Johnny Manziel Starting over Brian Hoyer Would Give Browns Best Shot at Winning

Andrew Tornetta@AndrewTornettaCorrespondent IIMay 22, 2014

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 08:  Johnny Manziel of the Texas A&M Aggies poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was picked #22 overall by the Cleveland Browns during the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on May 8, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

If the Cleveland Browns' primary goal for the 2014 NFL season is to win as many games as possible, then it should be Johnny Manziel—not Brian Hoyerstarting opening day.

This seems like a no-brainer to some, but since drafting him, the Browns have done virtually everything they can to make Manziel feel like a backup quarterback. 

According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Browns general manager Ray Farmer said Wednesday that Hoyer is the better quarterback "by a substantial margin."

Cabot also reported that Manziel has been told by different members of the Browns coaching staff and front office that he is the backup quarterback.

Cleveland is showing why they haven't been to the playoffs in over a decade and haven't won a playoff game since Manziel was just two years old—complete incompetence when it comes to handling the quarterback position.

For the first time since Bernie Kosar, the Browns have a quarterback capable of consistently winning games on Sundays.

However, instead of rallying behind Manziel, they are relegating him to clipboard duty and making him practice with the third-team offense.

May 21, 2014; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel looks to pass during mini camp at Cleveland Browns practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Instead of letting the future start now, they are giving the keys to Hoyera career backup that has started four games over five seasons, completing 59.4 percent of his passes for seven touchdowns and six interceptions.

This isn't to say that Manziel is a perfect quarterback.

He relies on his legs far too often and prefers to scramble instead of standing tall in the pocket when pressure comes.

He also has a tendency of being too reckless, throwing too many 50-50 balls that won't have the same success in the NFL as they had in college.

This miraculous play against Alabama is a great example of that gunslinger mentality that he plays with:

Even with these faults, Manziel has proven throughout his college career at Texas A&M that he has what it takes to succeed. 

In just two seasons, the former Heisman Trophy winner put his name all over the NCAA record books.

In 26 games, Manziel threw for 7,820 yards, 63 touchdowns and 22 interceptions while also rushing for 2,169 yards and 30 touchdowns. 

If the 2012 draft class proved anything, it's that there is nothing more effective at developing a young quarterback than letting him learn from his mistakes on the field in game action.

2012 Quarterback Class
PlayerYear 1Year 2
Andrew Luck4374 yds, 23 TD, 18 INT, 54.1 cmp %, 76.5 QB Rat.3822 yds, 23 TD, 9 INT, 60.2 cmp %, 87 QB Rat.
Russell Wilson3118 yds, 26 TD, 10 INT, 64.1 cmp %, 100 QB Rat.3357 yds, 26 TD, 9 INT, 63.1 cmp %, 101.2 QB Rat.
Ryan Tannehill3294 yds, 12 TD, 13 INT, 58.3 cmp %, 76.1 QB Rat.3913 yds, 24 TD, 17 INT, 60.4 cmp %, 81.7 QB Rat.
Robert Griffin III3200 yds, 20 TD, 5 INT, 65.6 cmp %, 102.5 QB Rat.3203 yds, 16 TD, 12 INT, 60.1 cmp %, 82.2 QB Rat.

Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill and Russell Wilson each took their lumps as rookies and came back stronger and played better in year two, with an improved team result as well.

Robert Griffin III took a step back in his second year, although his injury was likely the main cause of that.

If Manziel is the player the Browns hope he can be, keeping him on the bench is only delaying his development.

Instead, let him work through his weaknesses on game day and prepare him on what it takes to succeed at the NFL level.

Starting Manziel is the best decision for the Browns success as a franchise, both for 2014 and beyond.