Browns GM Ray Farmer believes rookie Johnny Manziel is ready to compete for the starting quarterback job.
BEREA, Ohio -- When Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel reported early with the other first-year players two weeks ago, the man who drafted him, general manager Ray Farmer, saw a player ready to compete for the starting job under center.
And Farmer said he would not "be surprised" should Manziel beat out incumbent starter Brian Hoyer for the No. 1 spot, which the rookie could do with a strong performance in practice after being promoted to the first-team offense Monday.
"I don't think I'd be surprised, shocked about anything," Farmer said. "The thing we're focused on now is driving competition, and so, Brian will have to play. Johnny will have to play. Tyler (Thigpen) will have to play, and Connor (Shaw) will have to play. Our goal is to try to promote the best environment for those guys to compete and demonstrate what their skill level is.
"I've seen a young man that came back, that appears to be prepared for competition and I think that's what we want. Guys that took the time to come back and demonstrate that they're ready to compete to be starters in this league. Everybody here wants to play. Anytime you're on the football team, you want to play. You want to play as much as you can, so we'll see that in the building. He's putting forth the work to try to be the starter."
Prior to returning for the starting of training camp, and even during weekend breaks from the offseason program, Manziel made headlines for partying in Las Vegas, as well as other parts of the country.
Upon returning to Cleveland, Manziel had a meeting with Farmer, as well as first-year head coach Mike Pettine, regarding his off-the-field actions.
"Like Johnny said, like Jimmy Haslam said, like Pet has said, he's made his mistakes and that's that," Farmer said. "Our focus now is what happens on the field. He's focused. He's committed on football. He's doing his thing here in the building, and we're excited about where he's at at the moment.
"I will tell you that before the draft, there were numerous conversations with people in the building, people outside the building, people including Johnny himself, but all those conversations culminated in obviously we had a comfort level when we drafted him. If we thought that was an excessive nature of what it was going to be, then, we would've never picked him."
Despite the off-the-field antics, Farmer believes Manziel "shows up fine" when he is on the field.
"You watch him in practice, you watch him do what he does, the interesting part of it is that most people fall in love with the highlights because that's what gets portrayed," Farmer said. "Nobody really pays attention to the routine throw, but he's made routine throws. He made routine throws at Texas A&M. He's made routine throws out here, so from our perspective, we really like the idea that he can grow into all of the things we're going to expect him to do."