What Could Have Been

May 9th, 2014
Will new Bucs WR Mike Evans make people forget what could have been?

Will new Bucs WR Mike Evans make people forget what could have been?

No, Joe’s not going to write daily Johnny Football stories. He’s gone. He’s in Cleveland now, where quarterbacks go to die.

That said, imagine what could have been. Imagine how the buzz around the Bucs would have exploded like a cannon at the Stadium on Dale Mabry Highway.

Veteran scribe Gary Shelton of the Tampa Bay Times believes the Bucs got their man, and possibly their best pick at No. 7. Still, Shelton couldn’t help but wonder what could have been.

Still, can you imagine the excitement today if the team had picked Manziel. Can you imagine the impact? For heaven’s sake, can you envision the ticket window, which might finally have to open every day?

Granted, Manziel, at just under 6 feet, is a little small, and he’s a little unorthodox. But he has been the finest playmaker in college football over the last two years. Didn’t films of how he shredded Alabama’s defense get to the NFL? Didn’t the scouting reports state that he was usually the best player on the field?

Hey, you can judge by tape measures and stop watches all you want. But Manziel plays for the scoreboard. Your eyes tell you the kid can play.

That’s an interesting point Joe wasn’t thinking about last night because Joe doesn’t give a damn if a seat is empty or not at the stadium. Joe imagines Team Glazer turned pale and broke out into a cold sweat when Bucs coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht passed on Johnny, and Team Glazer envisioned all those upper deck seats instantly empty.

Yes, people like winners and, eventually, tickets will be sold if the team turns things around. But, man, the Bucs had the chance to be bold in their palms, and tossed the chance away.

72 Responses to “What Could Have Been”

  1. Espo Says:

    Please stop. Keep it in the morning cup of Joe if you absolutely must.

  2. Vincente Says:

    The majority of the fans didn’t want manziel. And I don’t bland lovie for not risking his job by drafting this guy. I live last nights pick. It was safe and filled a huge need.

  3. chris Says:

    This is getting ridiculous….

  4. Justin Says:

    Please no more Johnny stories, for the love of God. It’s over, we filled a huge need with the best player available and from what i can tell most fans are stoked to have the twin towers now. It seems the only thing that’ll make you forget about him is winning a Super Bowl this year. You’re the man Joe, but it’s time to let go. (Am i talking football or helping a teenage boy get over his girlfriend dumping him? )

  5. MadMax Says:

    He said can you imagine the excitement and impact of Manzeil….the exact same thoughts dripping from the mouths of D linemen, LB’s, and S/CB’s called on to blitz that little boy!!!!

  6. William Says:

    Nov. 2 @ 1p.m. will be the second roughest day for Joe…

    Bucs @ Cleveland

    Connor Shaw is coming to Tampa

    You guys are ridiculous. –Joe

  7. Eric Says:

    I made it through the first post no Johnny night. Very tough.

    Lovie deserves leeway but I can’t help but feel we’re going to look back on this one day as a humongous blunder.

    And I still can’t fathom winning anything with our current QB of the future.

    We better play some unreal D and special teams.

  8. Rrsrq Says:

    Bucs looking at next years draft, Marriota or Hundley, lol

  9. P'cola Buc Says:

    @ Espo
    “Please stop”?
    Why not bring up this topic? It’ll be on the minds of many Bucs fans today.
    Let’s put it on the table. Let us have the chance to air these thoughts/feelings
    We don’t want boring anymore. Fans in Tampa want a player they can feel excited about. They deserve this. Think of the excitement for the fan base. Think of the media interest for the first time in Tampa Bay? We had a chance to have this…. and we chose to ignore the opportunity. This is about Lovie and Licht wanting to not take a chance on their own jobs…period. It’s understandable….but it leaves the thousands of fans to continue with a bland product on the field. Deserving fans deserve more! Will the powers that be listen to our voices?

  10. Buc Fan #237 Says:

    Brady Quinn 2.0 IS………. Johnny Manziel.

