Johnny Football in Cleveland: Will it Work?

By Ross Fulton on May 13, 2014 at 1:15p
106 Comments

There was no bigger story surrounding the First Round of the NFL Draft then speculating about the landing place of Johnny Manziel.

When the Cleveland Browns selected Manziel with the 22nd pick, the focus quickly turned to the interaction of Manziel's celebrity status with the Browns' hapless recent quarterback history. In fact, Manziel is preceded by two other quarterbacks the Browns drafted at 22 – Brady Quinn and Brandon Weedon –  who were unable to live up to the hopes placed upon their shoulders.

So the focus is now whether Manziel can succeed in Cleveland where others failed. The answer to that question is likely as much dependent upon offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan as Manziel himself. Because Manziel's pro success is tied, in part, to the staying power of spread concepts in the NFL and the Browns' willingness to deploy such looks. 

Air raid for the Mobile QB

Manziel's Texas A&M Coach Kevin Sumlin is an Air Raid practitioner, the pass-first offense developed by Hal Mumme and Mike Leach. Sumlin's roots actually go back to the one-back, pass first offense, reflecting his time with former Purdue Head Coach Joe Tiller.

Reflecting this inclusion of diverse ideas, as the Air Raid coaching tree has grown so has the variety of Air Raid offenses. The trend amongst Airraid coaches – including Sumlin – is paring down Leach's passing concepts in lieu of tempo and packaged run/pass plays with zone read elements.  

The latter concept provides the quarterback a run/pass option after the snap. One favorite concept is combining zone read with a stick concept. The offensive line and halfback run inside zone. The backside wide receiver runs a quick stick pass concept, heading six yards downfield and quickly breaking away from whatever side the defense is favoring. The quarterback reads the backside defensive end and linebacker, determining whether to give on the inside zone, pull and keep, or throw the stick route. This puts the linebacker in a bind. If he stays with the stick route, the running back has large cutback lanes. But if he plays the run he vacates the stick route.

Spaced out receivers and quick hitting run pass options with the quarterback as a threat to run the football take the sport back to its backyard roots. Such a system may sound simple, but it requires a quarterback to be an athlete and quickly make sound decisions.  

It should thus be no surprise that Manziel is the prototypical player for this scheme. Manziel is not the fastest of the spread quarterbacks, but he has enough speed to threaten the defense when they do not account for the quarterback, and his quickness makes him a dangerous runner.

But the key element for the shotgun-spread is quick decision-making. Nearly every play requires the quarterback to decide within seconds whether to hand off, keep, or throw.  That is why Chip Kelly has stated that his primary concern is not finding a quarterback that can run, but one that can quickly make the correct decision. And he demonstrated it with the Eagles this past season. Nick Foles does not threaten the defense with his legs, but was able to make sound decisions to quickly get the ball into the horizontal and vertical planes where the defense was weakest.

Perhaps no one makes such quick run/pass decisions better than Manziel. Manziel’s best trait is his innate ability to know when to scramble, both to create time to throw and to run for yards.  Many quarterbacks that are good athletes do not know when to throw and when to run.  Manziel has no such hesitation. The moment underneath defenders vacates the middle of the field he is prepared to take the easy yards the defense is providing. But he also uses his athletic ability to buy time, keeping his eyes downfield the entire time to hit open receivers.

Can't Fit a Square Peg in a Round Hole

But while Manziel may be the ideal fit for the modern spread offense, it is difficult to imagine him in a prototypical NFL offense. At a shade under six feet tall, it likely suits neither him nor his team to have him take seven steps drops from under center.

Enter Shanahan and his time with Robert Griffin III as a rookie. This experience provides a template into how to transition Manziel to the NFL.

One favorite of Shanahan with Griffin was operating from the pistol. The Redskins would run the zone read with a slice block from a front side H-back. While commentators focused on the zone read's use, the more important aspect for the Redskins was how it set up the play-action pass. 

If a defense brought safeties to account for the quarterback as a run threat, the middle of the field was opened for play-action post routes. This was aided by the play-action fake, which was particularly effective since the mesh point on run plays is a read. To paraphrase the great Homer Smith, the most effective thing an offense can do is faking, and there is no better faking than option because the decision to give or keep is not pre-determined.

The result is that these plays not only took advantage of a defense's aggressiveness, but also gave a young quarterback like RGIII (and Manziel) a simple middle of the field 2 on 1 read behind vacating linebackers and safeties. 

Of course, what began as so much promise between Shanahan's and RGIII ended with RGIII's season ending ACL tear. Shanahan must continue to tinker to mesh pro and spread concepts that take advantage of Manziel's quick decision making and improvisational skills, while limiting his actual carries.

106 Comments

Comments

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

For the love of all that is out there - no more articles on this douchebag here on 11W!!!  This is literally the only sports refuge from every other media outlet that is doing story after story after story on this man.  Please - no more!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

-3 HS
dancorona5's picture

As a Browns fan, I love that the same breakdowns we love for our Buckeyes are being used to help understand Manziel. If it was the season, you would have a leg to stand on. But, it's the offseason and I for one would much rather see this than more articles about being patient while we wait for recruiting to pick up.

+28 HS
Hovenaut's picture

May Brian Axel Hoyer live long and prosper. Or at least avoid contact to his knees.

"Success...it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

+17 HS
BierStube's picture

Yet you continue to read them ...

