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  • Johnny Manziel cements his status as franchise quarterback

    Johnny Manziel cements his status as franchise quarterback
    By Bucky Brooks
    NFL Media analyst
    Published: Jan. 1, 2014 at 12:20 a.m.
    Updated: Jan. 1, 2014 at 03:20 a.m.

    NFL evaluators pay close attention to how well elite prospects perform in bowl games. Executives believe these contests rival the intensity and competitiveness of NFL games, while also creating a big-game atmosphere that allows observers to witness a player under pressure.

    While Johnny Manziel has played in a ton of big games in his brief career, I thought it was important to see how well the former Heisman Trophy winner performed in the Chick fil-A Bowl after finishing the regular season with a pair of lackluster games. With a national television audience paying close attention to his every move, Manziel put on an epic performance that cemented his status as one of the top quarterbacks in college football, and a future franchise player at the next level. Watching it up close and personal, here are my thoughts on Manziel's game and it projects in the NFL:

    Athleticism
    Johnny Football took the college football world by storm a season ago by showcasing a sandlot game built on improvisational playmaking. Part of his success stemmed from his exceptional speed, quickness and movement skills. Few quarterbacks in the college game can rival his elusiveness in tight quarters, making him a rare commodity at the position.

    Watching Manziel work his magic on the Georgia Dome turf against the Blue Devils, I was blown away by his sudden acceleration and burst. He is quicker than a hiccup in space, with a knack for making defenders miss in the hole. Although he has scaled back on his impromptu runs this season, it's nearly impossible to contain Manziel when he elects to use his legs as a primary weapon.

    I must express some concern about his durability based on his diminutive stature and willingness to seek out contact, but I don't believe it will be a major issue because of his combination of instincts and athleticism. He has a knack for avoiding the big shot, which is why he is such a threat when he gets on the perimeter.

    Arm talent
    Questions about Manziel's arm strength and range dominated the discussion in the NFL scouting community during the offseason. Evaluators wondered if Manziel could make big-boy throws from the pocket, particularly the deep out from the opposite hash and the go-route down the boundary.

    Watching Manziel pick apart the Blue Devils, there's no doubt in my mind that he can make every throw in the book. He attacked every area of the field with a variety of fastballs and rainbows to open receivers. Additionally, Manziel showed the ability to squeeze the ball into tight windows between the hashes. While those traits are expected of a franchise quarterback, I believe Manziel's unique ability to deliver accurate throws from various throwing platforms separates him from the pack. He will use a sidearm or three-quarters release to avoid rushers in close proximity, yet the ball still hits receivers in the strike zone. This characteristic makes him a threat to create big plays against the blitz from anywhere on the field.

    Given the relentless blitz tactics favored by the majority of NFL defensive coaches, Manziel's unique arm talent could make him indefensible as a pro.

    Pocket presence
    Manziel needed to prove to scouts that he could perform from the pocket to be considered a franchise-caliber quarterback. Although coaches and scouts love his improvisational skills, Manziel will be forced to play inside the pocket at the next level. Defensive coordinators will attempt to clog running lanes on the interior and dare the diminutive signal caller to make a series of accurate throws with a multitude of big bodies in his face.

    Looking at Manziel operate against Duke, I believe he has grown immensely as a pocket passer. He comfortably makes pinpoint throws from the pocket, exhibiting quiet feet and solid mechanics. Manziel's displayed outstanding timing, ball placement and anticipation on quick-rhythm and intermediate throws. Although he was unable to consistently connect on the deep ball, Manziel's rainbow tosses were delivered on time, with plenty of arc to allow his receivers to settle under the throw.


    Football intelligence
    Manziel's freewheeling style leads some observers to overlook his brilliant football mind. But astute evaluators can appreciate the mastery of the pre-snap phase when they take a hard look at his game.

    Watching Manziel direct the Aggies' fast-paced offense, I was encouraged by his ability to quickly decipher fronts and coverage at the line of scrimmage. He routinely pointed out the potential rushers, and hit the predetermined hot reads to counter the blitz. Facing soft coverage, Manziel worked through his reads to hit the open receiver in the progression. Although he ran around on occasion before doing so, Manziel displayed plenty of discipline and awareness playing "connect the dots" from the pocket. NFL offensive coordinators will rave about his feel for the game when studying this tape, leading to rise up the charts when draft day approaches.


