Johnny Manziel lost the starting QB competition to Brian Hoyer. That competition was weighted against Manziel from the beginning, both by design and naturally. Head Coach Mike Pettine wanted the veteran Hoyer to win the job and designed the competition in a way that Manziel would have to shine brightly to win. Manziel was naturally behind the eight ball in the competition based on the spread, limited playbook offense he was coming from.
Design and things out of his control conspired against him, but he may have also created some of the problem himself. Following the draft Manziel was reportedly only present in Cleveland/Berea when official activities were going on. Outside of OTAs, minicamp, rookie camp and Training Camp Manziel was a ghost. He traveled, he partied and he had a ton of fun. To be fair he also did some charity and football camps during his travels. Yet while he was gone, Hoyer was present. He was connecting with the coaches, the playbook and the players on the team. Manziel was connecting, well with people every 2o-something male would love to connect with: women and famous people.
Yet today, after losing the starting competition, Manziel was verbally defiant about his decision from the off-season. He stated “its the off-season” emphasizing that he took it off and will in the future:
#Browns Manziel again defended off-field actions. Doesn't think hurt chances in competition. "I'm gonna travel, live life, have fun."
— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) August 20, 2014
Not only did he emphasize that he wouldn’t change what he did this off-season, he made it clear, once again, that he would do it in the future. He clearly believes that he only has to work at his job as an NFL quarterback during the season.
He is standing in defiance to what coaches, executives, players and analysts have made clear for years regarding QBs in the NFL. Unlike any other position, being the starting QB for an NFL team must consume your life. This is especially true during the early stages of your career. Yet Manziel presents that this is not true for him. He seems to believe he is different than all the rest or, worse yet, that playing QB in the NFL isn’t that important to him.
This is his first taste of real failure since he became a public figure. After red shirting a year at Texas A&M he has been winning, on and off the football field. Yet today he lost and is still standing by his belief in the way he does things. He could be proven right, but what if it doesn’t work? What would have to happen or who would have to speak into his life to help him see the need for change?
As we wrote earlier today, in our Justin Bieber/Johnny Manziel comparison piece, Manziel’s stubbornness could be problematic on the field as well. While he learns the playbook, will he continue to believe his freestyle ways are what is best? Will he make decision inside of the confines of the Browns offense or ad lib and do things his way?
Off the field he has made it clear that how others think he should act is not a concern. He has made it clear he is going to live his life, his way. Expecting to fly in the face of general consensus, and no the media consensus doesn’t concern me, of his peers and former players and execs and still succeed is a bold proclamation.
Manziel said a lot of right things today. He understands he is a backup now. He understands that he only played 2 years in college and has only been in the NFL for a little while. He understands he has a lot to learn. He also supported his coach’s decision to start Brian Hoyer.
But make no mistake, Johnny Manziel stood today in defiance stating he was going to do things his way.
Wwhat did you take away from Manziel’s comments today?