"No matter where you go, there you are." B. Banzai

-3 HS
Arizona_Buckeye's picture

No - I did not read the article nor will I - I am just begging to stop posting Manziel stories on this site!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

-10 HS
AngryWoody's picture

And I'm begging people to stop bitching about articles they don't even read. Guess we can't all get what we want, can we?

Our Honor Defend!

+19 HS
d5k's picture

You are taking a crap all over a Ross Fulton article.  People have been decapitated in Victorian-era France for lesser crimes.

+23 HS
Bolt's picture

No kidding. Ross's pieces are some of my absolute favorite on this site. I, for one, am very interested. Believe it or not, in the state of Ohio and on this site there are a lot of Browns fans who also would have an interest in their shiny new quarterback. It clearly says Manziel in the headline, if someone doesn't want to read it...be all of our guest and don't. Move along.

+10 HS
Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Not crapping over Ross's pieces at all  but unless I'm mistaken, this is a Buckeye site, not a Browns site!  I simply made the statement voicing my opinion about the completely oversaturation of stories on this jackass and it would be great not to have to see it on this site!  Personal opinion which I will continue to voice when I see fit so by all means, down vote away because frankly I could give a shit whether that pisses you off or not!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

-7 HS
Bolt's picture

Your presence here doesn't piss me off so much...more so makes me scratch my head. You're sick and tired of hearing and talking about this "jackass", yet, here you are by your own volition. It's not like you have to click on this piece to get to another about Ohio State football. As someone said above, it's the offseason. Ross has already broken down last years team backwards and forwards and next years team backwards and forwards (for both Ohio State and ttun and other opponents). I'll apologize in advance because I'll probably be in on some of the discussions, but I have a feeling ol' John Foosball is going to be discussed by the users on this site a bit going forward.

+2 HS
Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Bolt - yes, I did have to click on this story to beg that we do not turn this into a Browns/Bengals site intertwined with Buckeye stories!  Again, this is not about Ross or his writing (which I am a big fan of) so please stop acting like I am attacking him, because I am clearly not!  You're last sentence says it all and why I was prompted to post under this article for I do not want to see countless complete stories on this jackass throughout the dead season!  Yes, I understand that during the Skull Sessions and WMDs that discussions will occur but that is a HUGE difference from complete articles soley based on Manziel

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

-4 HS
Bolt's picture

I think you're safe, my man. We're in the deadest of offseason dead time and the strong majority of content on here still revolves around Ohio State football. 

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

DK - I am glad I still have my head attached for such an aggregious crime!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

-6 HS
buckeyepastor's picture

You do realize with the time you've taken up criticizing the article and then responding to others, you have given a lot more of your life to this article than those who actually enjoyed reading it?  

I appreciate it as a Browns fan, but also as a Buckeye fan.  One of the main points of the article had to do with what skill sets and strategies are at work with the zone read and play-action that it sets up.   The point made by Chip Kelly about valuing a strong decision maker above all else, bodes well for Manziel but as a Buckeye made me pause and apply the article to Braxton Miller.   To me, it's one of his needs - developing and getting faster, more instinctive, in his decision-making.  As a Buckeye, the article gave me cause to reflect on how Miller's often late delivery hampered the pass game, how critical a thing consistency is.   I thought about how Guiton was actually slightly better at decision-making than Miller, and how much Miller is able to make up for with his athleticism.   

And I agree with others that this is a bit more interesting (and still applicable) than reading about some sophomore or junior in high school who may or may not even go to college, much less play for Ohio State.   

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

+2 HS
d5k's picture

This is the truly interesting part of the Manziel pick, not the celebrity/reality show craziness or the jersey sales.  The interesting part is whether the best (debatable but he's up there) true dual threat spread QB practically ever, drafted to be the franchise QB with full buy-in from the coaches/staff, can succeed running the spread in the NFL.  I think Chip Kelly has already proven that spread concepts work just fine when you give them a bit more NFL polish with the extra practice time and more skilled players.

+2 HS
Northbrook's picture

I didn't read the article either but this is a free site that I much appreciate. I can put up with an occasional article that doesn't interest me. I really don't care about the NFL other than what Buckeyes are doing there. I do care  about college football and the Buckeyes in particular. And turtles, I like turtles.

+4 HS
45has2's picture

When did this turn into a Cleveland Browns website?

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

+1 HS
FUqUespin's picture

The last thing Manziel is, is a D-bag.  He's been great for college football and if he was a Buckeye we would be begging him to stay one more year or singing the praises of JFF to revive the Browns.  Manziel is a player and I am now a Browns fan.  Dude is A-OK.

FUqU, e!spin!!

-1 HS
BuddhaBuck's picture

If Manziel can show the same type of pocket-presence and decision-making skills as Russell Wilson, he can be successful on a team with an offense dependent on a great running game + PA pass supported by a Top 5 defense. If you look at what Cleveland did in the FA market and draft, one could assume that they're trying really hard to look and feel like Seattle (albeit they failed to draft Hyde and will therefore be rubbing lucky rabbit feet that Tate can stay 100% for 16+ games). Manziel just happened to be the mobile QB with star power that the Browns wanted. 

Stop hating on this kid - he can't win the Heisman again. 

Don't text while driving.

