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Rumor: Manziel slacked as backup?

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It's difficult in this part of the season to separate the fact from the fiction about what is happening with Cleveland Browns players. The topic du jour yesterday centered around Manziel's work ethic and preparation, and here's why.

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SI.com "Inside the Broadcast of Manziel's first start" created the controversy.

This is the article that sparked much of the outrage. In it, Deitsch relates a conversation that the broadcast crew had with Manziel prior to the game. Here's the money quote:

"I thought he gave a pretty honest answer; he said you can’t really compare my work habits to Peyton Manning or Tom Brady," Burkhardt said. "Manziel said this week he put in maximum effort, that he worked his tail off, and that hopefully it was going to show. He was pretty honest with us on the fact that he put in all this work this week and maybe not for the whole year. He came off very honest, maybe even a little naive. John [Lynch] brought up all the great quarterbacks and said they do what Johnny did this week every week."

This contradicts much of what has come from Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine to this point. The overwhelming tone coming from the Browns was that Manziel was the consummate pro, and that he was working his tail off to get better and making progress to that end. These things aren't mutually exclusive, but one must be concerned with the tangible evidence to this point.

1. Manziel struggled mechanically in the preseason to set his feet and throw with velocity downfield.

2. When exposed to more complex blitzes and coverages (even by preseason standards) it appeared that Manziel didn't know what he was looking at pre-snap and post-snap, and it caused him to hesitate, especially at Washington.

3. When thrust into the game, versus Buffalo, other Browns players indicated that Manziel didn't know the play calls and had to be helped at the line.

All is not lost, and the reality of the situation might be the wake up call that John needs to dedicate himself to the harder part of the NFL QB craft.

What do you think, Browns fans?