Yeah, But Can He Make It in the Pros?

Johnny Manziel lacks the arm strength, the build and the choir-boy image, but watch him shred Nick Saban’s Alabama defense and it’s clear he has a future in today’s NFL

By
Greg A. Bedard
· More from Greg·
(John W. McDonough/Sports Illustrated)
Even though his Aggies lost on Saturday, Manziel finished with 562 yards of total offense—second in SEC history to the 576 he put up against Louisiana Tech last season. (John W. McDonough/Sports Illustrated)

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Nearly an hour and a half after top-ranked Alabama had finally rid itself of No. 6 Texas A&M with a 49-42 victory on Saturday, well after five buses filled with Crimson Tide players, coaches and support staff left for the airport, Nick Saban finally emerged from the cramped visitor’s locker room at Kyle Field.

After doing several interviews—all in the name of recruiting—Saban had cleaned up and looked as sharp as ever. He wore a red tie, a tweed sports coat and beige slacks, and his hair was neat yet still a little damp in the hot and humid late afternoon sun beating down on East Texas. But even a refreshing shower couldn’t mask the toll of the 210-minute battle that had just taken place. Away from the throngs, the coach who has always looked much younger than his age—especially when I covered his NFL foray with the Miami Dolphins in 2005 and ’06—now for the first time looked his 61 years. The lines ran deeper in Saban’s face, and his eyes were glassy. He looked whipped, as if he had just spent 12 rounds chasing Floyd Mayweather around a boxing ring.

In some ways, Saban had. Despite devoting countless film sessions, chalkboard talks and practices over several months to preparation for this very game, the man whom New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick consults about defense watched Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel make Alabama’s NFL prospect-filled, precision-drilled defense look like the Washington Generals.

 Saban made eye contact to make sure his point would be understood. ‘I think Johnny’s a unique player,’ he said. ‘I do think he has an NFL future.’

By the time it was over Manziel had racked up 562 total yards—second only in SEC annals to the 576 he had against Louisiana Tech last year—and the Crimson Tide had given up the most yards (628) in its mostly glorious 122-year history of playing the sport. Last November, Manziel handed Alabama its only loss, a 29-24 defeat at home in which he threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns and ran 18 times for 92 more yards. Forget about stopping him; Saban couldn’t even slow him down. Last weekend Manziel threw for 464 yards and four TDs, and added another 98 on the ground.

Sweet Georgia Brown.

The season will play out for the Crimson Tide and Aggies. But the future is already calling for Manziel, the 2012 Heisman winner, who as a third-year sophomore this season would be eligible for the NFL draft next May. It leads to one natural question to ask of Saban: Do Manziel’s talents translate to the pro game?

Saban paused a moment, put his bags down and made eye contact to make sure his point would be understood. “I think Johnny’s a unique player,” he said. “Many people have said about these guys, like [Robert Griffin III], that they’re not really NFL-style quarterbacks. But yet they’re all doing pretty well in the NFL.

“I think when somebody’s as instinctive as [Manziel] is, and as fast as he is, and as athletic as he is, and he’s developing into a pretty good passer—I mean last year he really developed as a passer—I do think he has an NFL future.”

* * *

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Unorthodox and seemingly impossible to bring down at times, Manziel still has to convince NFL scouts he can be a pocket passer. (John W. McDonough/Sports Illustrated)

I flew halfway across country to size up Manziel personally on Saturday. Since the NFL season keeps me busy, I don’t watch much college football. But I had seen parts of a few games and knew Manziel had a tremendous season last year as a redshirt freshman. We all know he’s gotten in a little trouble during his college career and that he has a Tim Tebow-like spotlight on him. That was about the extent of my Johnny Football knowledge before I drove through cattle fields from Houston to College Station.

But I do have intimate knowledge of NFL quarterbacking—the good, the bad and the hide-your-eyes terrible. I grew up in South Florida watching Dan Marino at the Orange Bowl and Whatever-That-Other-Stadium-Is-Called-At-The-Moment. I then did my penance by covering 11 of the 17 mostly forgettable quarterbacks after Marino: Jay Fiedler, Ray Lucas, Brian Griese, A.J. Feeley, Sage Rosenfels, Gus Frerotte, Joey Harrington, Daunte Culpepper, Cleo Lemon, Trent Green and John Beck. When I left Florida for Wisconsin and then the Boston area, I again witnessed greatness in the form of Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, though there were sobering doses of Brian Brohm, Matt Flynn, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett and, yes, Tebow. I’ve seen first-hand and have a very good handle on the spectrum of NFL quarterbacks.

The Draft Board

Alabama vs. Texas A&M didn't just live up to the hype, it also had major ramifications in Andy Staples' Top 50 prospects rankings.

Given that history, and my love of film study, I came away with an undeniable feeling after watching Manziel in person and again on tape: He is definitely an NFL quarterback in today’s NFL. Ten years ago we might not have had this conversation, but the game has evolved.

