It’s no secret that Johnny Manziel is a media sensation. Shows like SportsCenter can’t help but talk about him 24/7 while fans debate whether he’s really worth the hype. In fact, his situation seems all too Tebow-esque.
And the Cleveland Browns recognize that. In fact, they have taken measures to quell the media giant. In rookie minicamp, the team restricted national media access and only allowed local reporters to attend. The team also announced that Manziel will officially be a backup behind Brian Hoyer.
But how smart are these moves really? Making Johnny Manziel a backup could restrain the media from obsessing over his every play on the field, but it won’t stop them from going after him in other ways. After all, backup quarterbacks can still be media monsters (See Tebow, Tim).
Also, let’s not forget that Johnny Manziel is a first-round pick. What’s the use in benching a first-round pick that could be a starter in other systems? We get it, Johnny Manziel needs to learn to embrace the backup role, as he said “I’m a rookie. I need to earn my place and earn my keep.”
So the kid needs to be humble, big deal; this doesn’t mean he should be discouraged from touching the starting job. Manziel has plenty of mechanics and footwork issues to work on, and holding him back by putting him in third team reps won’t help him. He needs to stay competitive and stay on his toes in order to get better. Maybe give him a couple setbacks from reaching the starting job, or give Hoyer the competitive advantage, but to facilitate serious improvement he needs to compete.
In the end, the only thing holding Johnny Manziel back is his media presence. It is certainly not a good thing for a player if his every move was tracked and sensationalized, especially a rookie. Manziel must clam up and reduce his media following by any means necessary, at least for his rookie season. The Cleveland Browns have done much to humble him and his following, but he must take the next steps.
Manziel impressively shied away from the media and showed a more hard-working side prior to the NFL Draft. Now, he must keep it that way. And if he does, who knows what he will be able to accomplish.