The Cleveland Browns have a new coach

Posted Jan 14, 2016

Is the Johnny Manziel era already over in Cleveland? The Browns acted decisively to make Hue Jackson their new head coach on Wednesday, persuading him to stay and sign for them before he had the chance to hop on a plane to New York for a scheduled interview with the Giants.

The appointment was a popular one in Cleveland. Jackson, who was an assistant with the London Monarchs back in the early 1990s, has lately built himself a reputation as one of the sharper offensive co-ordinators in the league. Most notably, he has been credited as the man who helped Andy Dalton to make good on his potential.

But if anyone thought that he might be able to do a similar job with Johnny Football, then the early indications are that they might be disappointed. Jackson did not explicitly rule anything out at his introductory press conferences, saying that he needed to evaluate Manziel just as he did the rest of his roster, but reporters from a variety of different outlets concluded that the team would most likely be moving on.

“Jackson didn't really want to talk about Manziel,” noted the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Terry Pluto. “He mentioned the need to watch film, etc … That said, I'd be stunned if Jackson decided to hook his future to Manziel. He did talk about getting to know the 2016 quarterback class. The Browns have the second and 32nd picks. Odds are that Jackson would like to hand pick a quarterback and develop him.”

The same sentiment was expressed more firmly by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who tweeted: “The Hue Jackson Era in Cleveland will trigger the end of Johnny Manziel and the #Browns. Expect the new coach to move on from the QB.”

And if he does, then what happens next for Manziel? You would expect a player selected in the first round two years ago to have plenty of suitors, but ESPN’s survey of its 32 NFL Nation writers suggested otherwise. Each was asked to rate the likely interest of the team that they cover in pursuing Manziel. All but one of them answered that it would be ‘low’.

The only exception was the Rams, for whom Nick Wagoner said that the interest could be ‘medium’. “Before the 2014 NFL draft, the Rams made no secret of their interest in Manziel, working him out privately and even discussing trading back into the first round to acquire him before he went to Cleveland,” wrote Wagoner. “Even in the past month, coach Jeff Fisher said he still thinks highly of Manziel's potential.

“By the numbers, the Rams had the worst quarterback production in the NFL in 2015. Their hope that Nick Foles would develop into the franchise quarterback for the long term backfired and he was benched despite signing a short contract extension before ever playing in a game for the team … The need is there. The Rams like Manziel and they haven't hesitated to take chances on troubled players in the past.

“The only reason their interest in him isn't a high instead of medium is that it's fair to wonder if the potential headache Manziel brings to a team that's already transitioning to a new city would be too much of a risk.”

Johnny Manziel in the City of Angels? What could possibly go wrong?

Three more things you might have missed

- Chris Long appearing on a local newscast whilst attempting to buy lottery tickets incognito might just make your day.

- What would Aaron Rodgers have bought if he won the $1.5bn jackpot? An NHL team, apparently.

- On Tuesday, Bill Belichick showed up for his press conference with a black eye. A day later, after declining to discuss the circumstances surrounding his injury, he walked through the locker room holding boxing gloves.

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