It’s easy (and a little fun) to criticize the Browns for their handling of Manzania. But there’s one thing the Browns are doing right. At least for now.
It’s smart to install Johnny Manziel as the backup to Brian Hoyer, for several reasons. First, it will (or at least could) humble Manziel, at least a little. Second, it gives Manziel a hurdle to overcome, which in turn will give him some extra confidence (not that he needs it) when he “earns” his way into the starting job.
Third, if Manziel stinks, the Browns won’t have to drop him down the depth chart and in turn admit that they never should have made him the starter.
Despite anything the Browns are saying, the days of using a first-round pick on a quarterback and parking his butt on the bench are over. Also over are the days of putting a first-round quarterback on the field in the preseason behind a backup offensive line against backup defensive players looking to make an impact figuratively by making an impact literally on a young superstar quarterback.
Really, how can the Browns let Manziel play behind anything other than the starting offensive line? Regardless of what they’re doing to keep him in line, he’s an important asset to the future of the franchise. It will be difficult if not impossible to put that asset at enhanced risk in the preseason in the name of sending a message to the player and the fans and the media that the town invented by Moses Cleveland is now owned by Johnny Manziel.