Doug Gottlieb doesn’t know what is more frightening: that Johnny Manziel threw a water bottle at a fan, or that he missed his intended target.
Yes, more Manziel Drama unfolded this past weekend, as the Cleveland Browns quarterback threw a water bottle at a fan who kept heckling him at a golf tournament in Irving, Texas. While the story made headlines across the country – after all, it involves Manziel – what should we make of this incident?
“Non-story story,” CBS NFL writer Will Brinson said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I mean, he’s got to be bigger than that. I am not nearly as famous as Johnny Manziel, but if I’m at a golf tournament and somebody starts smack-talking me, I’m not going to throw my water bottle at them. You just got to say, ‘Ease up, dude’ and walk away. You know who you are. You know you’ve done a great job all offseason Johnny of being quiet, being off of Instagram, being off the radar, rehabilitating your life in multiple ways and trying to move on as a football player. So you don’t want to let something like this pull you back. I feel like he probably did a good job all things considered, the different directions this could have gone. And maybe it seems a little worse on hyped up second- or thirdhand-sourced stories.”
While the episode was indeed embarrassing – and further proof that Manziel still needs to work on his temper and his maturity – the Browns are probably more concerned about his play on the field.
Or are they? Now that the Browns have signed Josh McCown – a perennial game manager – it seems they’re trying to distance themselves from Manziel a bit, no?
“That seems to be the tea leaves that are being offered for reading,” Brinson said, “but they spent a first-round pick on the guy. It wasn’t that long ago that people thought – or he thought – he would quote-unquote wreck this league. And many people believed, myself included, that he would come in and play well as a rookie. I just think that if you’re Cleveland, you look at this Manziel/McCown situation (and) you say, ‘Okay, Josh McCown is not going to win us any football games with his ability as a quarterback, but he can also lose us a lot less football games with his abilities if we can establish a running game with a strong offensive line.’”
Not to mention a strong defense. After all, that is what Mike Pettine is known for.
“They just don’t want somebody who’s going to cost them opportunities to win with stupid turnovers,” Brinson said. “And the reality is that Manziel is essentially operating as a rookie at this point. He’s going to have stupid turnovers. He’s going to make big mistakes when he gets out there because he just hasn’t seen a whole lot of action. His actual rookie season was a disaster as we all know. I think Cleveland is probably smart to say: McCown is our guy. If Johnny Manziel (gives) us anything next year, it’s gravy. But we’re not banking on him coming in and making an impact by any stretch of the imagination.
“If they stink with McCown and they have to go with Manziel, so be it,” Brinson continued. “But by that point, the season is probably already down the toilet anyway.”