Manziel might not have the prototype size, the arm strength or the preferred don’t-make-a-mistake persona, but he has enough of everything to play at the next level. Some might disagree, because he doesn’t resemble Brady, Rodgers or Peyton Manning. And that’s fine. Maybe I’ll be wrong. Maybe he’ll combust in the unforgiving spotlight before he does anything of substance in the NFL. But to dismiss Manziel as having no NFL future is a mistake, one that ignores how the game has evolved. Sleek and mobile quarterbacks will inherit the gridiron because statuesque pocket passers are becoming dinosaurs at the college level, and where else can the NFL get its QBs?

Saban has almost always been able to exploit the weakness of a player in their subsequent meeting who initially got the better of him. But he did worse against Manziel in the rematch.

I went down to the field before the game to size up Manziel for myself, the way pro scouts do when they visit campus. The interest in Manziel’s first official measurement is so fervent it could be broadcast on TV, like LeBron James’ Decision. “I don’t know tall he’s going to be,” an AFC general manager who could be in the market for a quarterback told me. “That’s going to be a concern, I think.”

I had been told by a few colleagues in the media that I would be underwhelmed by Manziel’s size, which is listed at 6-1 and 210 pounds. He appeared to be at least 6 feet, maybe 6-1 with his cleats on.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who was measured at 5-10 5/8ths at the 2012 combine, is thought to be at the lower limit of height for an NFL quarterback. Like Wilson, Manziel appears to have large hands and long arms for his stature, both of which are important measurements to scouts. One NFC director of college scouting remarked about Manziel’s large feet, which help give him a tremendous base and balance on the run.

“If he’s 6 feet or over, I think he’s definitely going to be a guy who’s draftable, and with the success and production he’s had, shoot, he could be a high pick,” an AFC assistant director of college scouting says. “I never would have thought that before this season. I thought he was like a 5-10 guy just running around.”

There’s also the speed element. Wilson was clocked at 4.55 seconds in the 40-yard dash coming out of Wisconsin. Most scouts feel Manziel can at least match that. San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick ran a 4.53 out of Nevada.

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In Texas A&M’s season-opening win over Rice, Manziel brought some of his off-field issues into the spotlight with a show-me-the-money gesture. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Wilson has a stronger arm and handles himself better in the pocket than Manziel, but overall they’re very similar players. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll thought Wilson was too short for the NFL, even after general manager John Schneider drafted him. But from Wilson’s college tape to his NFL practices, Carroll looked hard to see whether batted passes would be an issue. “It’s not a factor,” Carroll says. “It’s natural instinct and awareness. [Wilson] knows whether he’s got the opportunity to throw the ball or not based on what he’s seeing and feeling. So if it isn’t there, he just moves or changes the angle of the throw or goes somewhere else with the football.” Manziel is the exact same way.

He and Wilson also share one of the most important traits in determining whether or not a quarterback will succeed in the pros: in the face of a pass rush, is the player calm? Does he stand in the pocket, deliver the ball and take a hit—or is does the pressure alter his mechanics, both in footwork and arm angle? Manziel remains tranquil in the midst of a driving storm. He never looks at the rush, his eyes are always downfield; he has a tremendous feel for what’s going on around him; and he doesn’t bolt from the pocket unless he has to. Manziel is a pocket passer.

And yet, he’s probably at his best when he’s on the move. “When chaos erupts—when everything breaks down and chaos begins—and he runs around, that’s his moment,” the AFC general manager says. “Is he a pure pocket passer? No. Does he have some athleticism to beat you with his feet and stuff? Yeah.”

Manziel will probably never wow anyone with his arm strength, but his velocity is better than what he’s been given credit for. Former Browns general manager Phil Savage, who has watched seven game films of Manziel and seen him twice live as Alabama’s radio color analyst, agrees with Saban that Manziel—who doesn’t turn 21 until Dec. 6—has improved as a passer. “The bottom line is he threw the ball down the field, and it was accurate and in stride,” said Savage, who is also the director of the Senior Bowl.

Manziel made four pro-caliber throws against Alabama on Saturday:

  • With 8:24 left in the first quarter, he threw a frozen rope to the sideline, 30 yards through the air, over a cornerback and ahead of a charging safety.
  • On the touchdown that made it 42-28 in the fourth quarter, Manziel moved the safety with his eyes and then quickly unleashed a 23-yard laser for the score.
  • The 95-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter that was thrown 44 yards in the air and hit receiver Mike Evans in nearly perfect stride.
  • And the final touchdown, officially four yards, which was thrown from the far right hash to the left corner of the end zone over tight coverage, to a spot where only his receiver could catch it.

manziel-saban-with-records800For the final drive, I moved from the press box to field level to see Manziel in action up close. It only reinforced what was already evident: he has a natural feel for the game like few others have. From knowing when to leave the pocket, from feeling someone closing in on his blind side, from anticipating where his receivers and the defenders will go next, from evading direct hits and delivering the ball with a naturally quick, snap-like motion—Johnny Football knows how to play the game.

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Manziel showed he’s comfortable standing his ground and keeping his eyes on downfield receivers as pressure closes in. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

“Best point guard in college football,” Savage said. “He’s got eight eyeballs.”

