Tuesday, August 12, 2014

It's about time

What took them so long?

What took the Browns so long to realize Rex Grossman is the perfect fit for the club’s third quarterback this season?

It has been rumored for months now that Grossman was headed to Cleveland for one simple reason: He knew Kyle Shanahan’s offense and would be a perfect mentor for Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel.

Chances are he probably won’t take any snaps in the regular season. His role is much larger than that. He’s more of a college professor now than a National Football League quarterback.

But in the event Hoyer and Manziel go down with injuries, more of a probability than possibility when it comes to Cleveland quarterbacks, he would be a much more capable fill-in than Tyler Thigpen, who was released to make room for him.

Mentoring Manziel will be much more important than helping Hoyer, who is savvy enough to glom on to Shanahan’s offense with few problems.

The only unanswered question is why the Browns waited until now to make the move. We are more than two weeks and one exhibition game into training camp. This is a move that should have been made before camp opened.

Thigpen was nothing more than training-camp fodder and offered nothing to the new offensive scheme. Did the brass really think he would be a valuable contributor? Holding off on signing Grossman was counterproductive.

Maybe they waited to see how Manziel assimilated to the Shanahan offense. After the first game, it is obvious he needs polish. Grossman can now provide that sheen to his game.
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Mike Pettine is having trouble verbally dancing around his decision on who will start Monday night’s exhibition game in Washington against the Redskins.

“To me,” he told the media Monday, “if you’re going to put a guy in a starting role, that needs to be earned.”

Really? In a meaningless exhibition game? With nothing on the line except who will or won’t make the final roster?

“We will mix the reps (between Hoyer and Manziel) this week, but as far as starting the game, we’ll make that decision as a committee.”

And that decision, which Pettine and his committee already know, will be Manziel. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN, which is conducting a love affair with the rookie Cleveland quarterback.

Imagine the hype machine at the network already preparing the promos. A game featuring starting quarterback Johnny Manziel and Robert Griffin III very well could attract the largest exhibition-season television audience in history. At least that’s what folks in the industry are saying.

And don’t think for a minute that some sort of “request” hasn’t filtered down to Berea from either the league or Bristol, Conn.

And by the way, the Browns-Detroit Lions exhibition Saturday night drew record ratings for the NFL Network. It was the most-watched exhibition (nearly 3 million viewers) in network history. Wonder why.

So Pettine can explain all he wants about his conundrum on who will start that meaningless game. It will be Manziel.

“(Manziel needs to) continue to master his craft,” the coach said. “Run the offense. Be efficient.”

Isn’t that what training camp and exhibitions are for?

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