Hue Jackson drops another nail in Johnny Manziel’s coffin
By Thomas Moore
Cleveland Browns head coach continued the organizations message that the team is moving on from quarterback Johnny Manziel.
As the Cleveland Browns move closer to the start of the new NFL year on March 9, team officials have begun to make it abundantly clear that quarterback Johnny Manziel is no longer in the team’s plans.
It started on Tuesday when executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown released the strongest statement so far, saying that Manziel’s “continual involvement in incidents that run counter to those expectations undermines the hard work of his teammates and the reputation of our organization.”
Head coach Hue Jackson stuck to the organizational message on Wednesday at Jay Glazer’s charity event, Glazer Palooza. Jackson was asked directly about his feelings toward Manziel by a staff writer from TMZ Sports and his response made it clear he wants nothing to do with an unreliable player like Manziel.
Related: The end is nigh for Johnny Manziel
“To me, there’s so many other things to talk about, so that’s not my concern right now,” Jackson said. “We have so many other great things going on with our organization – hiring a staff and getting our players ready to go. I want to focus on the positive, not the negative.”
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When pushed by the reporter about the negative attention that Manziel brings to the organization, Jackson reiterated that he only has time to focus on improving the Browns.
“Obviously it’s been negative in the media,” Jackson said. “I’m going to deal with the positives with our football team. We’ve got a lot of great things going on and I think that’s what important to focus on.”
The reporter also asked point blank if Jackson wanted Manziel on the Browns in 2016, and while Jackson did not come out and say “no,” his answer left little doubt about his feelings.
“That’s not the point, that’s not the point,” Jackson said. “It’s not the point for me to talk about whether I want Johnny Manziel or not. That will all take care of itself at the appropriate time.”
Once the Browns release (or trade) Manziel, he will go down as one of the biggest quarterback busts in the AFC North, according to ESPN, which placed him in a tie with former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Akili Smith on a list that, sadly, is dominated by former Browns quarterbacks.
ESPN’s Jamison Hensley makes the case by writing that:
"(Manziel) ranks among the NFL’s bottom five in completion percentage, yards per attempt and TD-to-INT ratio since entering the league in 2014, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Manziel is set to become the second-youngest first-round quarterback to part ways with his team after playing at least one game in the Common Draft Era (since 1967)."
With the inevitable on the horizon for Manziel, the question becomes what happens to him after the Browns move on?
ESPN’s Jean-Jaques Taylor believes that taking a year off may be the proper course of action, especially for a player who with as many shortcomings on and off the field as Manziel:
"The league won’t wait for him to mature and figure out that being an NFL quarterback requires him to put in the work and dedication needed to succeed at the highest level. It certainly isn’t going to wait for a dude who’s 2-6 as a starter with seven touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 74.4 passer rating."
"The league waits for stars. It gives players with special talents multiple chances because it’s so hard to win in the NFL. There’s nothing unusual about Manziel’s ability in the NFL. He doesn’t have special size, athleticism or intangibles. His arm is good — not great — and the defensive players are so quick and athletic that they have no problem chasing him down."
"Besides, Manziel has made a habit of telling coaches and fans exactly what they want to hear and then doing whatever he wants as soon as they leave the room. He can’t be trusted."
The Browns are moving on from Manziel and, as Jackson points out, what comes next is out of their hands.
“Johnny Manziel has to determine that (his NFL future,” Jackson told TMZ, “not me.”