Browns: Hoyer vs. Manziel – Fightin’ Words


Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel are set up to engage in a battle for the coveted starting quarterback position of the Cleveland Browns. From what I’m reading and hearing, both of these guys are being sold short (no pun intended Johnny). Let’s break it down, starting with the incumbent, Brian Hoyer.

Let’s just say, even though I like the guy, just be glad that Gary Danielson wasn’t standing between Hitler and The Statue of Liberty or all of us would be eating more sauerkraut. Mr. Danielson’s advice to Brian Hoyer who has been waiting his entire life for a chance to be a starting quarterback? Rollover. Can you believe that? Danielson suggests that Hoyer “embrace” the idea of  grooming Manziel, since, after all, Manziel is the future of the franchise and like Bernie Kosar, this is Manziel’s team. That assertion makes a gross assumption that Hoyer can’t win games. That scenario works out well if Hoyer gets his shot and falls on his face, but what if he doesn’t. What if Brian Hoyer balls out and just for argument sake leads the Browns to a 5 – 0 record to start the year?

The objective as a Brown’s fan should be to win. Whatever it takes. Punch. Bite. Kick. Snarl. Mash it up down and dirty. Ohio style. The losing has rotted some people’s brains so bad that they are actually rooting for a Browns quarterback to lose, just to make some kind of point? Winning isn’t enough? We have to win with Manziel? Last time I checked no one cares how you win a Superbowl.

Are we like children who tossed aside our favorite toy in favor of the new one? Brian Hoyer, after all, is barely out of the package. If I were him, I would cut out every Manziel article and use them to make one of those giant hoops that the star football player runs through during the homecoming game at the fifty yard line. The last thing he should do, and the worst thing for this team is for him to roll over and concede the team. The better he plays the better it is for the team, the fans and himself.  This is his shot and I’m sure he’s prepared to take it.

Now let’s look at Manziel. Johnny Manziel has been handed everything on a silver platter, right? He’s just a rich kid from Texas whose Daddy was able to give him the best of the best and that’s why he is where he is today. Lost in the hype of the “Johnny Football” craze is the fact that a quarterback battle is nothing new for Manziel. This guy has been battling for playing time and respect his entire football career.

In highschool, Manziel started as a wide receiver before moving to quarterback his sophomore year. He had to prove himself and he did that in a big way. By the time he was a senior, he was rated the top quarterback in Texas. Not Rhode Island, or Connecticut, Texas, as in Friday Night Lights, everything is bigger in Texas.  All 5 feet, 11 3/4 inches, and 207 pounds of him.

So he must have been recruited by every big school university in the country. Not quite, he was recruited by eight teams, including the powerhouses of Wyoming, Iowa State and Colorado State. His favorite team of Texas didn’t even give him an offer. That’s a lot of chips to carry on those two, not big enough to succeed on the big college stage level shoulders.

Then when he got to Texas A&M, I’m sure he was handed the job. Yeah, if you consider having to beat out two other guys, one being considered the preseason favorite. Oh yeah, that was after he was red-shirted. Then he went to work as a household name of “Johnny Football”, right? No, the title of “Johnny Football” was graciously bestowed upon him for no good reason, right? Not right. You don’t become “Johnny Football” without balling out. There have been a lot of Johnnies before Manziel, but none of them became “Johnny Football”. There has been only one “Johnny Football” and that’s because Manziel earned that title by dominating the same schools that decided he wasn’t worth recruiting.

Now Manziel enters the NFL, where he will face a new quarterback challenge, amidst the same criticisms that he isn’t NFL caliber – too short – can’t take a hit, blah, blah, blah. I don’t believe that is making Johnny sweat. If past history is the best indicator of future behavior then we are in store for something special.

Having said that, does that mean that Brian Hoyer should roll over and concede, no. Is Manziel the future of the Browns, maybe. But before we figure that out, we need to take that walk over to the bus barn, because on the other side of it, just out of sight of the principal Hoyer and Manziel are about to throw down. In places like Texas and Ohio, there is such a thing as fightin’ words (that’s right no “g” on the end). And no matter what either one of these guys says in front of the media cameras, those words are being spoken behind the scenes.

The quarterback is the leader of a football team and needs to earn the respect of his teammates. The first test to that will be earned by who wins what needs to be a bare knuckle knock down drag out fight for the starting quarterback position. Any less, would be a smack to the face of the hard-working people of Ohio who just like Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel had to scratch and claw to get what they have. Who ever wins the spot will need to do it the old fashion way – earn it. One thing for sure, when they are done, there will be a winner, but both of these men will have respect of each other, their teammates and their fans. If you are a real Browns fan, you are rooting for both of them. We root for Browns and these two are Browns -both of them, our boys. No man left behind, may the best man win. Let’s get it on, boys.