5 Reasons the Cleveland Browns Should Play Johnny Manziel

Heading into the 2015 NFL Season, there aren’t many expectations for the Cleveland Browns to compete. They surprised the league last year for the first half of the season, but fell back to earth and ended up missing the playoffs once again. Cleveland has quite a few question marks surrounding their roster, and it all starts with the quarterback position.

Johnny Manziel was one of the Browns’ first round picks last season, and there was quite a bit of hype surrounding him potentially being the long-term franchise quarterback that Cleveland has been searching for. Josh McCown was signed this past offseason as a free agent, and is considered the front-runner to start at this point in time due to all of the struggles that Manziel has gone through over the past year.

During his rookie year last season, Manziel struggled mightily when given playing time. He only started two regular season games, but ended up throwing for just 175 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. Manziel did score his first NFL touchdown on a 10-yard run as a backup to Brian Hoyer against the Buffalo Bills.

It would seem to be a shame for the Browns to not give Manziel a second chance. He did check himself into rehab which was an obvious sign that he wants to turn his career around and get rid of his off-the-field issues. Cleveland has nothing to lose by putting him out on the field for the 2015 season either.

What five reasons can be given to support the idea that Manziel should play this year for the Browns?

1. Give the Young Quarterback a Second Chance

While it is very easy for a team to get frustrated with a talented young player that is struggling, the Browns have to give Manziel a second chance this season. There is no question that he came into last year unprepared, but he worked to get his off-the-field issues in check this offseason and still has plenty of talent. Sitting him on the bench for his second season would be a big mistake, and every player deserves a second chance.

2. Nothing to Lose

Some would see this point as the Browns giving up on the season, but it is exactly the opposite of that. McCown may be a decent quarterback, but he doesn’t have anywhere close to the type of talent that it takes to lead a team to the playoffs. Manziel may have his flaws and might look shaky to this point in his career, but he does have the natural playmaking ability that the Browns will need to make any noise in the NFL this season.

3. Don’t Waste a First Round Pick

Giving up on Manziel after his rookie season would be admitting that they completely wasted their first round pick. It is way too early to give up on a player that they knew would be a work in progress when they drafted him. Cleveland has never been known for being all that patient or good at developing young players, but this is one that they can’t afford to mess up.

4. Manziel’s Raw Potential Needs Playing Time to Develop

One of the best ways to develop a young player, is to throw him out on the field and let him play and figure things out. Manziel has been a winner throughout his entire football career, and simply needs to figure out how to adjust his game to the NFL style of play. Playing time is the only way to figure out how to adjust his game, and he desperately needs the Browns’ trust.

5. Hope for the Future

After seeing the poor performance that Manziel put out on the field last season, there isn’t a lot of hope surrounding him from the Browns’ organization. That being said, there can’t be much hope in the 35-year-old McCown either. At least Manziel gives them a chance of being a long-term option, and he certainly has more natural football talent than McCown could ever hope to have at this point in his career.

All of that being said, the Browns and Manziel need to get strapped in for what is expected to be a wild season. It would be wise for the Browns to give him a full season to prove himself rather than starting the veteran. Manziel knows that he won’t get a third chance from the franchise, but the Browns have to give him a fair shot as well.

About Evan Massey

Evan Massey is a sportswriter that has been in the industry for the past six years. He has seen his work featured on Sports Illustrated, Yahoo! Sports, ESPN and Bleacher Report. Known for his work ethic and ability to cover any league and team, Evan is always willing to talk sports with fans and debate any topic. Follow him on Twitter at @Massey_Evan, or email him: emasseysports@gmail.com.