Read the full recap here.
The first week of Browns OTAs was a revelation of where the team is going offensively and who is going to lead them.
The first two days of OTA's are never a "revelation" of what the season holds for a football team. It features guys in shorts and helmets beginning to learn how the coaches structure plays, and a general walk through of what the scheme and game plan will look like. It's a bevvy of new play calls, new formations, and new receivers that the quarterbacks have not developed chemistry with.
He must be willing to play within the structure of a conservative game plan. He must be content to "live for another down" and not try something daring to make a play by himself.
This is why the Browns signed Josh McCown, a 13-year NFL veteran who has played for six teams, and why McCown has been virtually anointed the starting quarterback without even the hint of a "competition" in training camp.
I like that this statement has the air of poetry. The Faceless Man (GoT reference!) clearly makes an appearance for this segment at ESPN Cleveland. "A man knows how to check down and not throw into traffic."
Unfortunately, the statement resonates little with the facts. The Browns signed Josh McCown for a multitude of reasons, including but not limited to his leadership intangibles, his familiarity with Coach John DeFilippo, and because quite literally he was the most capable quarterback available. Mark Sanchez and Jake Locker looked like intriguing options at the time, but quickly moved off the board before the Browns would have had a realistic shot at obtaining their services.
No one has "anointed" Josh McCown anything. (Except for maybe the runner up in a Dolf Lungren lookalike contest) He has begun team activities as the starter, which is as much a product of his experience as it is a lack of experience for Johnny Manziel and an uncertainty about his availability. The coaches have stressed (repeatedly, and with passion) that they are taking things a day at a time with Manziel, and would never make determinations about the depth chart in September based on two practices in May.
There's competition at every position on the roster, and anyone who realistically thinks that Manziel doesn't have a chance to win the starting job in September, if he performs well, is being wildly unrealistic. This attitude is fear mongering at it's best.
(That said, the prospect of him being prepared and capable enough to WIN the job later are far different, given how raw Manziel is and how much time he lost in his rookie year developing)
Manziel didn’t become Johnny Football by handing off or flipping the ball 5 yards to a back in the flat.
Interestingly, that's exactly how Tom Brady became "TFB," but sure, there's only one route to NFL success, and it clearly involves throwing the ball 35 times a game.
The Browns are going to mitigate the effect of the quarterback play as much as they are able to, regardless of who is under center. They've said this for two years, and there's little reason to believe that this offensive game plan has anything to do with the differences between the quarterbacks.
The Browns aren’t trying to reinvent Manziel. They are, by all appearances, moving on.
Second day of practice, and my eyes are already crossing when I read a synopsis with this brand of absolute statements. It's going to be a long off-season.
The only day media were allowed in to view one of the three OTA practices, Manziel looked unchanged from his rookie year. He was not assertive with knowing where to go with the ball and ran too much for an OTA practice.
Manziel started for only two years in college, and (admittedly) did not grow in his rookie season like the Browns would have expected. He's still very raw and is adjusting to becoming an NFL quarterback. He's only had 2 months (and change) to absorb a new playbook, and he'll continue to be very raw in the process. It's difficult in this age of instant gratification to avoid sweeping conclusions from these practices, but understand that Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine have a much longer view about what it will take to get Manziel to a point where they are prepared to start him in games that matter.
It’s probably understandable, considering what he’s been through in the offseason, a battle with something that defeated him.
This is the pièce de résistance of the entire piece. Not only does this comment clash wildly with the comments from the team about how hard Manziel has worked, but it's also an insult to those who have battled personal demons. The public doesn't know the details about what Manziel has struggled with and eventually committed himself to rehab over. Claiming that the issue "defeated" him is an insult to all those who have sought help for addiction or mental illness. Manziel may never succeed as an NFL quarterback, but do not assume that his struggles to develop are because he was "defeated" by personal battles. The reality is that a successful stint in rehab is a success, even if it doesn't translate into capability in a chosen career.
Browns fans face a summer of conjecture and bold, sweeping declarations. It's difficult to maintain perspective, but I challenge the public to wait before jumping to conclusions; the offense was considered dead on arrival last August, and proceeded to carry the Browns to a 7-4 start behind marginal QB play. The team has improved and gotten dramatically healthier on that side of the football, and the hyperbole can wait for actual games.