    Clutch factor
    The term "swagger" is overused in sports today, but Manziel's game is dipped in confidence and self-belief. He seemingly walks on the field with a boulder-sized chip on his shoulder, yet his teammates respond to his bodacious leadership style. Watching the Aggies rally back from an enormous deficit, I witnessed Manziel's teammates feed off his energy and enthusiasm. After he put together a series of spectacular plays, the team started to play with the bounce of a heavyweight champion. Manziel continued to build the momentum by delivering big plays in key moments. From his terrific back-shoulder fade toss to Mike Evans to the nifty bootleg jaunt to pull the Aggies to within three points, Manziel made every play down the stretch to keep his team in the game.

    Conclusion
    Manziel hasn't decided whether to enter the 2014 draft, but I'm sure there are several NFL coaches and scouts clamoring for a playmaker of his caliber at the quarterback position. He has all of the tools and confidence to emerge as a franchise player at the position despite lacking ideal physical dimensions for the spot.

    While it will take an innovative offensive coordinator to craft a scheme to maximize his talents, I can see Manziel fitting into a West Coast offense that features a ton of movement/waggle passes like the Houston Texans utilized under Gary Kubiak. Additionally, I can see Manziel thriving in an uptempo scheme that mixes spread formations with a rapid pace. Given the freedom to operate in a wide-open offense, Manziel could help an offense produce fireworks with a capable supporting cast.


  • #2
    Re: Johnny Manziel cements his status as franchise quarterback

    I know the kid is good and fun to watch. But I can't help but watch him running around like he does, sometimes when he doesn't have to, and think how it wouldn't work out as well for him in the NFL. Can you imagine him running away from Quinn or Tree and having the same luck? It just strikes me as something I'd rather not see my QB try to do.
    The restoration is complete!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Johnny Manziel cements his status as franchise quarterback

      Blah blah blah...sounds like an article from a Manziel lover not looking at him unbiased layunbiased lay

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Johnny Manziel cements his status as franchise quarterback

        Originally posted by richtree View Post
        Blah blah blah...sounds like an article from a Manziel lover not looking at him unbiased layunbiased lay
        My impression from the limited reactions I've read is this...

        If you already liked Manziel, then you were blown away by his performance last night and just thought he was amazing.

        If you already didn't like Manziel, then you saw a very good performance that featured a lot of the things that you don't think will translate well to the NFL level.

        I don't think it changed anyone's mind about him as a player, but good performances by draft eligible quarterbacks who could potentially be Top 5 picks only help the Rams on the trade market.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Johnny Manziel cements his status as franchise quarterback

          Scouts take on Manziel: He's another Favre
          NFL scout says that Texas A&M QB will play hard, but do it his way
          By Jason Cole


          After completing his season with Texas A&M, quarterback Johnny Manziel dodged questions about whether he would turn pro early. It has been long assumed that Manziel would declare for the NFL draft.

          However, the question of how good Manziel will be in the NFL lingers. One scout recently compared Manziel to retired quarterback Brett Favre, who was a second-round pick and went on to have an extraordinary career.

          “He’s Favre,” the scout said. “On Sunday, he’s going to play his (butt) off. The rest of the week, he’s going to do what he wants to do.”

          The scout said that was a combination of both great and sometimes bad habits. While Favre was a great player and worked hard at his craft, he also enjoyed having a good time.

          “If you tell him not to go drink, he’s not going to listen. He’s going to go drink,” the scout said of Manziel. “If you can tell him not to chase (women). He’s going to chase (women). That’s just who he is and he’s going to do what he wants. I think he’s going to be great, but you’re going to have to deal with him on his terms.”

