The Browns quickly fell in love with quarterback Johnny Manziel last year. They may be falling out of love with him.
Despite investing a first-round pick in Manziel, owner Jimmy Haslam won’t proclaim Manziel or anyone else the answer at the position.
“[W]e don’t know who our quarterback is going to be next year and what I would say to our fans is, we’re going to continue to work really hard to find that quarterback who can make us a championship team,” Haslam said at the 15th annual Greater Cleveland Sports Awards, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
“We’re going to work until we find the right person, and I’m not slighting Connor [Shaw] or Johnny, we have two quarterbacks, or Brian [Hoyer], if he were to come back, I’m not slighting any of them. We’re going to work hard until we get a quarterback who can help us win and win consistently, which we’ve stated since Day One is our goal. And it’s not easy, but we understand it’s the mission and we’re going to work hard at it.”
Asked about whether Hoyer could indeed return, Haslam said, “I think every option is open on the table for us in terms of who’s going to play next year.”
Haslam described the team’s quarterback situation as “still muddy,” and he pointed out that the best teams have good quarterbacks.
It’s the latest example of the quick-fix mentality that has plagued Haslam’s tenure as an NFL owner. Obsessed with winning and clearly frustrated by the many factors that fall beyond long hours, hard work, and a strong will, Haslam seems to believe that the best way to succeed in football is to keep changing out the pieces until he happens to find the right ones.
What he overlooks is the potential for growth by the people he has. With time and experience, an average quarterback can become a good quarterback. And a young, immature quarterback who demonstrated enough potential in college to become a Heisman winner and a first-round pick can develop into a star.
But Haslam doesn’t seem to be content to wait. Instead, he seems to constantly want to hit the “reset” button, whether with players, coaches, or executives. That attitude eventually will make it harder to attract the kind of employees with the skills to find and to develop the franchise quarterback Haslam so desperately wants.