Let’s stop flipping out about Johnny Manziel flipping people off for a second and consider how he did football-wise yesterday in his second preseason game: 7 of 16 for 65 yards and a touchdown. He ran once, for -1 yards. He was sacked three times.
How about his competitor for the starting job, last year’s sorta-sensation (in that he was decent) Brian Hoyer? Hoyer went 2 of 6 for 16 yards. Sacked once.
Now check out the stat line for third-or-maybe-even-fourth-string-quarterback-depending-on-where-Rex-Grossman-falls, Connor Shaw, an undrafted rookie out of South Carolina (keeping in mind it was against Washington’s third-string defense): 8 of 9 for 123 yards and a touchdown, a last-second Hail Mary that probably could have gone either way:
That’s pretty good. He didn’t convert the two-point conversion, but he made things interesting.
Here’s what else you should know about Shaw: He had a best record as a quarterback in Gamecocks history; he was the MVP of the 2014 Capital One Bowl against Wisconsin; he had the fastest 40-yard-dash time of any QB at the combine — yes, better than Manziel. His biggest knocks are arm strength and durability, though he did come off the bench with a sprained knee to help South Carolina come back from 17 down and beat the fifth-ranked Missouri Tigers last season, so there’s that.
Is the title of Browns QB (and the honor of having your name added to this jersey) now a three-way race? Realistically, Shaw has no shot of unseating either Hoyer or Manziel from the starting job. But while those two had mostly ineffectual nights behind center, Shaw looked composed in the pocket and showed flashes of Manziel-esque mobility when he had to.
Either our expectations for what a Browns QB can do are ridiculously low, or this guy is actually capable of being an NFL player. Let’s all get on the Connor Shaw hype train, if only to make Cleveland’s already circus-like atmosphere even more ridiculous. It’s mid-August — what else is there to do?
By the way, Colt McCoy threw a touchdown for Washington last night, and Robert Griffin III didn’t, so I guess McCoy should get the start over RGIII in Week 1, too.
Photo via Getty