          The same scout predicted before the 2012 draft that Russell Wilson would eventually become an outstanding quarterback.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Johnny Manziel cements his status as franchise quarterback

            last night I watched Duke coug it lol, that's what I saw

            plus manziel flails his arms around like a little girl when he run lol

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Johnny Manziel cements his status as franchise quarterback

              Originally posted by richtree View Post
              Blah blah blah...sounds like an article from a Manziel lover not looking at him unbiased layunbiased lay
              There's no denying he has the tools to be a successful NFL QB.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Johnny Manziel cements his status as franchise quarterback

                Originally posted by RockinRam View Post
                There's no denying he has the tools to be a successful NFL QB.
                oh there's plenty to deny

                but we'll just have to see

                i don't think he will on the field, and off the field he'll have problems too imo

                again, we'll see

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Johnny Manziel cements his status as franchise quarterback

                  Originally posted by citr92 View Post
                  oh there's plenty to deny

                  but we'll just have to see

                  i don't think he will on the field, and off the field he'll have problems too imo

                  again, we'll see
                  If you have examples to deny, please list them.

                  Yes he may play in an unorthodox fashion, but his TOOLS (arm, mobility, pocket presence, instincts, play making ability) are extremely solid.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Johnny Manziel cements his status as franchise quarterback

                    Originally posted by RockinRam View Post
                    If you have examples to deny, please list them.

                    Yes he may play in an unorthodox fashion, but his TOOLS (arm, mobility, pocket presence, instincts, play making ability) are extremely solid.
                    if they were so extremely solid then there'd be no question

                    but looking at his play i just don't see the tools

                    i see him run before giving plays a chance

                    i don't see him threading passes with his "extremely solid arm strength"

                    play making ability at the college level is COMPLETELY different than the NFL level

                    RGIII has a better arm, is faster, and had good play making ability, instincts and mobility

                    and he's been eaten up in the NFL, pretty much has had to revert to a pocket passer as do many running qbs and looking at manziel as a pocket passer...

                    we'll have to see, but i don't see it

                    i couldn't give you examples because most of them aren't are on film that i can't access because it's not on the internet
                    Last edited by citr92; -01-01-2014, 05:10 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Johnny Manziel cements his status as franchise quarterback

                      Originally posted by citr92 View Post
                      if they were so extremely solid then there'd be no question
                      The questions are about his playing style, not his "tools".


                      but looking at his play i just don't see the tools
                      How many A&M games have you watched?

                      i see him run before giving plays a chance
                      He runs because there are opportunities to run. His receivers with the exception of Evans, aren't even that good.

                      i don't see him threading passes with his "extremely solid arm strength"
                      What games are you watching?

                      play making ability at the college level is COMPLETELY different than the NFL level
                      Obviously.


                      RGIII has a better arm, is faster, and had good play making ability, instincts and mobility
                      He also has a terrible o-line and with the exception of Pierre Garcon, their receivers are not that great.

                      RGIII is also a completely different QB than Johnny. They play differently.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Doug Flutie was a great COLLEGE QB too.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Johnny Manziel cements his status as franchise quarterback

                          Originally posted by AvengerRam View Post
                          Doug Flutie was a great COLLEGE QB too.
                          I don't think anyone here is saying he's going to be good/great. But to say Manziel has no chance because of the defenses he faced in college is looking for an easy way out of scouting.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Johnny Manziel cements his status as franchise quarterback

                            Originally posted by AvengerRam View Post
                            Doug Flutie was a great COLLEGE QB too.
                            Doug Flutie was only great during his senior year when he won the Heisman, before that he was pretty much average. Manziel has been great ever since he stepped on the football field as a redshirt freshman. Also, Flutie was barely 5-10 while Manziel is over 6-1. Oh yeah, Flutie was pretty good in the NFL for a couple years, even making the Pro Bowl.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Johnny Manziel cements his status as franchise quarterback

                              Originally posted by Vinnie25 View Post
                              Also, Flutie was barely 5-10 while Manziel is over 6-1.
                              Vinnie, I agree with everything you said in your post except this part. Unless he magically had a growth spurt in the past month, he isn't breaking 6'0. I'd say he's a strong 5'10, maybe 5'11.

