Manziel A Mistake?

When the Cleveland Browns selected Johnny Manziel in the 2014 NFL Draft, they were well aware of the attention he brought with him. However, they must have felt that his on-field ability was worth the circus "Money Manziel" came with it to make him a first round pick. 

It was well known that Manziel was far from conventional in his play, and as expected, his lack of adjustment to the pro-style offense was exposed a great deal last season. Comfort in the pro-style offense comes with time, but it seems the Browns continue to feel that Manziel is worth the wait because of his big play potential and star quality.

However, we already know star quality does not win football games by itself. Although Manziel's big play potential was his biggest selling point during the draft process, it probably should have been that very selling point to raise the red flags for teams with potential interest in him. In fact, one of the most defining plays of his college career highlights the lack of feel Manziel has for playing the quarterback position, regardless of system.


Although this was an exciting play to watch, this certainly wasn't the ideal play A&M had drawn up. First of all, Manziel completely missed #5 Kenric McNeal on the play. All three defensive backs at the top of the screen had dropped to the far left of the end zone leaving no defender to account for McNeal in the middle of the field. At 0:33 in the video above you can see McNeal begin to come across the field and break wide open for what would have been a sure-fire touchdown. However because of Manziel's compulsion to run, he tucked the ball in less than two seconds of receiving the snap, giving the play no chance to develop. There was absolutely no imminent pressure that could have prompted him to attempt to scramble prematurely as he stood in a very clean pocket. 

Even if there were a reason to run on this play, Manziel showed poor vision as a runner as he ran straight into his right tackle who was being pushed backwards. Manziel chose this route instead of a much safer route made clear by a double team of the left guard and center on the left side Alabama defensive tackle, sealing off a large gaping running lane between #61 and #70, as you can see at 0:34 in the video.

This rushing attempt became even worse as he recklessly carried the ball in traffic and fumbled it as a result, only lucky enough to regain possession. He then made the horrible decision of throwing against the grain when running to the left, although credit must be given to his great athletic ability to allow him to complete that pass.

However, this does not excuse his complete lack of awareness and recklessness with the ball. On this one play alone, he not only showed a compulsion to scramble prematurely and unnecessarily, but he also showed his lack of patience and vision as well as recklessness as both a passer and runner. If Manziel's tendencies continue to keep him from executing relatively simple plays with clean pockets, it is hard to say he will be able to develop into a legitimate NFL quarterback despite his physical abilities. 

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