    But only here at JoeBrownsFan dot com.

  11. gonoles Says:

    Cry us a river Joe…lol

  12. lightningbuc Says:


    I’d like to thank you for the incessant John Manziel coverage the past few months. It made his nationally televised 3 hour humiliation last night all the more enjoyable for me.

    Honestly, I had nothing against the guy back in January other than the fact I didn’t think he’d be all that great in the NFL. But when you’re seal-clubbed about the guy and his ability to pull, well, that’s when my dislike began to settle in.

  13. MadMax Says:

    @Pcola, Id rather us be quiet as we focus on TRUE talent and commandeer this ship. Look at Cleveland and their QB bust record….AND @22 again? HAH!

  14. That Guy Says:

    And what happened then?
    Well, in Joeville, they say, that the Joes’ tiny boners shrank three sizes that day.

    –Excerpt from How The Browns Stole Christmas

  15. Milenko Says:

    They also said Revis would fill those empty seats…

  16. phil Says:

    We are officially on the Jameis Winston watch. We still have the forth best quarterback in our division.

  17. HotRod Says:

    I hope he single handily turns around the cluster that is the Browns org. I mean they can’t get out of their own way usually. The kid has got a lot to prove already, doesn’t help having to play there. I’m still scratching my head about trading up to take not even the best available corner at 8. The Bucs will be ok with McCown this year, maybe next. But I’m not convinced MG8 is the future yet, he looked good as long as he can stand tall but this is the NFL, you are going to get pass rush and he can’t get out of the way of my grandma with a walker.

  18. duthty rhothdes Says:

    @phil and @joe does the bucs scouting department possibly have any grades on the qb class of 2015 and have them above the guys that are out this year like winston, mariotta, hundley, and whoever else and maybe are thinking towards that angle?

  19. SoonerninTampa Says:

    Best player available at a position of need…WIN for the Bucs!! Isn’t that what REALLY matters?

    That saddest people in Tampa this morning are the strip club owners (Johnny would have been a windfall of cash) and the fans who were blinded by their love for JFF

  20. jh Says:

    Who cares about excitement from an unproven prospect. Can we start talking football and less about over rated qbs.

  21. duthty rhothdes Says:

    It Sucks and is depressing missing out on JF and not sure what Mike Evans is going to bring only time will tell and hopefully it works out. Hope the bucs go with the Alabama OL, Cyrus Kounjo in 2nd round or Jerrigan out of FSU. Still wouldn’t mind Stevie Johnson in a trade. Just think that Johnny Football is going to burn out up there in Cleveland like Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, Wheeden, place is a graveyard for #1 picks at QB and they have to be the dumbest front office in their plan would they could have gotten Sammy Watkins first and then pair him with Johnny Football and that is something to work with, now JF is gonna be throwing to one midget and a TE, miss him here, but cmon lovie and mike evans

  22. P'cola Buc Says:

    @ madmax
    I understand but the talent we have had has lead to much disappointment on the field. We have often been lacking for something to cheer about. We need to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Give us something to get excited about. If it’s boring offense… Then we need a lights out defense. Boring I feel can only work if we win games. Let’s see what the rest of the draft brings…Go Bucs!

  23. Chris Says:

    Espns story on Cleveland made it known the fans trumped talent evaluation on Manziel. Manziel is not an nfl qb. 3 years from now joe will have his foot in his mouth and Evans will be a #1 playmaker.

    That would be an awesome ending. –Joe

  24. JBuc Says:

    I like the Evans pick. Atlanta gave up most of their draft picks a few years back to get a similar type player in Julio Jones. Immediately creates mismatches and opens the field. Interested to see what they do today. If Glennon is the guy of the future then I suspect we see a couple of picks today to address the OLine.

  25. duthty rhothdes Says:

    Hope evans is not another mike williams or charles rodgers of the detroit lions big WRs who got paid and then ate themselve out of the NFL when they were top picks in the NFL draft

  26. Jason A Says:

    Manziel will end up like Tebow, traded and out of the league

  27. finishers Says:

    i was so happy we passed on jf!!!!

