Maybe Johnny Manziel is the biggest name, but there’s a very good chance the rookie quarterback starts the season on the bench, while the Cleveland Browns turn to Brian Hoyer once again to start for them.
Hoyer started three times for the Browns last season, winning two games and in the third got injured, making him miss the rest of the season. He doesn’t have the star quality of Manziel and not a whole lot of playing time in the NFL since entering the league in 2009, but he has enough advantages that should put him in the driver’s seat when the season begins, while Manziel will have to learn and develop watching from the outside.
Maybe Manziel does become a great quarterback, and all the things people seem to note about him won’t get in the way. He was incredible for Texas A&M in college, but even a legendary college quarterback doesn’t turn into a good NFL quarterback all the time. Maybe even most of the time, and Manziel, with his reliance on scrambling and bootlegs, is in the risk zone for someone who might turn out to be a huge bust.
Hoyer has the experience and according to a tweet by Bob Holtzman, he has the support of the players to start. Hoyer, who started his career with the New England Patriots, moved on to the Arizona Cardinals before landing in Cleveland, has seen quite a few offensive systems unlike Manziel, who is simply new to the business of throwing to and against professional players.
With the Browns always in rebuilding mode, one might think that giving the reins to Manziel right away is the smart thing. History has proven there is no one way to treat rookie quarterbacks. Some of them do well right off the bat – born to be pro starters. Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson are the best examples from the last couple of years. Others, like Alex Smith, might have needed a few years behind someone instead of being thrown unprepared into the Lion’s den.
Manziel has the star quality and potential to be a sensation in Cleveland. He’s that much of a rock star even without putting a football uniform on him. But it would be smart for him and the Browns to wait. Even if their goal isn’t winning the most games this season but building this team for 2015 and onward, Hoyer should be the one taking the calls behind center for now.