Note: On NNR today Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports & I previewed the Browns Panthers game including my Fab 5 picks against the spread.. The podcast is on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.
One game or for that matter three games will not prove Johnny Manziel will be a bust. But there were a number of very scarey concerns about Mazniel’s performance.
First, he will never become a good let alone great QB until he fixes his footwork. I am amazed that he is still throwing without setting his feet, squaring his shoulders, and stepping into the throw. He has had seven and a half months of professional coaching but still looks like the Texas A&M QB. He got away with that in college because in his 2 years starting faced only a handful of NFL quality defensive backs. Without solid mechanics, Manziel will never be accurate enough to be a starting NFL team QB.
His flaky mechanics were the reason I had him as a 2nd or 3rd round prospect. While a QB can have good mechanics at practice, it is a lot harder to maintain them when he is being chased by 300+ pound defensive linemen in regular season action.
Second, his decision making is seriously flawed. Part of that comes from him trusting his arm strength way too much. He sees someone open and believes he can get the ball there before the coverage catches up. But he is still seeing things from a college perspective. NFL backs are much faster and have better ball skills than even SEC players.
Third and nearly as significant is Manziel is consistently late throwing the ball. He has to be able to anticipate a receiver coming open. He can not wait until he sees him free because by the time the ball gets there his guy will be covered. He has very little anticipation and has to trust the receiver will run the pattern and get open on time. If the WR fails to do that, the pick is on him not on the QB.
Fourth, he can not depend on his legs to create time or yardage. He runs a 4.6 40. Many defensive ends run 4.5 and most linebackers run that or better. He has to understand that he can run when the play breaks down and he sees an opening. But he has to learn to slide and protect himself. He also has to have better vision running the ball.
The bottom line: The Browns need to go back to a more standard offense and dump the RG3 scheme. Manziel did not run the read option in college and looked totally unable run it quickly enough to be effective.
There are not enough hours between the horrendous loss to the Bengals and the next game to fix what is wrong with Manziel. But I will be watching to see if any of the issues we saw last week are getting better. Don’t expect the Browns to win either game against two teams that need the win to have a chance to get into the playoffs. While Manziel will not generate enough points to win these games, Brian Hoyer would not have either.
The season will end with the Browns at 7-9. Seven wins is an improvement over the last few years results. However, a lot of that came from a very weak out of division schedule. This team, as I have said for weeks, is not playoff quality. At least not yet. A couple of good drafts and major surgery on Manziel’s mechanics will help. It is anyone’s guess if the surgery will be successful. It is a long shot. But unless the Browns decide that Manziel will not become a quality QB and select a QB in the 2015 draft, Manziel will be the likely starter in 2015. Good luck with that.
That is what I think. Tell us what you think by commenting here or tweeting me @NNRonDSN.
NOTE: News, Notes and Rumors podcast are BACK. Check out our thoughts on Fridays about the games coming up and Monday on the results of the weekend. My co-host is Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports. Podcasts can be heard on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/. Thanks for your support.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/. Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.
He also edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org/.
To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.