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Super Bowl 50

Sun, Feb 7, 2016

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Browns' Nate Burleson: Johnny Manziel is 'still the man'

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Johnny Manziel might've lost the battle to be starting quarterback against Brian Hoyer, relegating him to No. 2 on the Browns depth chart.

But the flashy rookie is still No. 1 in Nate Burleson's heart.

"I'll just say this, Johnny's still the man," Burleson said, via Mary Kat Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. "He's still a really good quarterback. He's an NFL-quality starting quarterback. Johnny will be successful in this league."

We tend to agree with Burleson here: lost in all the drama about who's going to get crushed by Dick LeBeau Week 1 in Pittsburgh is the possibility of Manziel, you know, succeeding.

But we might not go as far as Burleson, who called Manziel "arguably the best No. 2 [quarterback] in the NFL."

"We've got really two quarterbacks that are good, and I've been saying that since we first got to camp," Burleson said. "Regardless of who was named the starter week one, I feel like we were going to be winners. I say that selfishly speaking as a receiver, I get to benefit from that. I caught balls, touchdowns in 1-on-1s, made plays from both quarterbacks. So for me, I was straddling the fence between the two.

"They've both got their qualities, their different in ways, but I like the way Brian has commanded the leadership of this team and grabbed ahold of the playbook. But Johnny being the No. 2 as you want to call it, we got arguably the best No. 2 in the NFL. I'm OK with that."

Nate Burleson says Johnny Manziel is 'still the man.'
Nate Burleson says Johnny Manziel is 'still the man.' (USATSI)

There's probably some in-depth-ish argument about Manziel not being the best backup quarterback in the NFL (Michael Vick would probably like a word and Shaun Hill of the Rams is a sneaky pick).

But the point here isn't to argue about backups. The point here is to note Burleson, a new guy on the team but also a veteran, really likes the rookie quarterback and believes he's "still the man."

All of that means Manziel hasn't "lost the locker room" with his "bad behavior" and "single digit salutes" or whatever.

As a result, there will be plenty of support for the rook when he finally steps under center in Week 5.

Photo: Johnny Clipboard shirts have landed

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