Wednesday, August 20, 2014
THE QUARTERBACK INCOMPETITION
Normally my post game rants I highlight some guys who played well and adversely call out some guys who under performed. This week that is easy, the defense was really good and the offense was really bad. As stupid and simplistic of an analysis that is, it really is the truth. The defense is set, and outside of some injuries at CB the Browns defense looked mean, nasty and tough. Three turnovers created by the first team alone should have set the tone for this offense in flux, but alas that didn't happen.
The reason that this is significant was that coach Mike Pettine wanted to name the starters, most significantly the starting QB. So the battle of Brian Hoyer vs Johnny Manziel had its final showdown on Monday Night Football. And did someone stand out? No.
Our offense way abysmal. It looked like the worst of Brian Daboll, Pat Shurmur, and Rob Chudzinski all combined into some new type of stupid that was painful to watch. And more importantly created more questions than answers to a unit that appears to be in way worse shape than many of us feared. So what better way to end an annual QB controversy in Cleveland than a completely disfunctional game?
And as the dust settled after that stinker it was Brian Hoyer awarded the starting position over fan favorite Johnny Manziel. Was it fair? Did Hoyer earn it? So lets take a look at both guys...
Truthfully that is where the positives end. Brian Hoyer may have just won a QB competition doing the least amount of good things in the history of the NFL. Boasting a 40% completion percentage and failing to convert third down, let alone a touchdown Hoyer has hardly given the Browns faithful a reason to forget about Johnny Manziel.
However I don't want to bury the guy, he certainly wasn't blessed with a ton of support from his teammates. Hoyer's inaccuracy was amplified by some very poor WR play, and his decision making hampered in the last game with some very poor offensive line play. The first team units under Hoyer looked disorganized and poor as a whole.
To be honest it is hardly the glowing endorsement I was hoping to give our QB going into the season, but I am guess I can see the coach's logic. So if I can see the logic in it, how bad could Johnny have been?
Considering the above pic was Johnny Manziel's NFL highlight so far, I can honestly say that I wasn't blown away. I haven't made it a secret that I don't see Johnny through the same rose colored glasses that many fans do. Johnny looked every bit the college gimmick offense QB who probably came out of school too soon. He did outplay Hoyer, but only barely.
While that may sound harsh, those aren't criticisms they are facts. The truth is Johnny Manziel isn't Brandon Weeden, he's a 21 year old kid. He has a lot of time, and an almost limitless ceiling. But Johnny isn't any where near that ceiling right now. The worst part of Johnny's game has been simple, but obvious... he isn't ready for the pro game. Simply calling a play in a huddle is new to him, and it has been a struggle for him. I noticed several instances where he turned to throw to a receiver who was running a completely different route than Johnny thought he was running.
Fixable overnight? Absolutely not.
So I am sorry to the people who were Manziel or bust this season. There are adjustments that people in Johnny's position need to make, and no matter how much you wish it to be true he is no exception. Brian Hoyer has more experience, a better grasp on the offense, and in my opinion gives this team a better chance to win during this brutal stretch that starts this season.
The fact is that Brian Hoyer's window is small, if he wants to make a career as an NFL starter this is his chance. It is now or never for him. I hope that ending the competition will allow him to regain some of the comfort in the offense he showed last season.
And as far as Johnny Manziel goes, chill out people. He isn't the exception to the rules, he's human and he will be well served to learn his position. The logic that players don't get experience backing up veterans is flawed, and if you really are a fan of the kid let him learn.
And if they both turn out to suck, there was one bright spot at QB...