By now, we were supposed to have some clarity on the Cleveland Browns‘ quarterback situation. Unfortunately for Cleveland, neither Brian Hoyer nor Johnny Manziel has been able to make a clear case to become the opening day starter. Manizel completed just 7 of 16 passes for 65 yards and was sacked three times against the Washington Redskins. Hoyer didn’t do much better in last night’s game as he connected on two of six passes for a meager 16 yards.
With underwhelming performances by both Browns’ quarterbacks, what really caused a stir was Johnny Manziel’s decision to flip the bird at the Redskins’ bench late in the third quarter. According to Washington safety Ryan Clark, fellow defensive player Brian Orakpo initiated the trash talk which Manziel responded to by raising the middle finger. “I can tell you what the statement was that set him off. The statement was ‘This isn’t college anymore and these people are faster than you are’. [Manziel] didn’t like it,” said Clark.
Although I am a Manziel supporter, he should not react this way when opponents are talking smack in my opinion. As a known trash talker himself, Manziel has to understand that opposing players are going to dish out their own brand of smack talk whenever they get the opportunity. To react to an opponent’s taunts in such a negative way, it sends the message that Manziel is flustered and that the taunts appear to be working. If Manziel is losing his composure during the preseason, just imagine the type of taunting he will receive when the real games begin in a few weeks.
As far as I’m concerned, Manziel has much more pressing issues to worry about and should focus his energies on beating out Hoyer for the starting quarterback job. The fact that Manziel has not yet pulled away from such a mediocre journeyman quarterback in Hoyer could be a red flag that he is not ready to make an impact in the NFL. Manziel is clearly more talented than Hoyer and it seems as though Manziel is playing down to the level of competition at quarterback. Manziel should have put his stamp on this team by now, and thus far, he has failed to deliver.
There is still time for Manziel to capture this starting QB job because Hoyer isn’t exactly setting the world on fire either. I still believe in Johnny Football and still think he will become a star in the NFL, but goofy little stunts like the one we saw on Monday Night Football won’t help him get there.