+1 HS
Furious George 27's picture

They didn't fail to draft Hyde, they drafted a lineman that they needed more. I love Hyde, but if you don't have a good OL what good would he be? I don't know much about West except that he is a big back with good evaluations drawing comparisons to Hyde and Hill. I guess if you cannot get Hyde get the next best in which I believe they did.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

DC-town's picture

Great write-up Ross, always appreciated 

I also get your feelings Arizona buck...as a browns fan, the spoon feeding of Johnny Manziel has been unbearable and will continue to be for quite some time.

honestly though, the Russell Wilson comparisons need to stop...I get it, they're both under 6 feet.  Wilson makes good decisions, is mature, great leader...basically the opposite of Manziel aside from height

'Piss excellence' -RB

Squirrel Master's picture

I still love all the comparisons to current NFL QBs that they think he will be like, yet they use his height and mobility to find comparables.

He isn't Russell Wilson! Wilson doesn't take risks like Manziel will.

He isn't Drew Brees! just because they are both under 6 feet tall doesn't make them the same player.

He isn't Mike Vick! Mike Vick RUNS! Manziel scrambles. Big difference, especially when you talk about speed.

everyone needs to stop trying to bottle Manziel into a short, run first QB. He doesn't play like any of those players. So how about we compare him to someone who plays just.like.him.

Manziel is the spitting image of Tony Romo. He will throw for 500 yards. He will have 5 TD passing games. He will look like a top 10 QB in the league. BUT he will also have a record like Romo, 8-8, 8-8, 8-8...

I like Manziel but he will be the life and death of any team he will play on. He will look like the best QB at one point, and then throw the pick 6 that will lose the game. He will give you Super Bowl aspirations. Then not make the playoffs.

Manziel is Romo, Romo is Manziel! Just wait, he will finish the season with 4000 yards passing, 25 TDs, 10 INTs and the Browns will finish 8-8. Enjoy the heartache of mediocrity! at least you won't be losers anymore. My Chiefs have Alex Smith, I know what I'm talking about. (although its the opposite with Alex, less talent but wins the games he should. Just can't win the games he needs to.)

 

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

+5 HS
Gametime's picture

That's a fair comparison Squirrel Master, but the difference is that the Cowboys defense is F'N atrocious and despite having Demarco Murray, he can't stay healthy and they simply aren't a tough team committed to the run. The Browns will NO DOBUT have a top 10 Defense this year if Manziel can put up those type of numbers. I'm calling it now.

Especially if this draft pans out, they'll make their best Seattle impression with 3 studs at CB, 2 thumpers at S, upgrades on the edge, and toughness on the OL with that patented Shannahan zone blocking running game.

I dunno wtf happened to KC, but if they had more consistent WR threats, they'll only continue to get more dangerous.

...I too dream in color and in rhyme
So I guess I'm one of a kind in a full house
Cause whenever I open my heart, my soul or my mouth
A touch of God rains out...

+2 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

well I'm not going to get into a discussion about KC. I will say that Alex Smith can't utilize a good WR group, so why bother spending high draft picks on them. He works best with short throws to RB and TEs, so build around that. Keep making the defense better, which lost its sack ability after the first 9 games. Dee Ford is sorely needed despite popular opinion.

Everyone wants to blame the defense but I will point out that is the exact same argument for Manziel at TAMU this year. Yet every loss can be attributed to poor play by either Manziel or Romo. This is what I say to the bad defense argument, they were bad in the wins too. So the difference in losing and winning is that erratic mistake driven play by the QB. The same can be said for both in every instance, plays lights out in their wins (blowouts) but in tight games always makes the mistake that loses them. (side note, Romo had some decent defenses in Dallas about 5 years ago. He still made mistakes that cost them the playoffs)

True a better defense might allow players like Manziel and Romo to win more. And true that Cleveland's defense will be really good (I wouldn't go so far as to talk about Seattle yet). But what makes Manziel and Romo who they are is they will take risks constantly which allows them to look great and also costs games. Even with a stout defense, there will be tight scoring games. Its what Manziel and Romo do in those types of games that makes them who they are. Romo did it against KC (pick in the last 2 mins to lose) and Denver (pick in last 2 mins in a tie game that they lost). Manziel, against Bama (pick six in 4th quarter, lost) and Auburn (sacked twice on last drive to win it, lost). Sometimes a great defense can't make up for mistakes. It will win you some games, but it doesn't win superbowls. It will be good enough for about .500.

and I think Manziel will be a decent pro QB, probably a bunch of pro bowls. I just don't see him being an elite winner. He will be just like Tony Romo.

 

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

+1 HS
theopulas's picture

Manziel is a better quarterback then Romo will ever be....Romo hasn't gotten better since we first saw him. The sky is the limit for Johnny...not that he will reach it....but Romo just can't match his skill set ....I for one don't know the future so 8-8, 8-8, 8-8, might happen.....but maybe not....but after pro-days and combines and workouts, Romo wasn't drafted.....

Theopulas

-1 HS
SavannahBuck's picture

Are you kidding me!!!!??? Johnny Manziel is a better quarterback than Tony Romo? Of all the insane things people are saying about Manziel, that is by far the craziest. He hasn't even thrown a pass yet. Hell, he may not even win the starting job. If Hoyer can play like he did in three games last year, Manziel won't even see the field. By the way, I'm no Romo fan, but I think its a fair comparison. Laughable!

+1 HS
theopulas's picture

you must think every pro is better then every amateur . . most heisman winners are better then 1/3 maybe 1/2 the starting QBs in the league and Romo is no prize.....just watch and learn....

Theopulas

SavannahBuck's picture

How many Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks in the last 20 years have done anything in the NFL? 3? 4? Yes, I think every starting quarterback in the league is better than any quarterback who has never taken a snap in the NFL. Until they prove they can play, its all hype.
 

