Manziel, who has only seen limited playing time this season before being placed on the injured reserve, thinks the team would be wrong to move on from him after such a small sample of snaps.
“I don’t think it would be fair to give up on somebody after seven quarters of football,” said Manziel. “If that’s what they were in the business for and what they intended on me coming in here doing — just giving him seven quarters, giving him a couple of games and then looking somewhere else — I don’t think that’s a lot of commitment and sticking with somebody.”
Manziel struggled in his limited playing time, but spoke about the process of learning how to play in the NFL. He does not believe he has had enough opportunity to be evaluated at the professional level.
“If that’s what they think is enough to evaluate a quarterback, then that’s really up to them, but I’m going into this offseason working extremely hard and wanting to be the guy next year,” said Manziel. “If that’s not the case, then obviously we’ll see down the road, but that’s my mindset going into it and I’m 100-percent sticking with it.”
Florio writes that this idea is not totally accurate, as Manziel had plenty of time during the offseason, training camp, and preseason to compete for the starting job, and failed to take advantage of those opportunities. He also notes that the injury Manziel suffered against the Panthers only magnifies concerns about his ability to stay healthy in the league.
Here are some other notes about Manziel and the team’s other first round pick:
- Head coach Mike Pettine responded to the idea that the organization had already written off Manziel, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (via Twitter). Pettine agrees that it would be unfair to think the book is closed on Manziel after just one season where he did not even get to play two full games.
- Manziel isn’t the only rookie who has drawn the ire of the organization, as Justin Gilbert failed to live up to expectations after being drafted eighth overall in 2014. Browns’ safety Donte Whitner was critical of his season, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. “It’s time to grow up and not be a kid anymore. It’s a wasted year for him,” Whitner said. “There were so many ups, so many downs — a lot of it has been brought on by himself.”
- Whitner was not the only teammate of Gilbert’s who was critical of him after one season. Karlos Dansby agreed that both Gilbert and Manziel wasted a year of their career, writes Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland.com. “When you’re a first-round pick, you’ve got to c’mon, man” said Dansby. “They’ve got to reset their goals and they’ve got to do it fast,” said Dansby. “There’s so much (Gilbert) could’ve done better and he didn’t put forth the effort. So yeah, it’s a wasted year.”
- Still, Pettine is not ready to label Gilbert as a bust either, reports Cabot. “Are we ready to write both of those players off as busts because they didn’t produce as rookies?” Pettine said. “I’m not anywhere near that point. That’s just a knee-jerk. Some rookies come in and play right away. Others it takes some time.”