Quiet On the Set

The Cleveland Browns are starting to demonstrate when subterfuge gives way to not knowing when to stop talking. General Manager Ray Farmer says that incumbent starter Brian Hoyer is ahead of Johnny Manziel by a wide margin. Really?? Then why were you looking for a quarterback in the first round again??

Manziel at his first rookie camp in Cleveland.

Manziel at his first rookie camp in Cleveland.

There is a difference between making a person earn their keep and when you can start to erode one’s confidence or irritate a player. Coming off like this in the press isn’t in your best interest. Be conservative with what you express outwardly. You’re Cleveland, not the Dallas Cowboys. Deflect the questions in a way that doesn’t come off as pompous or dismissive. Especially to one you want to develop into becoming the face of your franchise.

When grooming a quarterback to be a leader, you never tear him down publicly or even in front of his teammates. It has to happen behind closed doors. Manziel will have enough critics trying to break him down in AFC North defenses, than in the coming competition with Hoyer for the starting QB spot. You have to show more of a partnership approach so Manziel knows you’re in it with him. Otherwise he’ll develop as a quarterback but you could erode his stance to be viewed as a leader within the structure of the team.

So my message is simple… close ranks. Be the quiet Cleveland Browns and leave everyone guessing how Manziel is doing in the OTAs. Go so far as limiting how much press can even be around Manziel to minimize the circus on the inside. Make Roger Goodell fine you because of the secrecy kept in limiting the press access to your team. Then stop talking altogether to build anticipation while others speculate on what they will see when the 2014 Browns take the field in preseason.

While its important to know how to sell, it’s just as important to know when to sell. Be very quiet in the front office Cleveland. Go groom Manziel behind an iron curtain.

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All The Johnny Manziel Subterfuge

A few days ago I posed the question: If you change your mock draft for the 10th time, what’s the difference between that and talking in circles?? Pundit after pundit for weeks explained why they thought Manziel would fall in the draft. Well the Cleveland Browns made him a late first round pick and energized the franchise and fan-base.

manzielAfter months of speculation on where he’ll slip in the draft a funny thing happened. When you asked GMs what they thought about him, reviews were mixed. Yet when you asked defensive players who they least wanted to face of the incoming quarterbacks, Manziel topped that list by far. How much of it was smokescreen to get Johnny to fall to them at a specific draft position??

Former GM Charlie Casserly was his most vocal critic citing his being the most overrated player in the draft. This from a guy that drafted Heath Shuler & David Carr?? To quote Bill Belichick “When has Charlie Casserly been right?”

The consensus has always been to draft a 6’3 strong armed pocket passer. Yet the NFL is evolving. Didn’t we just watch a small mobile QB beat the pocket passer in Super Bowl XLVIII a few months back?? Colin Kaepernick came within a few plays of winning the ultimate game the year before that. There is more than one way to play the position and a new profile of how the position looks. You can offset a smaller quarterback with roll-outs, waggles, and spread formations. Drew Brees has been carving up the record books lately at 6’0, so what is everyone talking about??

More important…who cares??

The Browns needed Johnny Manziel as much as he needed them. He will have a chip on his shoulder from this entire draft ordeal and want to prove a point. Its the immeasurable qualities like the will to win, and the ability to inspire teammates that you can’t get from combines and pro days. Watching his best college performances against teams that were thought to be better than his shows fight. He’ll have plenty of those days with the Browns looking up to the AFC North and most teams from a talent standpoint. He’s wired psychologically to take that on. The Heath Shulers, David Carrs, Blaine Gabberts of the world were not.

Speaking of free agents Cleveland might attract....LeBron James sporting a Manziel jersey traveling with the Miami Heat.

Speaking of free agents Cleveland might attract….LeBron James sporting a Manziel jersey traveling with the Miami Heat.

Now the Browns can draw more attention from the upper echelon of free agents that will be available before the season begins. We still have a few rounds of the draft to go, but look for the Browns to make a move at receiver with the pending suspension of wideout Josh Gordon.

