As if the Cleveland Browns didn’t face a big enough challenge as they try to rebound from last year’s 0-16 season, now they’ll face the Hard Knocks Effect, which may be on the way to replacing the Sports Illustrated Jinx in the NFL.
Cleveland has won one game since Jackson’s arrival in 2016 with a quarterback carousel that has become comical. We can already picture how the first episode will begin — with slow-motion shots of Jackson’s impending leap into Lake Erie (scheduled for June 1) to make good on a promise that he’d dunk himself should the team fail to improve on its 1-15 showing in 2016.
And go ahead and toss in some dramatic b-roll from the January parade in which approximately 3,000 Browns fans “celebrated” the 0-16 season. There will be shots of fans wearing bags over their heads and scenes from the draft party — Cleveland’s version of the Super Bowl — celebrating Mayfield’s arrival.
“Good QBs are hard to find.” Still, a handful of NFL evaluators polled by Yahoo Sports agreed that even if Manziel initially wins the starting job for Hamilton — which is no sure thing, as the presumptive No. 1 quarterback, Jeremiah Masoli, started 12 of 18 games there last year — he will likely need to have at least one, realistically two, productive and drama-free seasons in the CFL before an NFL team feels comfortable bringing him in.
“He probably needs a few years of good football, combined with zero off-field issues,” one decision-maker said. “He needs to show that he is committed, and a changed person,” another added. “Go play in Canada and show you can play,” one league source said, who also wondered if Manziel’s pride would allow him to put in the necessary work to improve. And therein lies the rub.
“Last year I let everything get to me.” Ross said, via the team’s website. “I let my injury get to me. I was trying to do more than I could. I was out of shape. I’m not trying to make excuses, but its real life things. You can’t just come in the NFL and be that guy. You have to come in and prepare. I’ve learned that. It’s growth and progression from here on.”