+1 HS
theopulas's picture

so brady quinn was better then andrew luck and or all qb were better then newton. . . ok if thats what you think. . sometimes you can practice all you want but the other guy is still better....example....you might train for a race and the other guy doesn't but he is just faster....sometime people are just better....

Theopulas

Squirrel Master's picture

who said Brady Quinn is better than Andrew Luck?

Are you comparing Manziel to #1 overall picks in Andrew Luck and Cam Newton? They are prototypes! Every team wanted them.

Manziel will be more like Brady Quinn than he will be anything like Newton or Luck. At least Quinn had wide receivers and a running back.

so just stop with the Manziel is already better than half the league talk. If that were the case, he wouldn't have fallen to #22, just like Brady Quinn and just like Weeden!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

SavannahBuck's picture

At what point did I mention Brady Quinn? I asked how many Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks have done well in the NFL. Cam is the exception, not the rule. I knew Andrew Luck would be a good to great NFL QB, just like I knew Peyton Manning would be a good to great NFL QB. Peyton turned out to be all time great, and Luck could end up that way. And you are right, sometimes you can practice all you want, and someone will be better. Someone is always better, unless you are an all time great. So, my new question is, do you really believe that Johnny Manziel is going to be an all time great NFL QB?

theopulas's picture

no...not saying Johnny will be great....just saying i think he is better then Romo...but admittingly i don't think much of Romo....i was responding to the idea that every pro is better then every amateur and saying that is not true, comparing Luck or Cam as amateurs to a NFL QB. Look, I could be wrong and JM never pans out but i think if could be special....

Theopulas

SavannahBuck's picture

I dont think much of Romo either, but both Romo and Manziel put up big numbers. Neither of them ever win anything of significance. Romo can't win a playoff game. Manziel beat Alabama one time, but other than that, he beat up on the bottom tier of the SEC and a bunch of cupcakes. I would rather have a quarterback that does whats needed to win than a quarterback that puts up video game numbers and loses big games. Throw Braxton in that conversation as well. He hasn't won anything either.

Squirrel Master's picture

actually, you said that an amateur QB IS better than a pro QB, one who has been a starter for a long time and has put up some gaudy stats.

I'm not a fan of Romo either, but he does put up numbers that makes people think of him as a top 10 QB. Some pro QBs are stat mongers, ala Romo, and some are winners. Its just my personal opinion, based on what Manziel has done so far, that he will be a stat monger but not a winner. I really do think that if Manziel AVERAGES 4000 yards, 25 TDs and 10 INTs (or more) that it wouldn't surprise me. And it wouldn't surprise me if he also has a .500 record by the end of his career, with maybe a few playoff wins.

I like how so many do argue with me about wins and loses when my prediction is 3-4 wins more than the Browns average in the last 10 years. Hell, I'm saying he will make the Browns better. I'm just not going to make them the next Dynasty team with a QB that I saw make mistakes that cost games.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

theopulas's picture

your right...and i could be wrong about johnny....just making the point that regardless of the draft pick number, draftees may be better, maybe even a 6th round pick or the 22 overall or Tim Couch at #1 or Andy Luck at #1...or any in between....thanks squirrel, savannah, and all for the lively debate....

Theopulas

CowCat's picture

Romo only throws to Witten.  lol

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

Bigbutterbuckeye's picture

Hell that's the best thing he does. If I was an NFL quarterback and Witten was on my team I would throw to him a lot too.

Squirrel Master's picture

and Tom Brady was drafted in the 6th round. So you going to tell me that Manziel is a better QB than him? You are going to tell me that Manziel WILL have a better career in the NFL?

come on man! Romo has huge passing stats and does amazing things on the field. That doesn't remind you of Manziel? Romo makes mistakes that cost games. Manziel does do that!

and at least Romo has Dez Bryant to help him, Manziel won't have anyone this year but a bunch of 3rd string wideouts! So despite that defense, with Manziel and no safety outlet (i.e. Mike Evans), Browns fans should be thrilled to go 8-8.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Furious George 27's picture

Most people would consider a 6'5'' Pro Bowl TE in Cameron a pretty decent safety outlet, no? I don't mind opinions from other fans, but the least you could do is actually know who is on my team before you start making statements. I honestly don't know if Manziel will be good or not and I am not going to compare him to anyone until he takes an NFL snap. So until then you have no real basis to judge him to anyone.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

Squirrel Master's picture

you are correct Furious George, I did leave out Cameron who is very good. A very good TE, how many receptions is that? 70-80? does that make up for having no legit WR with Gordon gone for a year? I think my point is still made.

and btw, I know you are huge Browns fan but you aren't the only one who is THE fan and you don't own them. So get off the BS about "but the least you could do is actually know who is on my team before you start making statements". Alright? You argue about undrafted free agents and leftover RB from a 2-14 team as a LEGIT running game. I think you have rose colored lens on. You are aware YOUR team has won more than 8 games only twice since 1995. So for me to predict an 8-8 record is actually giving more credit than earned.

and you can hold off on comparing Manziel, fine. But many other people try. I just think the more fitting example is Romo, not Wilson, Brees or Vick.

and I do have basis, I am using his college career as basis. a player who had heisman stats and hasn't even played for his conference championship.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Furious George 27's picture

???? You're right I don't own the Browns, but I am also not making statements about a team w/out all the facts like you are doing. What makes a good debate is legitimate facts, not baseless assumptions. I couldn't give a shit if you give us 8, 16 or 0 wins. As for comparing QBs, the NFL is full of busts that have had great CFB carreers so that have done more. Good luck with that

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

-1 HS
FUqUespin's picture

Manziel is the Anti-Romo.  The players Romo takes the field with would not follow him off the titanic into the last lifeboat.  He is not a leader.