  28. MadMax Says:

    Remember the close games from last year…remember the crap Schiano coaching, and play calling!!!!…. and crap Dominik decisions for 5 years!! (Schiano is a genius at identifying talent though, the ONE bright positive from his time here)

    …..just watch what happens with Lovie and Light…..if anything it will be much better than where Dom failed us!!!

  29. Robert draper Says:

    Imagine how he would have been broke in two. Thank god we didn’t draft him.

  30. P'cola Buc Says:

    @ Mad Max

    100% agreed my friend. Lovie as couch would probably netted us a couple more wins last year. They did great in the free agency as well. The draft bringing us Lavonte David was good however. Wondering if we will skip getting another QB this year. Is Glennon really the quarterback Tedford was brought in for?

  31. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    Not daily? So, weekly, then?

    @lightning – agreed.

    I owe Joe a thank you. He created a narrative that made last night vastly more enjoyable than usual. I’m still laughing. When you purposely paint yourself in a corner, call people jealous, and so on, and it goes like this? Delicious. Like contemplating how much a team friendly QB extension would cost. Cheers!

  32. mark2001 Says:

    Duthy…don’t think he will be anything like Williams….when I saw Deion interview him, it was all about Winning and God. I think character was a major part of thier belief in him. Of course money can change things, but I think the kid is a team first winner.

  33. ToesOnTheLine Says:

    Fret not Joe many of the Browns franchise QB selections end up being traded for late round picks or the waiver wire 3 or 4 years out. Quinn, Weedon, Manziel…the Browns know QB’s

  34. UK_Buc Says:

    On the tickets, they are such a small proportion of team revenue that I doubt that’s a consideration. Merchandise, possibly, but not seat sales.

    As for Shelton thinking he knows something that 40 senior NFL figures (20 GM and 20 HCs of the 20 teams that passed on him) don’t ….naaaaaah, not buying that. The fact he slipped so far suggests that not picking him is conventional wisdom, rather than missing an open goal. Granted, conventional wisdom isn’t always right, but to paint L&L as inept clowns because they made this choice is moronic.

  35. Beeric Says:

    I was really bummed we didn’t get Manziel until I realized how a scrambling QB will fare in the brutal AFC north against Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Cincy defenses twice a year…he’ll be incredibly lucky if he doesn’t go all RG Knee after year one.

  36. Eric Says:

    Safe picks don’t win championships.

    Look at the Seahawks and Niners. Both had game managing QB’s in place but went out and drafted mobile playmakers.

    I’d have felt better if they got one of the tackles, at least they can play for a long time and the trenches are key. Could have seen that.

    But a receiver? At seven? Not even the best receiver in the draft? A possession receiver at that. In a draft deep at receiver?

    Look how many WR busts the lions went through in first round, and haven’t won squat with the best one in the league.

    Dare I say Anthony and Green.

    Trying hard to stay positive, but totally don’t get it.

  37. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    Perhap, just perhaps, Joe and others mistook an exciting college QB for a sureshot NFL prospect.

    Look at how many teams wanted nothing to do with him. Rex and the Jets could have added him to the biggest media market in the league, but decided they would to war with Geno Smith and Mike Vick. New Orleans could have drafted an eventual replacement for Drew Brees, but, went with a WR. Jerry Jones had his shot, and went with a 34 year old QB with a bad back. Tennessee has who at QB? Oakland? Minnesota? Even Cleveland passed on him twice. The proof is in the pudding.

    What it goes to show is just like with Tebow. People think excitement equals a great prospect. It’s entirely different.

    How else do you explain the “best QB prospect in 20 years” not even picked among the first 20 picks in a SINGLE year? Unless you think you know more than all these professional GMs.

  38. johnny Says:

    Go back to Tebows sophomore year and experts had him as a top 10 pick now he cant complete a pass …its best to pass on project qbs with the 7th pick …..

