If there is one player that has gotten an inordinate amount of focus in the offseaon and the preseaon it is Cleveland Browns rookie QB Johnny Manziel.
Right from the moment that the Browns selected Manziel with the 22nd pick of the 2014 draft the former Texas A&M signal caller has been the media's favour topic.
Just as Manziel's profile rises in the media in NFL analyst circles opinions on Manziel have been dropping. Where once people lauded his talent and playmaking ability analysts are now looking at Brian Hoyer and seeing the better player. A player that will likely be the Browns week one starter.
Hoyer Consensus Starter
If you listen to them speak a Hoyer start in week one comes across as written in stone and patently obvious. The thing is though it isn't. For a whole plethora of reasons the chances are that Manziel will start week one ahead of Hoyer.
Lets start with the most obvious of reasons. Manziel is a much better football player than Hoyer. Hoyer is a decent backup QB but nothing more.
In Hoyers NFL career he has played a total of 18 games in five NFL seasons in spells with four different teams. Three of these seasons were as Tom Brady's backup in New England. The rest were spent with the Arizona Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Steelers and finally the Browns.
In these six seasons Hoyer has made less than 200 passing attempts and thrown for only just over 1,200 yards. In the long term he is not a starting quality NFL QB and no team has ever thought he was.
Before tearing his ACL last season Hoyer had however led the Browns to three games and three wins. This record is a key part of the idea that Hoyer is going to start in week
one. The thing is though Hoyer wasn't that impressive even as he achieved these victories. Ex-Head Coach Rob Chudzinski made it clear that Hoyer wasn't the starter and the QB position was a “week to week” competition.
Manziel Star Power
Manziel by contrast is a Heismann Trophy winning QB who threw for over 4000 yards in 2013 and rushed for over 750 more. He is incomparably a better football player than Hoyer.
Now the second argument in favor of Hoyer is that the NFL likes to give rookie quarterbacks the opportunity to learn the playbook behind an experienced pro. Whilst
this may have been true at one point in the NFLs history it is no longer the case now. Rookie quarterbacks are regularly thrown into leading the offense in week one. In recent years Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, RG III and EJ Manuel amongst others have started week one.
Furthermore, the situation in Cleveland is ideal for a rookie QB. With Josh Gordan injured and an otherwise less that impressive wide receiver corp the Browns will likely be a run heavy offense. If the QB just needs to hand off the ball to the running back there is little advantage to be gained from dropping Manziel. Especially, when his playmaking ability could make the pass plays the Browns do run so much better.
Finally, Manziel will start week one for one of the same reasons he was drafted. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam wants to generate some excitement about a Browns franchise that has for long been an after thought in the NFL.
So take all the praise of Brian Hoyer and the denigration of Johnny Manziel with a pinch of salt. By the time week one gets here Manziel will be the Browns starting QB and no
one will have thought it was ever going to be any other way.