Monday, May 12, 2014

Haslam needs to take a chill pill

Didn’t take long for Johnny Manziel to become a lightning rod in Cleveland. It took less than a week after he was drafted.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam III told Pro Football Hall of Fame luncheon Monday in Canton that Manziel “is not the starter. Johnny’s the backup.” And he should start acting “like a backup quarterback.”

Wrong move.

First of all, Haslam should have referred all personnel questions to either his general manager or head coach. And neither of them was present at the luncheon. All Haslam does is sign the paychecks. Other than that, he should learn to be more diplomatic and keep his opinions to himself.

And there is no second of all.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Manziel nonsense has officially begun and we can thank the club owner for that.

Regarding Manziel’s playing status, it is ludicrous for anyone to say anything remotely resembling where he stands. No rookie is anointed the starter even before picking up a football. No one.

And who proclaimed him the starter? Maybe it was a broad assumption among the fans, but no one from the organization came out and declared him the starter. Mike Pettine has all but said Brian Hoyer is the incumbent and there will be a competition for the starting job.

Where and when did Manziel pronounce himself the starting quarterback? I must have been off the planet when he said that. We know he is an uberconfident young man and has designs on the starting job. But we also know he’s smart enough to keep such lofty goals to himself. He doesn’t need to be slapped into place.

It is entirely possible Manziel will come to training camp and blow the coaching staff away, much like Russell Wilson did a couple of years ago in Seattle. But it’s only May. We’ve still got a couple of months until training camp. It’s time to chill.

Why not allow the situation to unfold at its natural pace? No need to put this one of a fast track. The club has a rookie head coach. Let him grow into his job. Outside interference from the owner serves no positive purpose. He will have enough pressure as it is.

As far is pressure is concerned, Manziel just might be more than capable of handling it and emerging stronger for it. He certainly displayed that trait at Texas A&M while playing under a national microscope.

If he proves that’s the case, that makes it easier on his head coach and the offensive staff when it comes to making decisions.

There is no question the Hoyer-Manziel battle will be the highlight of training camp. It promises to be the main focus of not only the local media, but you can bet the national spotlight will make Berea a hot spot this summer.

The Browns don’t need Haslam to poke his nose in the spotlight. He's not the story. It’s time for him to slink into the background and let those he pays very well do their jobs.

It’s going to be a circus anyway once training camp commences. No need to add to the atmosphere.


  1. I really believe Haslam's comments were for the benefit of the media and the fans and not aimed at Manziel. As soon as JFF was drafted everyone automatically assumed he would be on the field come the first week of September. I really think Haslam's just trying to head off the groundswell of expectations that would create a firestorm among fans when JFF is still in the learning process with his clipboard come September.

  2. If they were meant for the media and fans, he could have couched his words a lot better. He would have been much better off pawning the answers to the question to either Farmer or Pettine.

    It's not the owner's job to "head off the groundswell of expectations" with regard to a player's status. That job belongs to the GM and coach. He should keep his opinions to himself.

    And I don't think Manziel will have a love affair with a clipboard come September. If I'm wrong, I'm certain you'll call me out.

    1. Pettine and Farmer have already made it clear that as of now, Hoyer is the starter, but nobody seems to be listening. I think this was just Haslam's attempt to reinforce the fact. What else would you call Manziel? He is, after all, the backup, or maybe you would prefer "Heir to the Throne" or "Starter-in-Waiting". Face it, Manziel has a lot to learn about playing something other than sandlot football. If you've watched tape, you've seen how many times he missed/didn't see wide open receivers. Right now, the King has no clothes.

    2. Haslam's job is not to reinforce that. Fans won't -- or at least shouldn't -- listen to him or take him seriously, anyway.

      And to apply a title to any player at this time of the season is just plain dumb. Manziel right now is a player whose status will be determined at a later date.

      And of course Manziel has a lot to learn. We all have a lot to learn. Once the learning stops, it's time to check out.

      Why do I get the impression you don't like the pick? You're picking him apart and he hasn't even picked as football for the Browns.

      I'm gonna give you the same advice I gave Haslam, Southie: chill.

    3. Make that: hasn't even picked up a football for the Browns.

  3. um...Haslam was quoting Mike Pettine. Once again, no big deal (the Vince Young signing).

    It must be tough to have the sky fall on you so often.

  4. Haslam used the term "we" in his comments at that luncheon. Meaning he at least sanctioned the use of the term backup, if not made it personally known those were his feelings, too.

    Why even mention it? Did Manziel at any time say he believed he was going to be the starter? That he was entitled to the position? Did I miss something?

    And are you suggesting I have fallen victim to the Chicken Little Syndrome?

  5. Sorry Rich, but yes to the syndrome. I'm pleased to know that you're familiar with that classic. Keep in mind that I write this things in good humor. This is entertainment, after all.

    Haslam's "we" may be a response to the reports that he forced his staff to draft Manziel. It may also be meant to signify that this team, from owner to front office, is on the same page. I have no problem with that.

    Personally, I didn't want us to draft Manziel. However I will root for Manziel to succeed because he is now a Cleveland Brown,
    and I hope I am wrong about his NFL skill set.

  6. He will . . . and I think you will be.

    1. Colt McCoy 2.0

    2. If you are wrong, and I think you are, don't expect to be called out.

      Colt McCoy 2.0? You have just provided by laugh of the day.

  7. my laugh of the day