  39. Eric Says:

    I think the pudding will be on the field.

    He was taken at 22.

    We’re getting ready for the second round, so all these players coming up have been passed over. Some will be stars.

    We shall see in around three years.

  40. Coloradobuc Says:

    If you all think Johhny Manziel is not going to be a productive starting QB in the NFL, you should burn your Bucs gear and buy yourselves a Blake Bortles because I don’t want that kind of ignorance associated with my fan base.

    I Love Lovie, but I totally don’t get the WR pick in the 1st round at no.7 in a deep draft. Time will tell.

  41. ChanEpic Says:

    Johnny Manziel is the finest playmaker in college football the last 2 years? Ummm A Mr. Crab Legs Winston may have a few bones to pick with that statement.

  42. Coloradobuc Says:

    Tim Tebow couldn’t make the throws, Manzie>Tebow no argument. Not bitter about Manziel, can’t wait to see the rest of the draft. My dad is a Browns fan so I’m happy for him.

  43. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    LOL. yes we will….can’t wait.

  44. Ladyfan Says:

    Oy veh. I was waiting for the Bucs to trade back into first round to grab Manzeil. Thus uniting Evans with his QB.

    All you people who point to Tebow not making it need to realize that when you pick a Tebow or an even better Manzeil, you have to build your offense around his skill set. Do not throw him into the NFL and try to make him something he isn’t. That does not work. No one stepped up to do that for Tebow. Nor did they bother, apparently, to see that Tebow was historically one of the worst in practice but turned it on for the games…instead they looked at practice and wrote him off. The guy really did not stand a chance in the inflexible nfl. I hope the Browns are smarter when they employ Manzeils talents. Guess we’ll all see.

  45. BucFan86 Says:

    I guess the 75% of Bucs fans got their “shiny little toy”, right Joe? Because the best talent available at arguably the position of greatest need is superfluous. I guess you’ll have to be satisfied watching your plucky little object of love from 1,000 miles away. Please, though, try not to continue the sap song in all of your articles.

    Joe would have preferred grabbing a receiver later. There are loads still available. Joe would have taken O-line over Evans. –Joe

  46. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:


    You should take your skills to the NFL, clearly you know more than all 32 GMs on Tebow. You are missing your calling.

    Tebow was terrible. If he weren’t terrible, he’d have an NFL job. Those GMs will hire murderers, and wife beaters if they think it would improve their team. Do you truly think they didn’t know about practice vs. game play? C’mon. Tebow sold tickets and jerseys himself (a goldmine), and they STILL didn’t want him.

    And, Denver DID alter their play style for him. They just couldn’t help him hit the broadside of a barn.

    Some players are just great college QBs but not great pros. Nothing shameful about that.

  47. AuthorLMendez Says:

    Manziel is a sure bust. Joe’s mancrush on him is as cringe-worthy to watch as noted Dick Morris of Sports Skip Bayless’ own of the same player. The Bucs made a nice little solid pick. I agree 100% Glennon and McCown aren’t the future but Manziel wouldn’t have been the answer. Far from it. The Bucs aren’t winning a Super Bowl or even making the playoffs this year but we should see good improvement. Sour grapes all around from Joe the way he’s reacted to this. Skip Bayless thinks the Brown just saved their franchise. LOL

  48. bucrightoff Says:

    The fact one of the top 2 reasons so many people wanted to draft Manziel is “he puts people in seats” is unbeliebably damning. So draft Tebow then too? He would put even more people in seats. You know what puts people in seats? Winning, regardless of QB. Building was full when Shaun King and Brad Johnson were QBs

  49. Drew Says:

    Joe… Can you say Johnny Football without peeing in your pants?

  50. BucTrooper Says:

    I don’t feel nearly as disappointed as I thought I would after the Bucs passed over Johnny Manziel for 2 reasons: former GM Mark Dominik said had him ranked high and Cleveland thought he was “the answer.”