                              Comment

                              Related Topics

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                              • Rambos
                                Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel enters NFL draft
                                Rambos
                                USA TODAY Sports

                                In his two years at Texas A&M, Johnny Manziel accounted for 93 total touchdowns. Now he'll see how the Johnny Football Show will play at the next level.

                                Manziel wrote a thank you letter to Texas A&M fans for his two years in College Station while announcing his intent to enter the 2014 NFL draft Wednesday. "The decision was not an easy one," he wrote.

                                NFL.com and ESPN first reported Manziel's decision to enter the draft.

                                In 2013, Manziel completed 69.9% of his passes for 4,114 yards and 37 touchdowns. He also rushed for 759 yards and nine touchdowns. In 2012, his Heisman year, Manziel rushed for 1,410 yards and 21 touchdowns.


                                His career totals: 7,820 yards passing and 63 touchdowns with 22 interceptions, and 2,169 yards rushing and 30 touchdowns.

                                The Aggies finished the 2013 season 9-4.

                                "The sky's the limit for Johnny Manziel," said Florida State QB Jameis Winston, who became the second freshman, after Manziel, to win the Heisman. "He's an amazing person and amazing player on the field.

                                "The things he does with the ball in his hands, people always have faith in Johnny. His teammates are going to love him, because they know anything is possible with Johhny Football."

                                Most of the questions about Manziel's passing ability were answered this season, leaving only the bigger-picture arguments about his final legacy and where his two-year run puts him in the pantheon of great college quarterbacks.

                                "It's pretty incredible when you look at his two-year totals and numbers he's been able to put together," Duke coach David Cutcliffe said in the days before losing to Manziel and the Aggies in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. "The excitement meter in the way he plays takes it through the roof. To become somewhat legendary in one year puts you right at the top of the ladder in the historical sense of what an individual player has meant to college football."


                                Manziel also will leave, as Cutcliffe noted, with the distinction of being the first pop culture phenomenon from college football in the era of social media, making him the most talked-about, Tweeted-about, Instragrammed player the sport has ever seen.
                                2013-12-29 johnny manziel presser


                                At the intersection of fame and immaturity, Manziel admittedly struggled at times to reconcile living life on his terms with the

                                responsibility of being a Heisman Trophy winner and legitimate celebrity.

                                When he was accused in August of receiving payments from memorabilia brokers to sign autographs — which led to an NCAA investigation and ultimately a suspension for the first half of Texas A&M's opener, it seemed the NCAA's amateurism rules would be as big a factor as anything in driving him to the NFL after this season....
                                -01-08-2014, 07:51 PM
                              • AvengerRam_old
                                I'm not saying Johnny Manziel is overhyped, but _________ (finish the joke!)
                                AvengerRam_old
                                I'm not saying Johnny Manziel is overhyped, but Pro Football Focus has already rated him as the No. 4 QB in the NFL for 2014.
                                -05-05-2014, 01:39 PM
                              • r8rh8rmike
                                Haslam To Johnny Manziel: 'This Isn't Hollywood'
                                r8rh8rmike
                                Haslam to Johnny Manziel: 'This isn't Hollywood'

                                By Kevin Patra
                                Around the League writer
                                Published: May 12, 2014 at 03:43 p.m.

                                Johnny Manziel entered Cleveland drenched in celebrity and immediately became the most popular man on the team. His selection provided a suffering fan base with brief euphoria -- some went a bit loco.

                                The team, however, plans on reining in Johnny Football's expectations.

                                Owner Jimmy Haslam said Monday that the team told Manziel to act "like a backup quarterback," per ESPN.com.

                                "We were frank with (Manziel) on Friday that's the expectation, you're the backup quarterback," Haslam said while speaking at a Pro Football Hall of Fame luncheon in Canton, Ohio, per The Plain Dealer. "This is a hard-working, blue-collar town, this isn't Hollywood. We want you to come in and go to work."

                                The Browns open rookie minicamp Saturday, with organized team activities to follow next week. Haslam said the team plans to begin with Brian Hoyer as the starting quarterback.

                                "It's his job to lose," Haslam said of Hoyer.

