As if the odds weren’t already stacked enough Johnny Manziel already, the Cleveland Browns decision to sit him in their regular season opener puts the 21-year-old in rare, and less than distinguished, company.
According to Nick Wright on In The Loop this morning, of the 16 first round quarterbacks drafted since 2008, 11 have started in Week 1 of their rookie seasons.
Who didn’t? Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, Jake Locker, Josh Freeman and, yes, Tim Tebow.
Not so encouraging for Manziel backers.
Nor is it, frankly, for Browns fans in general.
While Manziel’s status on the depth chart is much a function of his own doing, including poor play and judgment on and off the field, the Cleveland coaching staff has to share some responsibility.
Head coach Mike Pettine reportedly never wanted Manziel to start the opener. Not exactly an ideal employer-employee dynamic.
The complexity of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s system is reportedly part of the reason Manziel has struggled with the playbook. This, in a generation where coaches regularly simplify schemes to make them more young quarterback friendly.
Then there’s the decision itself. All things being equal, as they have appeared to be through two weeks of the preseason, don’t ties go to the future?
For Manziel to be a successful NFL quarterback, he was always going to have to be an outlier. The decision to start Brian Hoyer on Sept. 7 against the Pittsburgh Steelers adds another layer to that.
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