  51. Cobraboy Says:

    Evans > Manziel

  52. whynotme Says:

    The Bucs really fumbled the draft last night. I’ve seen Evans play in person a few times and I know he is going to be a really good player, but the Bucs could have slid down 3 -4 spots and still got him. They could have slid down 2x and picked up 2 picks and grabbed Manziel. If you are going to draft a WR that high he really needs to be a HoF’r and a SB MVP type or he is really not relevant in the grand scheme. In the NFL great QBs and great D’s win championships. Unfortunately, Lovie has reminded us why we fired Dungy. He thinks he can win without a QB. We have the 4th best QB in the division and 13-16th best in the conference. No matter how many wins he gets we won;t be able to go to San Fran or Seattle or Green Bay in January and out duel Kapernick, Wilson, or Rogers. That is the reality. Giant opportunity lost last night and Lovie has shown us that he is the same old conservative guy he used to be.

  53. BucFan86 Says:


    It’s all well and good to talk about how Tampa “should have traded down”, but you have to have teams willing to trade up for that to become reality. It takes two to tango, and I guarantee that Tampa would have taken a legitimate offer to move down, even if it meant not landing Evans. And, we would be all the better for it as well. As good as Evans can be, those extra picks would have been crucial.

  54. Charley Says:

    It would be sweet if there was some type of upvote system for comments like on Reddit or facebook. Some of the readers leave great comments that convey everything that I or others would say in a thread, and the ability to vote their thought as something we agree with and see how many other do as well would be fantastic. Make it happen Joe!

  55. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    And if Manziel is a huge bust? Then what?

  56. Orca Says:

    Is this going to be the last Johnny Doucheball article on JBF? One can dream, I guess.

  57. Orca Says:


    How is it that you know the Bucs could’ve slid down 3 or 4 picks? You’re sure those offers were out there? So you had a war room invite? Oh yeah, how was that? Maybe you should’ve been more forceful in your advice in that room…

  58. LJS4th Says:

    First we passed on Luke for Barron, now we passed on Johnny Football for the guy HE passed the football to. How did Mike Evans get so good??? Did he pass the ball to himself??? This will come back to haunt us…again!!!!

  59. Sweets Willie Says:

    A Johnny fathead was stolen from the draft party last night.

  60. Paul McCartney Says:

    You would think Bucs fans would’ve wanted our team to be in the national spotlight and gain the attention that we’ve never ONCE had. Our team would’ve been relevant and people would actually talk about us…….when has that ever happened recently?

    And you guys need to shut the hell up and stop being dicks to Joe about Manziel. Him and I will be laughing at you guys when McCown is benched next season and we’re a mess at quarterback. Well, not having a franchise quarterback is the Tampa Bay way, so I can’t be too surprised.

  61. Russ Says:

    I am so depressed. When the 7th pick arose and no one had picked Johnny Football…..my son and I were jumping up and down. My hand quivering above the signature line on the check for our season tickets.

    Well after listening to the big dog…blah blah blah about Mike Glennon (whom I am convinced is not much worse than McCown) and the fact that Tampa has not had a franchise QB since when??? Back when Steve Young who the team gave away for two low draft picks! Schiano had an excuse…he was a college coach with no experience…he could not win at Rutgers. Blah blah blah…

    So, please Joe…tell the Big Dog that Lovie goes 11-5 or lovie goes bye bye!! I am having t-shirts made with the big dogs mug on one side and lovie’s on the other! Can’t win without a quarterback. What good is Evans if we have no one to throw to.

    I am moving to Jacksonville!


  62. Russ Says:

    Johnny Football would have sold out games for at least the first couple of years whether he started or not! Mike Evans was only good because of the guy throwing the ball to him. I know that McCown or Glennon or what other retread Lovie brings back will not be able to get the ball to him and he will be no better than the 20 other WR that the Buc’s could have gotten today!

