It’s hard to believe that so many people have decided to give up on Johnny Manziel after a whopping six quarters of playing time. Both fans and the media, local and national, have declared the Manziel era over after just two starts.
For what its worth, we did not advocate taking the former Heisman Trophy winner with the fourth overall pick in the draft, and we were ambivalent about selecting him at #22. If there was a quarterback to be had, we wanted Jimmy Garoppolo, who New England took in the second round.
However, it is ridiculous to dismiss Manziel after such limited playing time.
It is our opinion that the Browns contributed to the slow transition for the rookie signal caller by not teaching him to be a professional quarterback from the moment he became a member of the organization.
By this we mean they kept talking about his “skill set” and the “Johnny package”. Is Manziel a good athlete? Yes. Can he move and run the football if pressured? Yes. But, to use read option plays and designed runs didn’t help his development. And that’s on the Browns.
They should have told him they were going to train him to be an NFL quarterback, meaning dropping back, reading the defense, planting your back foot, and throwing the football.
If that’s what they tried to do, and the pupil wasn’t willing to listen, then there is another problem, and that one may not be able to be fixed.
But we think the offensive coaches looked at Manziel as a toy, something to play with, instead of teaching him how to make plays in the pocket. And when Brian Hoyer’s play started to subside, they had to change signal callers, and the rookie wasn’t ready.
So, how does he get ready?
That starts with Manziel’s meeting with the coaches when the season ends. They have to find out if the rookie is ready to put the time in to be a successful NFL quarterback. If that answer is yes, then they should tell him this is the course of action following some time off. By the way, we would tell him to keep a lower profile during his time off.
Next, we would tell him after his time off, that it is time to move to Cleveland and be around the training facility as much as he can. If we wants to continue working with George Whitfield, his personal coach, that’s fine, but he should be taking the time he needs to learn his craft.
When it is time to work with the coaches again, he should be heavily involved with Kyle Shanahan and Dowell Loggains working on the things he needs to do to be the starter when the season opens next year.
If Manziel is the competitor he is reported to be, this shouldn’t be a problem for him. He should be burning to show these two starts are not indicative of his performance level.
Both parties have to change for this to work. Manziel has to start settling down and also needs to eliminate his urge to leave the pocket at the first sign of trouble.
The Browns need to stop treating their first round pick as a circus act and start educating on what needs to be done to be a winning quarterback in the NFL.
Why not try this before looking for another rookie passer in this year’s draft?