The Cleveland Browns relevancy begins now.  Just call him Johnny Cleveland!

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Whither Johnny Manziel – Kicked out of Manning Passing Academy

Returning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.

Returning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.

Early last December we had the first redshirt freshman win the Heisman Trophy. Everyone marveled at “Johnny Football’s” mobility in and out of the pocket. His touch once he threw the football during games, and a slew of YouTube tricks to marvel at. Yet no one thought of the light that would be shown on a 20 year old kid. The scrutiny that would follow him off the football field has led to an off-season of setbacks. All of which culminated with his removal from the Manning passing camp.

In the ever-changing world of social media, there is light where there has never been before. Any anonymous person, can take a picture of you while in the middle of devouring a cheeseburger, and link it to the rest of the world via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc… Caught in this lurch are the first generation of athletes who can’t escape the limelight of the media, now that the American populace has become a part of it. Athletes are having to mature faster and think quicker on their feet in regards to what their actions can possibly cause.

Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram had just cooled from the Pouncey twins sporting “Free Hernandez” ball caps. This of course in reference to former Florida Gator teammate Aaron Hernandez, who has been accused of murder. Now comes the story of Manziel being released from the camp run by the Mannings. He’s been blown up on social media for a series of transgressions this off-season. Pictures of him in drinking establishments although he’s not 21. The rest of us football fans have taken to social media, to express ourselves about Johnny Manziel and his celebrity.

First and foremost, let’s not forget this is a 20 year old who was at a football camp. The camp is there to mentor and train hundreds of prep school and college signal callers about the nuances of playing the position. Of course they were covering 3, 5, 7 step drops, Pistol shotgun mechanics, and footwork. Here is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner attending a football camp to help the next generation.

Although he has a lot of light on him for various reasons, he was kicked out of the camp and now has to deal with the embarrassment on ESPN and social media all alone. The Chancellor of Football’s take?? I would think higher of the Mannings had they sat Johnny Manziel down and mentored him about professionalism and kept things in-house. Between Archie, Peyton, and Eli, there is nearly 40 years of NFL experience between them. Just like Johnny, Peyton and Eli grew up affluent also so they could identify with his position. This isn’t a poor college student who can only afford to go home and train out of the spotlight only. To boot him out and say”Oh we’d invite him back” while he now has to be a 20 year old in damage control mode. Understand he doesn’t have an agent to coach him and he could always say the wrong thing in front of one of these cameras.

Yet lets ask ourselves a question: What were all of us doing at 20 years of age?? Are you kidding?? I went to parties at schools in four different states let alone be a real high profile college KID. Don’t let social media warp your level of perspective. Does he need to calm down some?? Yes…why not have some compassion for his situation and sit Johnny down?? The Mannings missed a golden opportunity to mentor him in something more important than football…life.

To get him to slow down and understand how living in the fast lane has derailed many careers, or worse. To know how his life is being scrutinized by future employers. To understand the 15 minutes of fame young girls, and other fans who want to befriend him will do with this instant media, can paint him in a negative light. Naturally someone may say it’s not their responsibility to tell him that. The reason they had him there in the first place was they had the platform to teach young quarterbacks about playing football. Why not take it a step further with him instead of let him twist in the wind from a P.R. standpoint?? He has no one around him to tell him NO. He’s hanging around other 20 year old kids who are more popular because they hang out with “Johnny Football.’ Don’t forget there are limited hours his college coaches can talk to him in the off-season due to NCAA regulations. Not one of them could have sat him down for a 15 minute heart to heart conversation??

We do have to keep in perspective that he’s only 20 yet let’s empathize with what he’s dealing with also. If I tapped you on the shoulder and told you I have pics and vids of your behavior to upload to facebook from you at 20, how wide would your eyes get?? Exactly. For what we’ve heard this off-season give this kid a break, he’ll learn from this. The number one thing for him is he’s just a few weeks away from where he needs to be… back in school and in the safe haven of practice at Texas A & M. I hope he’s learned a couple lessons.

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