Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam told Johnny Manziel after the draft that he needed to "act like a backup" quarterback. Head coach Mike Pettine has said that Manziel would have to earn a starting job as a rookie. But neither man said anything about being a third-stringer.
And yet, there was Manziel, taking third-team reps at OTA practices, according to NFL.com. The pecking order was Brian Hoyer, who is coming off ACL surgery, working with the first team and journeyman Tyler Thigpen with the twos, followed by Manziel and the other quarterbacks, who were left to work with the third-teamers.
What does this mean? Next to nothing. It's May. Training camp isn't for three more months.
Still, Browns GM Ray Farmer appeared on 92.3 FM The Fan in Cleveland and said that Manziel has some progress to make, per host Dustin Fox.
#Browns GM Ray Farmer tells us Brian Hoyer is the better QB 'by a substantial margin' right now over Johnny Manziel.— Dustin Fox (@DustinFox37) May 21, 2014
This all could be as much about figuring out if the team needs Thigpen in camp as it is about knocking Manziel down a few pegs, even if the rookie needs skill sharpening as well as Browns-ordered skin callusing. Yes, the Browns appear to be trying to humble Manziel a bit, or letting him know it's a long way to the top if he wants to rock and roll, but it won't be long before Manziel is competing with Hoyer — we believe — for the Browns' starting gig.
Maybe he'll have to fill up a few Gatorade jugs between now and then, but Manziel can't be held down forever.
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