It's the time of year for postulation and projection, which means that, for a change, people are talking about the Cleveland Browns.
The moribund franchise that hasn't sniffed the playoffs since 2002, and has failed to even crack six wins in any of the past six seasons, made one of the splashiest picks in the 2014 draft in quarterback Johnny Manziel. Naturally, what people want to know now is, How long until he starts?
The Browns are already doing their damnedest to make sure no 'QB Controversy' talk spills over, with GM Ray Farmer chiming in (see below) as Manziel sits third on the team's depth chart.
People around the league don't expect that to last, but head coach Mike Pettine made it clear to NFL AM on Thursday, that despite his profile and popularity, Manziel won't have anything handed to him.
"[Manziel] will be the first one to tell you that he earned 'Johnny Football' as a college quarterback, and he knows he has to earn it as an NFL quarterback," Pettine said. "We’re not going to let jersey sales determine our depth chart."
That doesn't mean Pettine is in any way closed off to the possibility of Manziel starting:
I'm not adverse to playing a rookie. I've been a part of some of those situations -- whether it's Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez, situations where we had a rookie quarterback and we ended up building a solid team around them and we're able to have success. I'm not going to take a hard line either way. He's going to be part of a competition with Brian Hoyer for that starting job.
He later added that he expects that competition to be heated.
"Predicting their relationship moving forward," he said of his two signal-callers, "I think they'll have a solid working relationship. But I just don't think it'll essentially be a warm and fuzzy one."