Manziel has shown leadership abilities in the two short years he's been playing.  He will grow up, and grow into leading by presence and example.  He has "It.".  Romo is a tool.

FUqU, e!spin!!

-2 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

I'm referring to style of play.

but since you went there, Romo leads his team on the field just as well as Manziel. He can drive a team down the field as easily as Manziel can, in fact he has already done it in the NFL. Something Manziel hasn't done yet, so lets hold off on the Manziel leadership stuff okay. Before we dub him a leader, lets see how he does with a bunch of Men and not a bunch of college players who are more interested in what the Head Coach says than the QB.

and lets talk about off the field leadership and comparisons. Romo and Manziel are very similar. Both like the spotlight, both want to go party and travel and be a celebrity over just playing football. Hell, there isn't another QB in the NFL that Manziel resembles more off the field than Romo! HA!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

I don't think its fair to be comparing a near 10 year veteran to someone straight out of college (early exit as well).  Just like the cheese used in Cheese its, people take time to mature.  You also should point out the fact that one of the QBs was largely unheralded at both levels, while the other grabbed all the accolades (at least in college).  You could almost jump from here to argue that one QB still had the need for the spotlight, while the other has already been there, done that.

+1 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

for comparison on the field! How many times do I have to repeat this! Compared to all the other QBs in the league, Manziel resembles Romo more than any other QB. Heisman winning stats, average record!

and sure Manziel got the Heisman trophy, for throwing for a bunch of yards. What was his record? All I know is he wasn't in the championship game his heisman year. and they had a hell of a defense that year.

the point I am making is that Manziel is good enough to be an NFL QB that gets lots of stats, and probably a few Pro Bowls. But just like in college, he won't win it all because he makes just enough mistakes. I believe my comparison is fair because I'm not saying Manziel will bust. I'm not saying Manziel will become the next Peyton Manning. I'm saying he will be good, but he will probably not have a winning record.

and we are talking about the Browns! Can you tell me the last time they were better than average? Even if Manziel kills it, the track record for him and the team aren't good.

and I will also be stunned if Manziel stops being a celebrity and trying to have fun at parties. Maybe he will just go to McDonald's parties and hang with Lebron and eat a big mac. (yeah right!)

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

In one post:

and lets talk about off the field leadership and comparisons. Romo and Manziel are very similar. Both like the spotlight, both want to go party and travel and be a celebrity over just playing football. Hell, there isn't another QB in the NFL that Manziel resembles more off the field than Romo! HA!

In the next post:

for comparison on the field! How many times do I have to repeat this! Compared to all the other QBs in the league, Manziel resembles Romo more than any other QB. Heisman winning stats, average record!

So you will have to excuse me for talking about anything off the field.  

I get your argument, and like I've said, time will tell.  My perspective is that, while it's great that you bring analysis of Manziel's performance to the table, beyond that it's a lazy perspective.  How many other QBs in the history of the NFL can you say the exact thing you're saying about Manziel about?  Most, like 75% at least, probably closer to 90%.  In modern day NFL, the QB position is the hardest position to gauge and the position where most are busts.  According to your criteria, it's nearly impossible for you to give Manziel a good review because Peyton Mannings, Drew Brees, Dan Marinos, and John Elways are great because they are so rare.  Either way, the Browns franchise can't get much worse.  8-8 would be a great year after being down since our team was taken from us.  

The way I look at Manziel is that he's a risk worth taking and if you're looking to get better, you've gotta take some risks.

Furious George 27's picture

If Manziel throws for 4000yds 25 TDs and 10 Ints the Browns are not going 8-8 especially if they have a run game simply because their defense is so much better. Those numbers would suggest a highly succesful offense and what killed the D was being on the field so much.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

Squirrel Master's picture

who is the starting running back again?

so you really feel that can't happen? Ahem..............2013 Detroit Lions!

2013 - Matthew Stafford 4600 yards, 29 TDs and 19 INTs. Defense is ranked in the upper half (Cleveland was ranked lower than them btw). They went...........drum roll...........

7-9!

and Stafford has receivers!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Crimson's picture

Hey Squirrel, I don't shit on your Chiefs.  Don't shit on my Lions.  I already know how sad they are.

+2 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

sorry man, it was the best example. I would have used KC but Alex Smith didn't throw for 4000 yards.

 

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

+1 HS
Furious George 27's picture

Sure, if Manziel throws 19 Ints instead of 10 then you're possibly looking at 8-8, 7-9..... Huge difference when you add 9 more picks to your original statement. RB is Tate, Lewis and West all of which can be more than capable of being productive. And when you say Stafford has receivers, he has Johnson much like the Browns only have/had Gordon. The rest are all 500yd receivers which the Browns have. And as stated before a defense that is on the field all game because the offense cannot move the ball is going to be worn out which leads to giving up more yards. Pretty similar to what happened to Detriot when they finished 0-4 because their offense went to crap.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

Squirrel Master's picture

did I say Manziel would throw for 4000 yards by getting them consistently throughout the year. Maybe he goes off late, after they lost a bunch of games and already out of it.

you really are picking straws man. It only takes one INT late in a tight game to be the difference in a win or a lose. Romo threw for over 500 yards and 4 TDs against Denver, but lost because he threw a late pick in a tie game.

a QB can have a great year, and the team can still be mediocre. Detroit proved that, and many others over the years. despite having a decent defense.

sorry, I forgot all about those ALL PROS in Tate, Lewis and .......who?

point is, I think Manziel has a decent year stat wise, but I don't think it will translate to the playoffs. Just like Romo!

