Tracking Johnny Manziel’s Pre-Season Passes


On the morning of the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers opening up our season we want to put a quick bow on the Johnny Manziel off-season. While Mike Pettine has stated that a package for Manziel is possible against the Steelers, we have no expectations that he will be on the field for more than 2 or 3 plays, barring injury. Brian Hoyer had a bad pre-season and Manziel wasn’t good enough to beat him out. That means the coaching staff sees a good amount that Manziel needs to work on. Likely that is still true today, opening day of the season for the Browns.

The other reason for this article is to introduce you to Draft Breakdown (New Window) if you haven’t been exposed yet. DB does a great job of putting videos together and other wonderful things to help us prepare for the draft. Wander around their site or just put in a players name from the last few years and they are bound to have great videos for you to watch and study. They also broke down all of the rookie quarterbacks from this pre-season into chart form, including Manziel’s here (New Window).

Here is a picture of their charting from that page. Some interesting numbers pop out:

The top box is all of Manziel’s throws from the pre-season combined. But we will first start with each individual games and what stood out to us. First, like any site, there is a mistake in the Rams tracking as he was 10-15 that game, the one at the line of scrimmage (LOS) may have been a backwards pass. So we will ignore that box. A lot of red on the screen with only 3 passes beyond 20 yards, all in the game against the Bears. The Redskins and Bears games show struggles all over the field. Some of the red is just based on lack of passes. He was 0 for 1 or 1 for 2 in a few of those areas.

A big different than his time is college is the lack of throws at the line of scrimmage. At Texas A&M he threw receiver screens that got the ball out of his hands quickly. If not a quick throw Manziel would then often hold the ball and look to make big throws down the field. The two areas that he has the most comfort in, weren’t a big part of what he did during the pre-season. That could help explain his struggles but also be a sign of the Browns trying to force him to develop to all areas of the field. The two wobbly ducks he threw deep left in the Bears game were concerning.

Overall these charts do not tell the whole story but they do produce an interesting picture for us to look at. Hopefully DB continues to do such charting for us throughout the season, for both Hoyer and Manziel, because the information is priceless.

What do you see when you look at his charts?