Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report has a great in depth article looking at Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns. He starts with some of the dedicate (read: slightly crazy) fans the Browns has before going into a really solid piece:
“He’s like a son to me,” says a lifelong Browns fan who identifies herself as Pat. She has never met Manziel.
“My thinking is that Johnny can lead us to a title in just a few years, if not sooner,” says another Browns fan at camp.
It is one of the amazing things about Cleveland sports fans. The national media can beat us down and the teams we love can let us down yet here we are year after year giving our full support and dreaming big.
Manziel is a big piece of those dreams for Browns fans. The excitement of a player who has generational talent, though that talent may not translate to success on the field, has fans ready to anoint him “The Money Prince of Cleveland.” (Yep just made that one up on the spot, kinda like it though.) It is the coaches and teammates opinions that matter much more. Freeman’s report gives a good indication of how they see Johnny, MPoC (Can we make that a moniker for him?):
Players say that he doesn’t party and that, of all the Browns’ rookies, he studies the most. He’s actually fairly quiet in the locker room, even laid back, two players said.
“None of us have seen the crazy Manziel,” one player said. “All we’ve seen is the professional Manziel.”
“He’s the fastest learner I’ve ever been around,” another said.
This fits what we have heard from Manziel’s college teammates, Manziel is a true grinder when it comes to football. His personality profile fits this All In mentality. When he is off and having fun he is All In doing so. Expect big things from Manziel for much of his first 5 years in the league. Yet when on the field and in the film room he is All In as well.
Getting recognition from teammates is a key at winning over players who know real and know fake. Such an important thing for Manziel to do for teammates who have had to answer questions about his off the field prowess even before he has proved anything on the field is how he works off the field, in the film room.
Freeman’s piece does a great job of going in depth into what Manziel’s future looks like for this season and how the Browns should deploy him. While teammates and coaches have hopes for Manziel, Freeman’s piece seems to downplay his physical talent to make plays:
The more-surprising thing that players and others in the organization have noticed, is that Manziel hasn’t displayed the dazzling abilities that he did in college. They don’t see extraordinary quickness or arm strength that amazes.
“I haven’t seen anything that makes me go, ‘Wow,’ ” one player said.
I checked with players early in camp and then weeks later, and the message was the same. Manziel’s skill level hasn’t stood out.
An obvious concern as physical talent is exposed in the NFL. While film study and practice are vitally important, if he doesn’t have the raw talented needed to succeed he will join a long line of failed “Franchise QBs” in Browns history. If the Browns brass have the same concerns it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them connected to a top level QB next year if either their or the Buffalo Bills first round pick is in the Top 5.
More excited or concerned after seeing Freeman’s write up on Manziel?