EDIT: oh yeah, Cleveland HAD Gordon. not this year, that is what I am referring to.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Furious George 27's picture

Well, you said he would throw for 4000, 25 TDs and 10 ints..... If he is throwing 10 picks that would lead me to believe he is not losing 8 games on a late int. Sorry but if you want to change your argument add 19 picks then it changes the scenario to giving up a pick in every game with multiple picks in a few. And while as a Cheifs fan trying to act like they know everything about my team (in which you don't) You give me those stats with a legit run game and a defense that just got the other lock down CB (If Gilbert lives up to the hype). Then find me 8 losses based on that outside of your opinion?

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

Squirrel Master's picture

Alex Smith - 3300, 23, 7. they went 9-6. but you will probably say its not 4000.

Tony Romo - 3800, 31, 10. they went 8-8. but you will say their defense sucks.

Ryan Tannehill - 3900, 24, 17. they went 8-8. oh.....but 7 more INTs than what I said.

Ben Rothlisberger - 4200, 28, 14. they went 8-8. those pesky 4 extra INTs.

 

and Matthew Stafford makes 5 examples that you will have an excuse for, but in reality a QB can meet those AVERAGES and still be a mediocre team!

and a legit running game?????????  L.E.G.I.T? seriously! with a castoff backup from the 2-14 Texans, a guy who has 171 career rushing yards (Lewis) and an unsigned draft pick in West? (could you at least put Isaiah Crowell, at least he was drafted)

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Furious George 27's picture

LOL!!! The fact that you have no clue about West is why you cannot be taken seriously. You posted the hypothetical stats, not me. Now because I can make a legitimate argument with them, you want to change how the stats are interpreted and say that there is no way the Browns can do better than 8-8 because said QBs didn't do it. What is stupid on your part is that you are ignoring major factors as to why teams went 8-8..... Dallas D sucks, not just my opinion but every analyst's as well, Pittsburg had tons of injuries to start the season, MIA has no run game and Detroit had Stafford who did nothing in the final 4 games and a limited run game. So explain how my opinion is wrong if you give me 4000yds 25tds 10ints, a legit running game and a stout D, because if all 3 happen for the Browns that would put them ahead of any team you mentioned at 8-8.  Congrats on only looking at QB stats as your basis as to why all those teams were mediocre, it truly shows how little you know about those teams. Had any of those teams avoided injuries, had a run game or a competent D they wouldn't be 8-8. Sorry but I choose to have my hypothetical ints happen when the game is already won and are meaningless.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

Squirrel Master's picture

because if all 3 happen for the Browns that would put them ahead of any team you mentioned at 8-8. 

that is your mistake and what makes you look stupid, you actually think the Browns have a legit running game and a stout defense. Keep dreaming buddy! the teams I used in my example still have a better running game and defense than YOUR Browns. and "not just my opinion but every analyst's as well", and FACT!

and I have no clue about an undrafted RB from Towson? I'm aware of him, obviously you don't get sarcasm very well when I laugh at you touting an undrafted free agent rookie as a LEGIT running game.

whatever man, you should be happy with 8-8 as a Browns fan. you haven't seen that in 7 years! Maybe its because you haven't seen what an 8-8 team looks like for so long you don't know one when you see it!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Furious George 27's picture

Seriously, are you that dense? You supplied me with the QB stats all I said was you give me that with a stout D and and a legit running game and the Browns are better than your 8-8 prediction. Browns have the players to be a very good D, and they do have a  good OL to produce a productive run game. The key as always is avoiding injuries, which you still haven't figured out is what made many of the teams you listed as mediocre rather than the QB play. Sorry guy, but posting stats and saying teams were mediocre because of their QB  is the most dumb ass thing I have seen. West was drafted and was highly rated by scouts. How bout you stick to not knowing your own team rather than trying to tell Cleveland fans (who actually know who their players are) what their team is capable of. It will save you from looking stupid.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

-1 HS
d5k's picture

In the Shanahan system I highly doubt Manziel throws for more than 4k yards or runs for less than 500 yards if he starts all year.

And Tate is a more than serviceable running back.  RB's are not that important in the zone running game.

Squirrel Master's picture

the only point I am trying to make is I think Manziel will play well but I don't think he will lead this team to a surprise playoff berth. and I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up with a career .500 record. again, that is saying something for the Browns.

and yes Tate is good, but I wouldn't call the Browns running game LEGIT! My Chiefs have a LEGIT running game.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Iwearmocs's picture

As a browns fan, I would love to go 8-8.  That is all.

Squirrel Master's picture

that is what is making me crack up with Furious over there, he is getting upset because I said his team will FINALLY have a decent starting QB and will be 8-8! He should be more Curious than Furious!

I'm loving this!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Furious George 27's picture

Not sure what you are loving, everyone has made you look like an idiot so far.... But hey, maybe thats your thing.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

-1 HS
DC-town's picture

I'm somebody's bitch, thank you squirrel master

'Piss excellence' -RB

Squirrel Master's picture

hey, nobody messes with my fruit, cocktail!

 

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Tim's picture

I just hope there aren't any defenses in the NFL that are as good as LSU's, or else Manziel could be in trouble...

