Clary: Johnny Manziel Must Be Cleveland Browns Starting Quarterback For Rest Of 2015

Cleveland. AKA, where quarterbacks go to die.

That's the sad, but true, reality of Cleveland Browns football right now. No matter who they try, from Brady Quinn to Brandon Weeden to Johnny Manziel, they just can't seem to find even a resemblance of a long-term solution at football's most crucial position.

However, as it stands right now, there is no excuse for Mike Pettine and his coaching staff to not insert Manziel into the starting lineup for the remainder of the season.

Let's face it: 2015 is pretty much a lost year already, and Manziel is as ready as he's going to get.

In the Browns 31-10 loss to the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football, Manziel showed flashes of the 'Johnny Football' that the sports world came to know and love during his time at Texas A&M.

His final stat line: 15-of-33 pass attempts, 168 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and a 71.3 QB Rating. He also chipped in four rushes for 33 yards.

He didn't play outstanding, but he was solid. Especially in the first half, when he engineered a beautiful 10-play, 92-yard touchdown drive to close out the second quarter.

After one half of play, Manziel had his team within striking distance.

He wasn't perfect, there's no question about that. He missed some open receivers and didn't exactly wow anyone with his running ability, but he didn't look lost like he did in his limited action last year.

The hapless Browns, of course, could not maintain that momentum through the intermission, but that had more to do with the Browns being the Browns than any Manziel mistakes.

On to the next point, which is likely the biggest factor in this entire Cleveland quarterback competition. The Browns are not a good team right now; they are incredible poor, actually.

They have a terrible defense that ranks dead last in the NFL in total defense, a porous offensive line and an uninspiring receiving corps that did nothing to help their quarterback last night.

No offense to Gary Barnidge - he has had a terrific breakout season in his age-30 season - but when he is the best pass-catcher on the team, it's going to be hard for the quarterback to be effective.

Gary Barnidge!!

In other words, the Browns aren't going to be good anytime soon. Probably not next year, and maybe not even the year after that.

So, what does that mean? A lot of high draft picks should be making their way to Cleveland in the near future.

What good is a 36-year-old journeyman going to do you three years down the road? The only reason one would even consider giving the starting gig back to Josh McCown is because of the possibility that he might give them a better chance to win now.


Tom Brady couldn't win with this current group.

It's time to start planning for the future, at least as far as the quarterback position is concerned. If the Browns were willing to use a first round draft pick on Manziel, why not let him start for a few years?

At least let him finish out the season. If he does poorly, maybe you think about drafting a quarterback.

However, what they should do is hand the keys to Johnny for good. After all, the current draft class of quarterbacks is incredibly weak.

Let him get comfortable running an NFL offense. Stockpile some talent around Manziel - ideally a few receiving threats for him to utilize - through the draft and via free agency and trades, and let it go from there.

If after the 2016 season it is clear that Manziel is not an NFL quarterback, then go out and draft a quarterback out of a class that could potentially be more plentiful.

Ultimately, the Browns are likely not going to win many games in 2015 or 2016, regardless of whether Manziel or McCown is under center.

It only makes sense to let the younger guy with more potential get the bulk of the playing time. Manziel is a once-in-a-lifetime talent who possesses the ability to transcend an entire city with his unique skillset, unparalleled improvisation and undeniable starpower.

The only problem is that he is in Cleveland. Where quarterbacks go to die.

It's certainly going to be an uphill battle, but Manziel gives the Browns the best chance to be successful now and in the future, and it would be foolish to keep him on the bench.