BEREA— Ray Farmer still believes in Johnny Manziel.
Despite a poor rookie season and a two-month stint in rehab to start his sophomore season, Farmer isn’t wavering in his belief in the former Heisman Trophy winner who the Browns drafted in the first round last year.
Farmer was asked after Friday’s practice if he still believes Manziel can be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
“Used the right way and doing the right things, I think he can,” Farmer said. “I think the guy is doing all the necessary things to take the next step as a quarterback. If he does those things, he has the physical skills to (be a starting quarterback in the NFL).”
The Browns traded up to take Manziel with the 22nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, a move not made unless the thought is he can be the franchise quarterback.
“I don’t think the expectations have changed,” Farmer said. “I think the development is different. You expect more now because you’re in year two and you should learn a little something different and then appropriate yourself that way.
“From my perspective, all rookies are different. Some rookies hit the field and it’s great. Some come in and they hit the sophomore wall. Sometimes it takes a little time to get going and then they take off. Everybody is an individual.
I would say our expectations of Johnny haven’t changed. We still think he’s a capable player he still has to put the time and energy to achieve that.”
On the first day of training camp, Manziel had a less than stellar day with a couple passes batted down and some missed throws. He bounced back with a solid day on Friday hitting wide receiver Kevin Cone down field and connecting with Gary Barnidge over the middle and Vince Mayle down the middle.
Manziel stayed out of the headlines during the off-season but the question remains if he has the ability to play at the NFL. Farmer was asked if he was satisfied with Manziel’s progress.
“I don’t know if I’m really ever satisfied,” he said. “It’s my goal and my job to replace guys so you just want to see that the guy is making the strides necessary to attain the goal that you have for him.
“I do think he’s taken some steps that he’s serious about the craft, he’s serious about getting it altogether,” Farmer said. “His preparation has improved and that will matriculate to the field and his performance will improve.”