Manziel Mania began with a bang in May 2014. Eight months later, the fad has passed.
As other teams passed on the troubled Texas A&M quarterback, the Browns put their faith in Johnny Manziel late in the first round in the hopes that he would become the face of the franchise. Maybe, the club hoped, the talented dual-threat signalcaller would even grow into the player this team needs the most: a franchise quarterback.
In return for the Browns' faith in him, Manziel has only given the team headaches. Johnny Football landed in the headlines often during his rookie season, mostly for his partying habits. Worse, he couldn't produce once his name was called. As pundits in this town have scoffed, Manziel has wrecked this team instead of "wreck[ing] this league."
At the conclusion of the season, Jeremy Fowler and Pat McManamon of ESPN.com dug deep to discover the cause of the problem. The two talked to over 20 sources in the league, including players, coaches, team officials, and others outside of the organization. Listed below are some of the key points of the article.
--- Manziel didn't put in enough effort this season, leading to his poor performance this season:
Those who spoke talked of a year-long pattern that showed a lack of commitment and preparation, a failure to be ready when given a chance in his first start against Cincinnati and a continued commitment to nightlife, which affected his preparation and work while in the team facility.
--- Manziel's behavior should not have come to a surprise to anyone in the Browns' organization:
During the draft process, not one person interviewed by the team said he was going to grow up," said one source directly involved in the drafting of Manziel. "You can't blame Johnny. This is who he is. The team knew that.
--- The locker room is split in regards to whether or not Manziel can change:
Some teammates doubt he can ever change. Others are hopeful.
"People make mistakes," cornerback Joe Haden said. "I'm all about giving second chances." ...
None of his teammates talked about disliking Manziel personally. In fact, a "good guy" theme is prevalent with him. Some players vouch for his work ethic. Left guard Joel Bitonio said "you can tell" Manziel wants to be good and "works his tail off" in the weight room.
--- Opinions around the NFL are split about Manziel as far as whether or not the team should keep him.
One former NFL assistant coach familiar with developing quarterbacks said it was a mistake to draft Manziel, but it would be a bigger mistake to let him go.
Others, though, maintain the problems balloon when a team sticks with an uncommitted player. At least one candidate to replace Shanahan believed Manziel was not the answer, according to a source.
If you haven't seen the article yet, it's well worth the read. Go check it out. But as far as Manziel, only time will tell how this story will end.
What do you think about Manziel and this whole mess? Does this report change your opinion on Johnny Football? Let your voice be heard in the comments section below.