ConstanceNelsonWallace

    tb9gmsl You are mistaken.  Although Johnny must have known that he had no time to get off a pass, he also knew that he had to 
    get his arm moving forward in order to get the forward pass ruling rather than be sacked.  As you probably know this is basic quarterback defensive play.  Had he tucked the ball thus accepting the sack too much yardage would have been lost.  We are watching Johnny’s play from very different perspectives.  I am his enthusiastic supporter having watched him for two years here in College Station, and you for whatever reason don’t feel the same way.  I hope that as time passes you’ll open your mind to what so many of us see as an exceptional player.  Johnny is extremely competitive and very confident in himself.  A winner must have this makeup.  Much of what is said about him by the media is simply not true, but their stories about him keep them raking in money.

  6. ConstanceNelsonWallace

    tb9gmsl l just noticed your comment about the “money” sign.  Most people including the media don’t know that this sign was started by running backs on the Texas Aggie team when they scored meaning that the play was “right on the money”, then everyone including Johnny started using it if they scored.  It was a team successful play sign.  It still is now with Johnny.  It does not mean “give me the money” when he does it.  He is still communicating with his old Aggie teammates that he dearly loves.  He is very much a team player.

  7. I’ve been with Hoyer since day one! However, exclude the Bengals game, he has played awful for the past 5 or 6 games. He has been consistently bad and continues to miss receivers WHO HAVE BEEN WIDE OPEN. Many of his passes that are caught, are so bad and put the receivers a position where they are prone to be injured. Jordon Cameron has missed has missed the last 6 games because of a concussion. The pass he caught when he got injured was so far behind him, I believe the ball was in one zip code and Cameron was in another. I hate to say this, but that’s how the majority of his passes have been all year whether they were miraculously caught or incomplete. I NEVER thought I’d be saying this, but it’s time for : Herrrrrre’s Johnny! Unfortunately, with all his hype and immaturity he’s displayed off the field, and only being 6′, (and that’s stretching it), and 205 pounds, some salivating defensive player will take a shot at him and try to put him in the third or 4th row of the seats!

  8. ConstanceNelsonWallace tb9gmsl  I’m at a little bit of a disadvantage here, Constance, as I don’t have the ability to read another person’s mind when it’s under duress — or even if it isn’t under duress.  I like Johnny Football just fine.  I just don’t think he’s quite ready for prime time yet.  He’s still immature,  but i’ll happily root for him when he grows up.

  9. ConstanceNelsonWallace tb9gmsl  Never heard that one.  Not sure it’s exactly true, but for the moment i’ll  take your word for it. ( altho methinks you’re giving your Local Hero a wee bit too much benefit of a doubt. )

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