+3 HS
AkronBuckeye13's picture

No NFL defense could possibly be as good as any SEC defense, how dare you imply such a thing.

+9 HS
nikolajz1's picture

I really hope there aren't any defenses in the NFL that are as good as Florida's, or else Peyton could be in trouble...

Furious George 27's picture

Because no successful NFL QB has ever had a bad game in college?

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

d5k's picture

Didn't you know?  The more success you have, the more meaningful your bad games are, especially if you only had 1 or 2 in your whole career.

Curt Heinrichs's picture

You're going to stand there and tell me that changing offensive coordinators, head coaches, and all-around schemes every other season may not be the best environment for a young quarterback? 

+1 HS
Shangheyed's picture

Defense still trumps offense Haden signing an extention and getting Gilbert the no. 1 CB will make the Browns a much better defensive team this year, not championship level, but some key pieces are in place for long-term defensive success. 

The Browns are not a this year team anyway, if OL addition and RB work out as expected and things will be fine much better than last year... would be hard to be worse running the ball.

For Browns fans hope seems to abound until about game 6-7.  The Browns may have to take a QB next year, but at least this year's draft picked up some key players in positions of need.  More tools in the tool box this year, looking forward to the season and see how it all pans out.... or not.  Pick up best possible FA WR and lets play ball.

+1 HS
Earle's picture

Nice article Ross, but I don't think you answered the question...

Italics are for emphasis.

Earle's picture

Alas, I've finally fallen victim to the cursed double post.  Apologies to all.

Italics are for emphasis.

+1 HS
WiliestBuckeye's picture

As a Browns fan, I'm actually cautiously optimistic about this upcoming season. I really liked what we did in the draft, despite not getting any receivers. When your a team as bad as the Browns are you could use some more talent at practically every position, so drafting based on the best available is a much better strategy than drafting based on needs. I also like the QB we just drafted + O-coordinator pairing; it actually makes sense for once. Our defense should be good enough to keep us in games/make up for the typical rookie QB hiccups and if we actually go 8-8 like Squirrel Master predicts I will be very happy. If we go 8-8 while showing major future potential I will be ecstatic.

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."

+2 HS
Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Exactly!  I think 8-8 would be great this year.  We've got an incredibly young team and are setup well for next year's draft.  What this team needs more than anything is stability.  Get the coaches and front office in place.  Get the system setup.  Get the players.  Start to win games.  

RuGettinIt's picture

Any and all analysis of Johnny Fubar goes out the window the minute he starts throwing his classic jump balls back into the middle of the field when playing in many of the windy pro stadiums he is going to see.  Meet Johnny Pick 6....

+3 HS
CowCat's picture

True dat. He won't be playing in sunny SEC land anymore.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

Mean Mr Mustard's picture

NFL teams are starting to use some of these spread concept to create instant catch-22’s for the defense (putting an extra safety in the box hurts your vertical pass defense, the dive/ bubble screen read, etc.).

 

Negatives—1. QB gets hit a lot. 2. Back-end speed in the NFL.  NFL LB’s are big and fast while most college LB’s are big or fast.  Having a big LB that still has sideline-to-sideline speed naturally helps kill SOME of the option’s effectiveness in the NFL

Spread concepts work pretty well in the NFL in moderation.  If a team tries to use them all of the time, an NFL defense will quickly adapt

 

causeicouldntgo43's picture

Thanks Ross - this article was very relevant to anyone interested in spread concepts and their migration to pro teams like the Browns, no matter who it's headlined about. Especially since our own Buckeyes now dabble quite heavily in spread concepts, it is good to absorb all we can and I for one appreciate the knowledge.

For me, the true test of spread concepts successfully taking hold in the NFL may lie in something as simple as "Mr. Manziel, meet Mr. Shazier - he really likes it when you keep the ball and start to run" (for your life).

 

+2 HS
Fugelere's picture

Shanahan adapted some spread concepts with RGIII so I would be surprised if he didn't do the same with Manziel.  

 The team has made it clear that they plan on running the ball a lot this season.  Not that that's a bad thing since a strong running game will take the pressure off of the guy under center whether it's Hoyer or Manziel.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

I will never be convinced that any QB will "work" in Cleveland until I actually see it.

Class of 2010.

+1 HS
Groveport Heisman's picture

Rich kid from Oil money lands in one of the toughest blue collar cities in the U.S. Kid thrives off airing in out and is questioned if his body can survive NFL punishment but lands in AFC North which is known as the most grind it out  physical division in all of football(sorry sec west). Whats not to love about this kid and his story? LIGHTS... CAMERA... ACTION.

Mark my words..I don't need acceptance. I'm catching interceptions on you innocent pedestrians.

+1 HS
CowCat's picture

LOK. Toto:we're not in Kansas anymore

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

FUqUespin's picture

Cleveland isn't tough blue collar.  It is a town with idle buildings, idle workers and idle vision.  Cleveland is has been wanna be blue collar. And yeah, my family is from Ohio, and I worked in Cleveland for a while.  Great people - Just not enough of those great people because they all left.   What QB do you propose would succeed for this bum team in this town well past it's twilight.  Manziel deserved better.  If the Browns don't believe in him and the fans want some clown at QB with no belief that he can win, then let them continue to be the Chicago Cubs of pro football.  The Clowns will never win - Hope Manziel performs well, does three years and goes to a team serious about winning.

FUqU, e!spin!!

-7 HS
Go1Bucks's picture

You have no idea about what you speak in regards to Cleveland. NONE. Don't pretend to know us because you stayed for a little while.  

