The No. 22 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft has plenty of hype surrounding him due to his fantastic collegiate career. That also means every single move he makes is placed under the microscope—much more so than with any other player on the Browns' roster.
That became abundantly clear Thursday when it was reported by ESPN's Chris Mortensen that Johnny Football was a few minutes late to a meeting.
Some other rookies were also late due to a miscommunication in terms of the scheduling, but Manziel's name is the only one that surfaced.
Being late to a meeting is obviously unacceptable, but it shouldn't be a deciding factor in whether or not Manziel unseats Brian Hoyer. Manziel clearly feels bad about the situation and has already tried to make amends, according to NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala:
And here we go. First in 11-on-11 drills today in Berea is... Johnny Manziel.— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) August 15, 2014
When push comes to shove, this competition should be about picking the quarterback who gives Cleveland the best chance to win. If that guy is Manziel, then punishing him for being tardy to a minor meeting would be ludicrous.
Browns head coach Mike Pettine hasn't publicly commented on the Manziel situation, and according to Kinkwabhala, he claims that the quarterback competition is still wide open:
Mike Pettine on QBs: "All of our options are still on the table."— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) August 15, 2014
That could be nothing more than coach speak, but NFL Network's Ian Rapoport is reporting that Manziel and Hoyer will be given equal opportunities to earn the starting job during Monday night's preseason game against the Washington Redskins:
How will Brian Hoyer & Johnny Manziel split reps in #Browns preseason game 2? They'll alternate every 2 series with the 1st team, I'm told— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 14, 2014
Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com writes that the coaching staff could name a starter as early as Tuesday after Manziel and Hoyer get a chance to show what they can do.
Should being late to a meeting impact Manziel's starting chances?
"I'm sure we'll sit down at some point next week, maybe more than likely later in the day on Tuesday and get our heads together and see what we come up with," Pettine said.
Hoyer seemingly entered training camp with the advantage as the veteran incumbent. Based on their individual performances in the preseason opener, though, Manziel may have closed the gap or perhaps even taken the lead.
The Texas A&M product completed seven of his 11 attempts for 63 yards and added another 27 yards rushing. Meanwhile, Hoyer connected on fewer than half of his passes.
If Pettine is looking for a reason to make Hoyer the starter, however, he may feel like he has it in the wake of Manziel being late for the meeting.
ESPN's Skip Bayless is among those who believe the Browns may not be fully committed to Manziel as their quarterback:
I wish Johnny Manziel were with a team whose entire coaching and management staff really, really wanted him. Not the case in Cleveland.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) August 15, 2014
Making the choice based on one moment would be a disservice to the team and its fans. Pettine will never come out and say that Manziel being late is a factor, but if Hoyer wins the job and Manziel doesn't play poorly Monday, then one can safely assume that it mattered.
Manziel will become more responsible and accountable as he gains experience in the league.
Some might argue that the need for growth means he isn't ready to be a starter. Young quarterbacks learn on the job within the NFL's current landscape, though, and Manziel should be no different.
Johnny Football has proven to be the Browns' best option at quarterback on the field, and that is the only thing that should matter.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.