Johnny Manziel is making a name for himself in the NFL. It’s just for all the wrong reason.
Manziel, the Cleveland Browns quarterback, made an obscene gesture toward the Washington bench in Monday’s 24-23 loss that did little to make coach Mike Pettine’s decision any easier when it comes to selecting a week one starter.
If the choice is based solely on numbers, there’s not much either Manziel or Brian Hoyer did to show he deserves the job. If it’s based on composure, Manziel’s obscene gesture lost him some ground to the nondescript sixth-year veteran.
“It does not sit well,” Pettine said. “It’s disappointing, because what we talk about is being poised and being focused. … That’s a big part of all football players, especially the quarterback.”
Manziel called the moment a “lapse of judgment.” Teammate Joe Haden said opposition fans and players were giving “Johnny Football” plenty of unprintable verbal grief for the second straight week. Manziel was openly mocked by Brian Orakpo when the Washington linebacker raised both hands and performed the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner’s “money” gesture after a sack by Ryan Kerrigan in the first quarter.
“I get words exchanged throughout the entirety of the game, every game, week after week, and I should’ve been smarter,” Manziel said. “It was a ‘Monday Night Football’ game and cameras were probably solid on me, and I just need to be smarter about that. … It’s there, and it’s present every game, and I just need to let it slide off my back and go to the next play.”
USA Today’s For The Win has a GIF of the Manziel’s obscene gesture.
Manziel, the No. 22 overall pick in the draft, was seven for 16 for 65 yards and a touchdown. Of his series early in the game, he said: “I really tried to force everything and not let it fly like I should have. I need to get better at that and throw the dang ball.”
Those stats, as mediocre as they are, were padded by series against Washington’s backups. In the first quarter — when Washington’s starters were in the game — Manziel was two for seven for 29 yards, while Hoyer was zero for two.