Ken Blaze -- USA Today Sports

Fast Lane Mailbag

The latest Fast Lane Mailbag is simply a look at Browns QB Johnny Manziel

Q - “Do the Browns have any expectation of Johnny Manziel? I mean, as a potential starter this year, maybe by mid-season or are the rumors they wanted to trade him still loom today?” Chuck S, Columbus, Ohio

Fast Lane - The Browns expectation of Johnny Manziel is to come to work everyday, work hard, give his best effort and do everything he possibly can to be a professional and be a positive for his team. A year ago, Manziel came in with all the fan-fare, just off the “Johnny Manziel World Tour” and wasn’t ready to be a professional football player, not in any degree.

The organization doesn’t have any false hopes, nor pretenses that Manziel is going to walk through the door and suddenly become a starting QB at this level. They do hope with the proper life-style, coaching and support he can compete and contribute to the success of the Cleveland Browns.

As for trading Manziel, I’d be remiss in saying we hadn’t heard talk of the Browns making him available prior to the draft, but nothing came of it.

Q - “Given the Browns did not prove Johnny Manziel with the proper support or opportunity to thrive in his rookie season, what amount of pressure now resides on head coach Mike Pettine to make things right and give the talented Manziel the opportunity he deserves? The Browns know what he can do, if he doesn’t get the shot, Pettine should be fired for the injustice to the player and Browns fans around the world.”  Larry W, Bryan, Texas

Fast Lane -  I’ll open with, I do not believe the Browns conducted themselves in a poor manner regarding  the opportunity or support provided Johnny Manziel. Manziel was own worst nemesis when it came down to his opportunity to get on the playing field. He didn’t study hard, he didn’t grasp the seriousness of the NFL game and due to his vast success at the collegiate level, which in its own he has acknowledged came rather easy — the pro-game, it intricacies, it’s speed and mental preparation were not sufficiently worked by the then rookie.

Following a stay in rehab, Manziel has said the right things, hasn’t been nearly as focal in the media spotlight and has been much more attentive within the Browns facility. He has spent extra time in the building, working, studying, watching film and appears to grasp the seriousness of the situation and severity his past issues created for him and the Browns.

The Browns do not have high-end expectations for Manziel at this time, he is going to come in, get on the practice field and show whether he is a capable NFL QB, or isn’t. He is going to be surrounded by two strong communicators (OC and QB coach), working in an offensive scheme which he could excel within.

This isn’t a Mike Pettine thing — it’s a Johnny Manziel thing. Don’t fool yourself, if Manziel works and proves to be a solid teammate giving the team the best opportunity to win, he will see the field. As of right now, he hasn’t shown to be that guy, not in 2014 and not during the OTA sessions.

Q - “ Here we go again, training camp right around the corner and we are talking about the Browns lack of a quality quarterback. When does it end and what were your thoughts on the selection of Johnny Manziel?  Floyd G, North Olmsted, Ohio

Fast Lane - Let’s look at the Browns situation over the past few decades — it’s not a pretty picture. Since the 1970’s. Brian Sipe, Bernie Kosar and a short-run by Vinny Testaverde are the only notable names that tasted true success — scary to say the least.

Being said, I believe Johnny Manziel has talent, it’s needs to be harnessed to a degree and he needs to work on evolving into the pro-game and work with a staff that is very open, can look outside the box and utilize his skill-set — and this is what I said prior to the draft on Manziel.

Personally, I am on record stating I liked Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr.


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