Go Bucks!

+3 HS
Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

So much for your claim of being a newly converted Browns fan eh?

+4 HS
Shangheyed's picture

Come to the Pound one weekend and voice your opinions, your mind will be changed immediately. 

Change your account name to clueless.

+1 HS
SavannahBuck's picture

I had a conversation with one of my members today (I'm a golf professional at a high end private sporting community outside Savannah) who is a TAMU alum, booster, and gigantic football fan. He also happens to be a Browns and Indians fan. I asked him today what he thought about the draft, and he said "The Browns are going to wish they went in a different direction. Johnny cannot be humbled, and he just doesn't get it, meaning he will never change his ways. He will not fit well in Cleveland. Oil and water." He spent some time with him at various booster events last summer. All you need to know.

+3 HS
Furious George 27's picture

So because he is a TAMU booster, alum etc.... He is the above all authority on a player he has maybe met a handful of times? We didn't need his opinion to know that he lacks maturity, we can see it and quite frankly what level of maturity was he expecting from a 20 year old whose ass he was most likely kissing? I am not a Manziel fan because of it, but I want him to succeed. And to say he will never be humbled is pretty dumb because the NFL is a humbling league. Offering an opinion is great and all but it does not mean he will be great or not only his play on the field will dictate that. So until he takes a snap we wont know.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

SavannahBuck's picture

I agree with everything you said. My point with the post is that even people who benefited greatly from having him around were put off by him. I don't know about you, but I did a great deal of maturing while in college. The same cannot be said for Manziel. The NFL WILL humble him. Of that I am certain. We will see how he handles it.

+3 HS
Furious George 27's picture

I hate his perceived maturity level, but I am not suprised by it either. Some people mature faster than others. Manziel is not the only person lacking maturity, he just happens to be more visible because of his high profile right now. Also, being a star athlete with everyone stroking your ego I can definately see why its taking him some time.  As for boosters, a lot of them have egos as well and as you said people who benefited from having him around were put off. They were looking to be apart of his fame just as much, not really upset that a booster was miffed because he felt like he desearved more respect from the star player just because of all the money he donates.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

kc_buck's picture

As a life long Steelers fan I am hoping for Cam and Ryan to sandwich lil' Johnny. The way some of yinz are going on and on about Johnny football, I half expect to hear some of yinz say that Johnny is to fast for RDS.

 

+2 HS
HotSauceCommittee's picture

Man I can't believe Tyrion went off like that during the trial. Dragons and such! Long live he North. Wait, what???? Oh! Johnny Football.

+1 HS
HotSauceCommittee's picture

In all seriousness, great breakdown here by Ross. I too hope 11W eases back on the Maziel stuff, but it is a dead time for sports.

A suggestion, is it possible to tie articles like this to our Bucks. One idea would be comparing Manziel as a spread QB to Braxton. Another, comparing Maziel to Tebow - are they both all hype and popularity or does Manziel separate himself from Tebow and how?

+1 HS
Groveport Heisman's picture

You think Tyrion is going to call upon Johnny Football to represent him in his "trial by combat"? Now that would be pretty badass.=)

Mark my words..I don't need acceptance. I'm catching interceptions on you innocent pedestrians.

+1 HS
Oneida54's picture

Actual football content versus angst over commitments. More Ross..

FUqUespin's picture

Second that.  Right on, Ross.

FUqU, e!spin!!

Go1Bucks's picture

The Answer to the Question: No, I don't think so.

Go Bucks!

I_Run_The_Dave's picture

I had a dream about Manziel recently...  I think I was working for the Browns in some capacity and had a lot of interaction with him.  During the course of the dream, we actually become good friends and I remember dreading the fact that I needed to apologize to him for all the hatred I had accumulated for him while he was in college.

I don't know if Johnny Football is going to be successful in the NFL.  I do know that he is a bit arrogant and cares nothing for the limits that people and society try to place on him -- hence his disregard for the law and public lifestyle.  However, I also know that he's a competitor and will do anything it takes to motivate his team to win.  I think both of these attributes will help him to succeed, even in Cleveland, and I think we'll see him as the starter before long, although probably not to begin the season as he will need to adapt to an NFL playbook.  And once he's given the reigns, he's going to give it his all, and he's going to motivate his team to give it their all.  Will it be enough to turn the Browns around?  I don't know.  But if he can't, I don't know that anyone could at this point.  And if he does, we'll all be standing in line to apologize to him.

-1 HS
Go1Bucks's picture

Geez, IRT Dave - there you go being all noble and such and now we have to humble ourselves and keep from hating on your lack of hate of the Manziel.  Why you trying to change us?  

 

(ps, i used italics here but I dont see them in the save)

Go Bucks!

omahabeef1337's picture

People whining about this post don't understand the bigger context: It's not really about just Manziel. It's about the evolution of the air raid and mobile QBs as we see more of both in the highest level of football.

+2 HS
Athens BuckCat's picture

Exactly! Manziel (as usual) steals the spotlight, but Ross is really exploring the way in which mobile QBS from systems that throw it all over the place fit in the NFL. And as has been said earlier, I'd rather read an article with actual football content than pure speculation about recruiting (or lack thereof) every other day

Go1Bucks's picture

Careful!  Figments of our Imagination Mascots (Brownies) are going to rise up and say we are being racist for dressing them up in Orange and Brown and showing them with Big pointy ears and pointy toes!

 

(damn- wheres the friggin italics!)

Go Bucks!

-1 HS