Happy Tuesday WFNY!
Why did the Browns even have a QB competition? I found myself thinking about that question this morning. Perhaps a good deal of it is hindsight, in having seen a couple of preseason games now, but Johnny Manziel doesn’t look like a QB who is ready for the NFL right now.
Which of course doesn’t mean he won’t eventually be ready. Or that he won’t eventually be a star for his on-field performance and not just his off-field antics. But when the Cleveland Browns selected Manziel in the draft, why did that entitle him to compete for the starting job day one?
It’s not even that Brian Hoyer is an established starting NFL quarterback. He is anything but that, with only three career starts to his name. But Hoyer has been around the NFL for a few years. He’s at least used to the speed of the game, the routine of weekly preparation, and understanding what needs to go into pre-snap reads at this level.
I think above anything else this morning, I find myself mostly disappointed in how poorly Hoyer has looked this preseason. I’m disheartened in general with the offense. But last season, in his limited sample size, Hoyer at least made good, decisive reads and got the ball out of the pocket in a timely manner and showed pretty decent accuracy. So far this preseason, he has looked so much more unsure of himself. It seems, from the outside looking in, like the competition with Manziel has really affected Hoyer. I know a lot of people wanted Manziel to be the starter, but I wanted Hoyer to grab ahold of the starting job and hang onto it for most, if not all, of this season. Unfortunately for both Hoyer and the Browns, that hasn’t happened at all.
The problem the Browns face is that neither guy looks like they’re ready for Week One. I’ve felt all along that a tie between the two QBs would go to Hoyer. Some of the things I’ve seen and heard over the last few weeks had me questioning that. I’ve felt recently like the Browns were giving Manziel every chance to just take the job. But he’s fallen short, too. So now, who’s the starter? Now I’m leaning toward Hoyer getting the nod. Hopefully that would clear his head and allow him to get back to playing at least at an average level like he was last season. If he doesn’t break out of this funk, though, I think his tenure as starting QB will be a short one and we’ll be seeing Johnny Football before we know it. For better or worse.
A bad night for Ohio QBs
As though sitting through a penalty-riddled preseason game in which your team’s two best hopes at QB completely falter isn’t bad enough, during the game we also got word that Ohio State QB Braxton Miller hurt his already ailing shoulder in practice last evening. Braxton initially hurt his shoulder in the Orange Bowl against Clemson last year, requiring him to have off season surgery. Unfortunately, the repaired shoulder was still bothering Braxton all summer and after throwing a downfield pass in a 7-on-7 drill, the shoulder finally gave out.
This is the ultimate gut punch for the Buckeyes who, with an incredibly weak schedule, were eyeing a run at the new NCAA playoff. Barring a Friday Night Lights-esque miracle run, those hopes are now shattered. JT Barrett will now have to do his best to channel his inner Matt Saracen and lead a team shaken to their core over the loss of the two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year (an award only Braxton and Purdue’s Drew Brees have won multiple times).
Speaking purely as a fan, this is one of toughest things to happen to Ohio State in my lifetime. It really feels like the season is over before it even started. If something like this had to happen, you wish it could have happened last season when Kenny Guiton was still around to take over. This is nothing against JT Barrett (or Cardale Jones, should he wind up the starter at some point this season), but Guiton was incredibly experienced and had a phenomenal grasp on the offense. I don’t know what happens now, but with Carlos Hyde in the NFL and Braxton sidelined, the Buckeyes have to replace like 99% of their offense from last season (that percentage is not the real one, just an exaggeration). There will be growing pains with a Freshman QB. We saw it with Terrelle Pryor and Braxton Miller, and I fully expect we’ll see it with JT Barrett.
The good thing for OSU fans is that thanks to parity-less Big Ten conference, the Buckeyes will still be favored in most of their games and they should have enough talent from top to bottom to win a bunch of games and to go to a bowl game. It’s just a bitter pill when this season had higher hopes. Unless Barrett is better than anyone could imagine, the dream of an undefeated season sure feels like it’s now over.
The most overrated Cavalier?
As always, I feel the need to preface this by saying that I’m glad the Cavaliers signed Shawn Marion. I think he can possibly help this season. However, after reading a few reaction pieces, some of which were particularly inaccurate (Marion a career 49% shooter from three? I think not. Try 33%), I feel like we need to slow down a little bit with Marion.
We saw a similar thing happen last year with Jarrett Jack. Now, Marion is a much better player than Jack, so it’s not apples to apples, but last year the Jack signing was so overhyped by Cavs fans, including yours truly (although I did at least recognize before the season that we were over-hyping him). I hope fans can keep expectations with Marion somewhat tempered.
Marion fits an obvious need for the Cavaliers with his ability to defend wings and to fit in small lineups for the Cavs. He’s been a fairly durable, steady, reliable player for a long time. But that last part is the kicker. For a long time. He’s been around the block a few times and has logged a lot of career minutes.
Marion wasn’t brought here to be a shooter, although he has actually improved his three-point shooting in each of the last three seasons. Instead, he’s always been a guy capable of scoring without being the focal point of an offense, which is ideal in Cleveland. He brings playoff experience and veteran leadership. It’s a good signing for the Cavaliers. But at 35 years old, I just want Cavs fans to be aware that this is not the same Shawn Marion you remember from his days with the “Seven Seconds or Less” Phoenix Suns.
New music Tuesday
Finally, we end this WWW as we do every Tuesday with my selection for best new album of the week.
My choice this week is a no-brainer and one of my more anticipated albums of the month: Benjamin Booker’s self-titled debut album. Booker is a New Orleans-based blues/soul/rock musician.
Modern blues music is a funny thing. For a while, it felt like blues music was a dying art form. When I was in high school, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Johnny Lang were a couple younger musicians playing some decent blues music, but it’s just been hard for me to find blue artists that I can connect with.
Enter Benjamin Booker. His intensity and fire on stage, in his vocal delivery, and in his frantic guitar playing is everything I’ve been looking for in this kind of music. He brings almost a punk rock edge to his New Orleans-style blues.
The whole album is really, really good for people who enjoy an eclectic brand of music that brings in a multitude of styles and genres and blends them seamlessly.
That’s all I have this week. Hope everyone enjoys the rest of their week!