Wednesday Morning QB (NFL Week 15)

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Well the honeymoon phase is over in Cleveland after Johnny Manziel got his first start for the Browns in Week 15. There had been plenty of build up after Manziel dropped to 23 in the 2014 draft despite his great playmaking ability in college. He was not considered the most pro-ready quarterback in the draft though. His size scared many and his multiple issues off of the field made a lot of teams pass on him. As he watched the teams go by it seemed as though it would be a repeat of Aaron Rodgers on draft day, a painful measure in watching a player sit in the blue room waiting for his name to be called. That is exactly what happened as Manziel dropped far beyond what many people thought he would. Seeing an opportunity to build quickly the Cleveland Browns traded into the first round for a second pick, they chose cornerback Justin Gilbert with their first pick. With a big job to get done in Cleveland the Browns thought that Manziel could be their QB of the future. Withy Brian Hoyer carrying the Browns to a good end to the 2013 season he came into the season as the starter but he was not the most convincing starter. He showed why many were not convinced that he could be a true NFL starter as he struggled to get the Browns offence in gear. He started out the season well enough as he led the Browns to first place in the AFC North. Then it all started to fall apart as the offence struggled and Hoyer began to turn the ball over too much. That prompted the questions over whether the Browns should start his first NFL game or the Browns should ride Hoyer until the end of the season. Week 14 was the last straw as the defence did everything they could to win the game but the offence could not get the two points more than the Colts that they needed. As Week 15 approached the Browns announced that Manziel would be the starter for their game against the Bengals, a game that would go a long way to helping the Browns to the playoffs. The debate began immediately as to whether the young QB known as Johnny Football was going to take this chance and become the new starter for the Browns. The majority of the analysts from around the league were hopeful for his debut believing that his playmaking ability would carry him through the game. They expected some magic like he had shown at Texas A&M. They were in for a big disappointment though as Manziel’s first game as a starter was simply a disaster. As bad as Hoyer was in the week before Manziel was worse, throwing two interceptions and leading the offence to no points against the Bengals. The game was just not good enough to convince a lot of people that Manziel is the solution at quarterback, some even going as far to say that whoever drafted him should be fired. That is the new NFL though, anyone and everyone wants instant results. They see the success of young QBs and instantly want their own young QB to help turn a franchise around. That would be a massive mistake for almost every team in the NFL. The loss against the Bengals was not entirely Manziel’s fault, he certainly didn’t help though, as he was running for his life the entire time. It’s hard to get comfortable in a pocket when the pressure gets there in no time. That is the lesson that teams should learn, including the browns. No matter how good a young quarterback may be there is no chance of that QB leading your team to a turnaround with no team around him. In fact throwing a young QB into the fire with an offence that cannot support him is sure to lead to disaster. If a QB is not going to come into a team with players around him that QB needs to be able to sit and learn from a quarterback in front of him. One only needs to look at the Green Bay Packers who forced Aaron Rodgers to sit behind Brett Favre until they believed he was ready to become the starter. Now Rodgers is considered one of the best, if not the best, quarterback in the NFL. It makes little sense to think that throwing a quarterback into the fire is the best way to get results. There are the Andrew Lucks of the NFL who can come in and make an impact immediately, although he had a team to play. The experiment of Manziel is not going well and after throwing him into the fire so soon it may never go well as the Browns may have missed the mark on Johnny Football.

Fifth Quarter:
(Thoughts on Week 15 in the NFL)

The friendly approach
AS Manziel struggled another young QB made news for his unique “trash talking” as Andrew Luck has become known for congratulating anyone who hits or sacks him rather than the traditional trash talking

Cowboys Hopes Crumble?
Despite the Cowboys taking over the division lead they still have a lot of fight to go through to earn a playoff spot and that will be tougher if DeMarco Murray can’t play after having surgery on his hand

Gruden Staying in the Booth
Every coaching job in the NFL has been linked to John Gruden as the former head coach seems like the best option for most teams but he has remained silent until this week when he signed an extension with ESPN to stay in the booth and avoid coaching


Key Scores:
Arizona Cardinals 12 – 6 St. Louis Rams
– It wasn’t pretty but the Cardinals took the win and eventually the division although they did not escape the game without some bad news as backup turned starter Drew Stanton went down with a knee injury putting doubt into their playoff push

Cincinnati Bengals 30 – 0 Cleveland Browns
– It wasn’t a great start to the career of Johnny Manziel who threw two interceptions and could not get anything from the offence after running for his life most of the day putting the Browns’ playoffs hopes in doubt

Buffalo Bills 31 – 21 Green Bay Packers
– After winning five straight games and putting up massive point totals the Packers could not get by the Bills’ defence that forced Aaron Rodgers to throw two interceptions after throwing only three all year as the Bills defence took an important win

Dallas Cowboys 38 – 27 Philadelphia Eagles
– The Eagles took on the Cowboys only a few weeks ago on Thanksgiving Day where the Cowboys looked completely outmatched but this time around they adjusted and took the win as well as the division lead

Next Week:
Green Bay Packers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Sunday December 21st; 1:00 pm ET)
– After a poor showing in Buffalo the Packers stay away from the comforts of Lambeau Field and try to take back the division lead with a win over the struggling Bucs who look to play spoilers and take out one of the best teams in the league

Cleveland Browns vs. Carolina Panthers (Sunday December 21st; 1:00 pm ET)
– The Panthers still have a chance at the playoffs but only by winning the division as they try to get closer to that goal by beating the Browns who one again look to Johnny Football to lead them and improve on his first outing as a starter

Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints (Sunday December 21st; 1:00 pm ET)
– The NFC South is clearly the worst division in the NFL as at the very least a .500 team will win the division but the battle continues as the Saints and Falcons once again fight for division supremacy as the season winds down

Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals (Sunday December 21st; 8:30 pm ET)
– The Cardinals have been one of the best teams all year but now they go into a Sunday night game with their third string QB at the helm as Ryan Lindley tries to finish the season strong against the Seahawks who look to keep their repeat hopes alive and remain in the wild card

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