    I am also over this love affair with Lovie. Give it two years at most…that is all Schiano got. Lovie goes 11-5 or Lovie goes Bye Bye! He has Head Coach experience and he has a good team. NO EXCUSES! Win now or get lost! You had the chance to get a franchise QB but you know more than JBF so now you need to put up or get lost.

    I will franchise my Lovie/Big Dog t-shirts with “Bucs go 11 & 5 or Lovie (and the Big Dog) GO BYE BYE!!!

    Joe you were so very right about Johnny Football. This is Dan Marino all over again! Pittsburg passed on the man from Pitt and boy did they suffer! If the Steelers had put the best quarterback of all time with that defense and that running game history would have been set!

    As for ladybug or ladywhatever….Tebow good or bad was never given the chance the butt fumbler received or the Josh sisters received…..four years as the starter no matter how bad you are. Tebow has won as many NFL Playoff games as Tony Romo….and I am betting Romo’s numbers never go up!

  63. Vico Says:

    QBs go to Cleveland to die, but they don’t go to Tampa at all, and if they do, bucs just give them away. I remember the excitement that Johnson’s second half of the SB season caused. No one expected Gruden to make him play that good. Even when Simms threw that incomplete pass to Shepherd in the playoffs, for a moment it was a similar feeling. That was almost 10 years ago. 10 Years without being actually close to win a playoff game. With a really exciting throw to the end zone, a winning drive in a big stage. I want Tampa 2 dominance back as much as anyone, but what I want the most as a fan, is an offensive leader that gives us a chance to win in the playoffs. I guess I’ll have to wait for another year.

  64. Vico Says:

    Now with Johnny as a Cleveland Brown I don’t really think it matters if he is a bust or not. What last night meant to me was that Lovie and front Office are not interested in a real shot at the playoffs, at another SB with an over par QB. Lovie will build a great defense and we will have to let him go when we get close to the prize but not close enough. The difference with the early 2000 and Dungy will be we won’t a have a Monte Kiffin in Frazier, and hiring a Grudenesque Offensive guru (or actually Gruden all over again) won’t take the team all the way.

  65. nick Says:

    I wanted johnny’s hot body I have soooo much man love for him, I might become a brownie LOL.

  66. BuccoBill Says:

    I keep seeing these articles touting JFM as the greatest QB in college football over the past 2 seasons. Tim Tebow has 2 national championship rings and a Heisman, while also doing so in the SEC, but look at him now. Yes JFM is a more complete football player, but it is what it is. RG3, I feel is a better athlete as well as a QB then JFM is, and look at him now. Bum knee and will never be as complete a QB as he was when he was fresh and unbroken. That is why I am glad that Johnny didn’t come to Tampa. The boom would be sonic but the bust would be nuclear. And I agree Joe, that QB’s go to Cleveland to die, but JFM’s chances of that happening are even higher now. Isn’t Kyle Shanahan the knucklehead who wouldn’t pull RG3 even though he was injured? Yeah, JFM may have a rough start to his NFL career.

  67. Bucky1 Says:

    Too bad Johnny F. Football said he would not play in Jacksonville. Pride comes before a fall. HUM….Wonder if any pen and mike club members aught to learn from Johnnys fall. His little ass is embarrassed today and some of the mike and pen members are also.

  68. Nick H Says:


  69. Nick H Says:

    In all honesty I felt that for a second after we passed on him, that maybe it would be cool to have hype just for the sake of hype.

    But i’d prefer hype from wins, not from speculation.

  70. Bucamania Says:

    Agree with Joe. If you don’t go JFF there, you go OT. WR is bad value. This draft is deep with WR talent. The OT talent went at the top of the round.

  71. Bill Byrne Says:

    STOP!!!!!! Johnny Football was passed over by all franchises that needed a quarterback. Move on “JOE” to the 2014 season and a competitive BUCS team without the distractions that the Browns fans will have to deal with.

  72. Paul McCartney Says:

    Tim Tebow could never throw the ball; Johnny could and did it pretty damn well. Stop comparing the two, they’re not similar at all.