NFL

Real HouseTales of Berea: 5 Stories to Watch for Week 2 of Browns’ OTAs That Aren’t About Johnny Manziel

2.  Where will Cam play?

Let me start by saying I love the Cameron Erving pick.  I think he provides versatile depth and is talented enough to win a starting job this season. The issue at this point is not if he will play, but where?

Cam played both Tackle and center at Florida St. and excelled at both. He has been playing all positions up and down the line so far in camp, except LG which is locked down by Joel Bitonio. I love the idea of training him at every spot. The initial projection has been at RG and RT.

As the incumbent starter at center, Alex Mack is expected to be departing in 2016, everybody assumes Erving is his heir apparent. Yours truly included. However don’t discount the fact that he played LT for most of his collegiate career.  Joe Thomas can’t play forever. Do they start him on the right side and slide him to Center, or do they groom him to take over for the All Pro LT? Will the constant influx of information overwhelm Erving? Mike Pettine has admitted that there is a potential for a drop off if he is forced to learn too much.

This is a team that is obviously based on the success of the big boys in the trenches. Everybody knows it. Where Cam ends up playing is an interesting story to keep your eye on.

1.  Josh McCown is the Guy at QB?!?!

And here we go! I couldn’t avoid it any longer.  My #1 housetale entering week 2 of OTAs does have alot to do with Johnny, but its more about the guy in front of him.  According to sources Josh McCown is currently entrenched as the Day 1 starter for 2015. He’s getting some great reviews!  He is quietly commanding the locker room and mastering the playbook. That sounds great!!! What does that really mean for the Browns and for “you know who”?

After Rookie minicamp everybody was buzzing about how focused and mature Johnny looked.  Now after 3 practices in OTAs it seems as though the Browns are ready to hitch their wagon to Josh McCown indefinitely.  How realistic that is remains to be seen but coaches have made it clear that there is no competition and McCown is the guy for now. I see they want to avoid distraction but it better become a competition soon.

Truthfully, Josh  is a great guy.  He is.  Is he a great QB? The 36 yr old has only 49 career starts and threw more INTs than TDs in 2014. He was hired because he made it known that he was happy to back up, sorry, mentor, Johnny Manziel.  Now he’s the guy? McCown may have command of the offense in May, but come September is he going to prove he can command a franchise?

Maybe, lets take it a step farther. Even if McCown does have his best season ever, does that mean we pass on a top tier QB in the 2016 draft? Of course not. Does it mean Johnny couldn’t beat out an aging veteran and the Browns are will be ready to part ways after just 6 quarters of play? Sounds familiar. Brian Hoyer won 10 of 16 games as a starter.  He was allowed to walk because he wanted to be the starter and his ceiling was below average. So why does it make sense for a backup whose 7 years older?

Listen, I’ve never been the biggest Manziel fan. And his actions off the field have certainly not helped his case. However, he has done what’s been asked of him and he needs to be given a real shot to see what he can do. If you think McCown is going to lead this team to the championships I think you may suffer from Benjamin Button disease and you think time is moving backwards. Nobody knows if Johnny can be a franchise QB, but we do know McCown can’t. Bottom line is if Josh starts every game this year nothing good will come of it. Manziel (or Shaw) has to get a shot at some point. He has not earned the starting job yet and I believe he needs to do that first before he is given anything. That’s all on him.

However, let’s not kid ourselves.  McCown is not going to duplicate his 2013 performance.  If he does then FANTASTIC.  Its simply delaying the inevitable. You know it just as well as I do. Yes, Manziel is a distraction, but the team has handled it very well this offseason. He is not the focal point of the team. I think that will help the young signal caller to focus, in turn, will help him show what he’s got.  I don’t know if that will be good enough but heading into week 2 of OTAs one thing is clear. Manziel needs to prepare like this absolutely is a competition, despite McCown’s opinion because unfortunately, the alternative is McCown.

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