Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Playing the prevarication game with Manziel

The longer we go without hearing the name Johnny Manziel attached to the Browns’ first choice in the National Football League college draft May 8, the more I believe that’s exactly who they will choose (if he’s there) when called on the clock by Commissioner Roger Goodell.

We have been told the club is not in love with any of the four quarterbacks mentioned as first-round fodder. Not Teddy Bridgewater. Not Blake Bortles. Not Derek Carr. And certainly not Manziel.

We have heard names like wide receiver Sammy Watkins, defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney and linebacker Khalil Mack associated with the first pick. All are legitimate choices.

So what exactly does all that mean? At this time of the NFL season, it means absolutely nothing. In fact, it might mean quite the opposite. After all, it is silly season when lying is the norm.

Prevarication is in season at this time of the year. It blooms on a daily basis until May 8. Everyone does it. Say one thing and mean something entirely different. No such thing as a guilty conscience at this time of the season.

The Browns, of course, are not tipping their hand. It’s way too early, anyway, to hone in on a particular player since we are still more than seven weeks away from the lottery. A lot can happen in that span to change plans.

That’s a very long time in which a club can change its mind any number of times. But it is more than a little curious that General Manager Ray Farmer indicated early on that a quarterback is not on the Browns’ radar, at least in the first round.

That could change, of course, depending on whether they can procure the services of a veteran quarterback to battle Brian Hoyer for the starting job.

Matt Schaub is still a possibility, but the Houston Texans are playing hardball and have stubbornly refused to release the high-priced quarterback and put him on the open market, hoping to extract something in a trade for him. Maybe the Browns are playing the waiting game in hopes the Texans will blink and finally cut him loose.

If the Browns lose that waiting game, then a quarterback definitely has to be part of the first-round draft strategy, Farmer’s and the club’s denials notwithstanding, they can’t head into the 2014 season with Brian Hoyer unchallenged.

Again assuming he’s there, drafting Manziel would give the team an identity. And if there is a team that desperately needs an identity, it’s the Browns. They would immediately become much more relevant as a news story with him on the roster.

The media loves him. He is a magnet, a lightning rod. No matter where he lands in the NFL, no matter what he does, the heavyweights of the media will be there, especially the electronic media. It happened with Tim Tebow several years ago and Tebow wasn’t nearly as talented or NFL ready as Manziel.

So let’s not totally rule out the possibility that Farmer is being extremely coy, if not downright evasive, when it comes to Manziel. For all we know, which isn’t as much as we’d like, the Cleveland GM realizes that and has set his sights on the former Texas A&M quarterback

He just doesn’t want anyone else to know that.


  1. Please. No. No Johnny Manziel.

    Every game tape I've seen of him he's throwing off balance, throwing off his back foot, hopping up in the air and throwing, fluttering wounded ducks up for grabs, or running around at the first sight of a defender within 6 yards.
    He plays backyard football.

    He wins?
    I won a lot in my backyard, too. Back in the day.

  2. You might be right, Strummer, but there is something terribly intriguing about Manziel. In comparing him to Tebow, you'll have to admit he's a much better passer with a much better arm.

    And comparing his winning to your record in your backyard is hardly a measuring device even though I think you probably meant that tongue-in-cheek.

    It will very interesting to see how well (or poorly) he does once given the opportunity. I'm wondering, too, what your initial thoughts were of Russell Wilson and RG the Third when they were drafted..

    1. Okay.

      RG3 in college had better mechanics, stronger arm, didn't turn his back to a potential play nearly as much when scrambling, also when scrambling his passes were generally strong and NOT wounded ducks like I often see with Manziel.

      Wilson I didn't know much about in college, so no comment there. But he was a 3rd rounder, not as highly thought of as Manziel is today.

      I might take a flier on Manziel in the 3rd.
      But #4?!?!?! No thank you.

      I just don't see what so many see in this kid.
      Much of the nation is agog.

      Of course, I reserve the right to be wrong if proven so. It's all just opinion after all.

      PROBABLY tongue in cheek? Heh.

  3. And why was Wilson not thought of highly? Because he was 5-11. But he was also the driving force behind a very good Wisconsin offense. He made that offense better than it looked on paper.

    And it was that ability to make his teammates better that caused Pete Carroll to name him the Seahawks starting quarterback in training camp as a rookie. He has excellent leadership abilities. That was the big difference.

    Manziel has those same leadership qualities and arrives in the NFL with much stronger credentials.

    And reserving the right to be wrong is admirable, but it's a reservation that must be shared with yours truly. At least on this blog.