                                Manziel's teammates said before the team's annual charity golf outing that the rookie wouldn't be automatically granted the job.

                                "I think good old Johnny Football is going to be a good addition to Cleveland," center Alex Mack said Monday. "Don't know who the starter is going to be, though."

                                That is the man snapping you the ball, Johnny.

                                "There's no handing over the job," tight end Jordan Cameron added.

                                At the end of the day, the players acknowledged that Manziel's off-field popularity is meaningless as long as the team wins.

                                "New England is probably the most secretive of any NFL program, and they still have Tom Brady doing Ugg commercials," offensive tackle Joe Thomas said. "He has TMZ following him everywhere he goes. It's just a matter of how the player handles it."
                                -05-12-2014, 07:36 PM
                              • turbofargo
                                Merril Hoge not liking Johnny Manziel
                                turbofargo
                                Just saw something over on espn where Merril Hoge broke down some play of Johnny Manziel. Had some not nice words about the kid, in fact said there could be serious bust potential. He made some good points showing a couple "tape" plays.

                                If teams tend to agree is that is going to effect chances to trade, more or less. If Houston takes Bortles, teams are weary of a bad pro day by Bridgewater, and watch clips like the one mentioned that teams might scramble to get the other players, Watkins, the OTs, Mack and Clowney.

                                Interesting watch, I know we can't post links, but the clip is from sportscenter. Its the second clip right now if you go to the vid section.
                                -03-19-2014, 04:51 PM
                              • r8rh8rmike
                                Tipsheet: Manziel Draft Stock Dipping
                                r8rh8rmike
                                Tipsheet: Manziel draft stock dipping

                                14 hours ago • By Jeff Gordon jgordon@post-dispatch.com

                                NFL Draft stocks soar and plummet long after college players quit playing games.

                                Team executives, coaches and scouts start talking themselves into or out of drafting certain players. So far this year, the scuttlebutt has Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel taking a big hit.

                                That is not ideal for the Rams, a team seeking to maximize the value of the second overall pick. Jeff Fisher, Les Snead and Co. want all the top prospects to trend up so that multiple teams bid on the No. 2 slot.

                                The best possible scenario had Manziel going to his home state Texans with the first overall pick. But that seems increasingly unlikely to occur.

                                Here are some of the early takes on “Johnny Football” and some of the high draft pick candidates:

                                Kevin Seifert, ESPN.com: “Russell Wilson's success is the worst thing that could have happened to the 2014 draft debate. Suddenly, no one thinks twice about projecting an exciting but undersized quarterback prospect as the No. 1 overall pick. Here is the problem: Johnny Manziel is no Russell Wilson, who proved off the charts in every way except height in 2012 -- and still lasted until the Seattle Seahawks drafted him in the third round. There seems little doubt that someone will make Manziel a first-round draft choice this spring, but the Houston Texans would be wrong to do it at No. 1 overall. The best parts of his college game will be less effective in the NFL, and there are at least four players in this draft -- including two quarterbacks -- who would make more sense at No. 1 . . . If the Texans want a fresh start at quarterback to begin the Bill O'Brien Era, which makes perfect sense, they would be better off with Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater. If they are concerned about Bridgewater's stature or 'upside,' O'Brien's background as a quarterback guru would justify the selection of Central Florida's Blake Bortles, who probably needs some development time. Should O'Brien desire a lower-round quarterback to develop, Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson is worthy of the No. 1 overall pick. And if the Texans are willing to take a risk in exchange for perhaps the biggest reward of the 2014 draft, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney would look awfully imposing on the same defense with All-Pro defensive lineman J.J. Watt.”

                                Peter King, SI.com: “Last week, former quarterbacks and current tape students Ron Jaworski and Phil Simms both came out as skeptics of Johnny Manziel. I liked it. If you’re an analyst and don’t voice your real opinion, what good are you? And there is much work to be done by the teams in the top eight that need a quarterback (Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland, Minnesota and maybe Tampa Bay). Last week, Manziel’s quarterback coach, George Whitfield, said they are focusing on Manziel’s throwing...
                                -03-04-2014, 06:55 PM
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