Last night we covered Johnny Manziel‘s pass plays breaking down each from an accuracy, progression and decision-making/timing perspectives. Following the completion of that detailed look we noted that the Manziel Hype Train might need to be slowed down just a bit. Yet it continues to roll along as he is again lauded for a his play in the pre-season and noted as a “Pre-Season Week 1 Winner” on NFL.com:
Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns: Whether or not Manziel has truly moved ahead of Brian Hoyer in the coaching staff’s eyes, Mike Pettine acknowledged Sunday that the No. 22 overall pick “has made a lot of improvements.” Pettine is leaving open the possibility that this competition will carry through the third preseason game, contrary to original expectations.
That coach Mike Pettine is saying that Manziel has improved shouldn’t be seen as a surprise. First, he has improved. It was Manziel versus the playbook. Now that he has had time in the system he seems far more comfortable. He is also far more accurate then many thought he would be coming into the league. Pettine also knows that Manziel is likely his quarterback of the future, whether that future is a Hoyer injury/bad play away or next year is unknown. Pettine isn’t likely to speak overly poorly of his future QB.
For many in the national media it seems as if the hope/goal is to get a narrative moving that Manziel is suddenly amazingly better. Yet his best plays are ones most analysts knew he could make. Rolling out of the pocket, scrambling for yardage and creating are all Manziel staples. He still needs to develop in the pocket, in his progressions and in his timing. Those are the same things that allowed him to fall all the way to #22 for the Browns to select him. If he had those coming out of college, and the other skill set he possess he likely would of been a Top 5 pick.
So was Manziel a winner? Maybe. Yet nothing the coaches, analysts or fans saw from him Saturday night was surprising. The NFL, NFL Network and NFL.com would all benefit from Manziel starting. Would he? Would the Browns? If the answer to either of those is “No” then he should not start. Long term Manziel is the Browns QB, and if developed right will be a solid to great one, nothing should be done to hinder that.
Do you see Manziel as a winner from Pre-Season Week 1 or just more hype from the media?