Johnny Manziel played in five games this past season. He threw 35 passes, completed 18 of them for 175 yards, didn’t throw a single touchdown pass and had two picks. He also rushed nine times for 29 yards and a score.
Never before has a player with those stats been talked about so much.
“I think . . . everything about my boy Johnny is overblown,” Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden said on Tiki and Tierney. “I think he’s a young quarterback, a young rookie, and I think he still has a little bit of growing up to do. But that’s everybody. I think the one thing (about) the quarterback position . . . is . . . you got to be first one in (and the) last one out. You got to know everything. You really legitimately have to be a coach on the field.
“I think he’s realized it now, but it’s completely different from college. Just the accountability and how much time it takes to understand the offense and get the grasp. You got to know what you’re doing. You got to know what everybody’s doing. You got to know the checks and (be) able to get your line right and (be) able to get your receivers on the hot routes and everything.
“Just coming from college, it’s a lot more responsibility and a whole lot more is going to be on his plate. He got to start the last couple of games, but going into this offseason, I think he knows what he has to do.”
Haden was asked whether anyone is mentoring Manziel.
“I talk to him, but for me being a DB, I’m in and I’m out,” Haden said. “I know what I got to do. I got man-to-man every play. I try to tell him, ‘You got to be in there. You got to be in the books.’ But I feel like I was the one trying to tell him what’s going on.”
The Browns started 7-4 this past year before closing the season on a five-game losing streak. Cleveland – both the team and the city – was ecstatic to start so well, but injuries, suspensions and poor play down the stretch were too much to overcome.
“The city was crazy,” Haden said, referring to the Browns’ fast start. “They just want a winner so bad. When we started out that good, it was positive. Everybody around the city was very, very excited. But being plagued by injuries – Alex Mack going down, losing Karlos Dansby – we were just plagued by injuries. But we have a solid team. We’re going in the right direction. Coach Pettine is a great coach. I’m so happy that we got him in here.”
The Browns’ 7-9 finish was their best since 2007 (10-6).
“We’re just trying to turn it around,” Haden said. “We really want to get that ‘Same old Browns’ thing out of there. We were 7-9. That’s the most wins we’ve had since I’ve been here. I can feel the change. When we were 7-4, it felt different. I feel like we got something special at least growing.”
Unfortunately for the Browns, star receiver Josh Gordon could face a one-year suspension after testing positive for alcohol.
“It’s unfortunate,” Haden said. “I really don’t know the details of the situation. I haven’t been able to talk to Josh yet. When I figure out more about it, I’ll definitely be able to speak more on it.”