Of course, the off-field concerns about Manziel will be thoroughly vetted by NFL teams. Watching him on the sideline—pro scouts study this as well—he seems to be well-liked by teammates and invested in the game. He didn’t sulk when the Aggies trailed by as many as three touchdowns, and he appears to be every bit the leader that his position requires. Manziel’s teammates seem to believe in him and his abilities.

And, finally, there’s the production. “He’s in the toughest conference in the nation, and the production that he’s had in that conference and against the best team in the country [Alabama]—he just dices them up—he made it look easy,” the AFC assistant scouting director says. “That definitely has to be in the equation.”

Be it Tebow at Florida, or Tyrann Mathieu at LSU, Saban has almost always been able to exploit the weakness of a player in their subsequent meeting who initially got the better of him. Despite changing from soft zone to five rushers and press coverage, Saban did worse against Manziel in the rematch. “He’s the only player I can recall who has been able to do that,” Savage said. “There’s something to him.”

Actually, another player had similar success. A certain Purdue quarterback, standing just a half-inch over six feet, threw for 196 yards and two touchdowns to beat Saban’s Michigan State team in 1998, and then had 509 yards and five touchdowns as the Boilermakers stunned the No. 7 Spartans in their next meeting. You know that player as Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

* * *

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In 2012, the Heisman winner completed 68.0% of his throws for 3,706 yards and 26 touchdowns; he also rushed 201 times for 1,410 yards. (Henny Ray Abrams/AP)

Because of concerns about Manziel’s playing style or about off-field distractions, not all 32 teams might consider him draftable. “Do I think he’s a legit NFL quarterback?” the AFC GM said. “I say no. He doesn’t do enough in the pocket.”

But teams that incorporate more college-football aspects (read-option, pistol and uptempo) will study Manziel intently through his decision to stay in school or enter the draft. Some at Texas A&M don’t think it’s quite a slam dunk that Manziel will turn pro. Unlike Alabama, the Aggies aren’t going to be hit hard by a large pro migration; they would return most of their team in 2014 and would likely be a national title contender for the first time in years. Then again, it’s difficult to imagine Manziel choosing to stay given his apparent restlessness. We all know about his tweet from June in which he said he “can’t wait to leave” College Station—just one of the many headlines he made away from the field.

He lacks the prototypical height, arm strength and choir-boy image. But Manziel’s talents are vast and difficult to stop.

“I would have to admit that I was one of those people who were just turned off by all the news about him in the off-season,” says the AFC assistant director of college scouting. “But when you separate it and you think about it—I did some stupid stuff when I was his age—he’s just being a kid. He just happens to play for a high-profile team at the most high-profile position.

“He just makes plays. He has that knack, that natural feel to just make plays. I’m impressed with the guy. He doesn’t flinch, he’s not intimidated. There’s no moment that seems too big for him.”

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With NFL offenses gravitating toward the college game, it’s a no-brainer that Johnny Football will make the jump to the NFL. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

To thrive in the NFL, Manziel is going to have to land with a team that rates athletic ability highly among the traits it desires in a quarterback. It just so happens that two coaches who prefer that style of play, the Eagles’ Chip Kelly and the 49ers’ Jim Harbaugh, have intimate knowledge of Manziel. Both offered him scholarships out of high school, to Oregon and Stanford, respectively. Before he wound up in College Station, Manziel originally committed to Kelly and the Ducks.

“I diagrammed some of my favorite plays at Tivy [High], and one of the Oregon coaches said, ‘We literally run the exact same offense with different terminology,’ ” Manziel told the San Antonio Express-News three years ago. “Coach Kelly said I was perfect for their system, and I knew I was going to accept as soon as they offered.”

Manziel later decided Oregon was too far from his hometown of Kerrville, Texas, about three and a half hours from College Station. But given Manziel’s talents and Kelly’s uptempo, frenetic offense, a Manziel-Kelly reunion would be blissful. “Oh my gosh. He would be the prototype,” an NFC general manager says.

Kelly, for one, has been a recent admirer of Manziel’s game. “You’re not coaching that,” Kelly told USA Today last year while he was still at Oregon. “But if a guy has that kind of ability, you’re not gonna tell him to stop. He just goes… He’s fun to watch. He’s great for football.”

Why can’t that translate to the pros? If the future of the NFL has arrived in the form of college offenses taking root in Philadelphia, Washington, San Francisco, Buffalo and Seattle, that can only mean that Manziel will as well. He lacks the prototypical height, arm strength and choir-boy image. But his talents are vast and difficult to stop, even with months to prepare and defensive talent to burn. Just ask Nick Saban. Johnny Football will be going to the NFL. The only real questions are when, where and for how long?

More from The MMQB
120 comments
Fred Bailey
Fred Bailey

I hope, it comes down to Alabama vs Oregon then maybe you people will go away for a while. There really is no comparison in the teams but whatever keep your dream alive.  Oregon could not beat any of the top three or four SEC teams.

BoHunk
BoHunk

Ah, yes... more of the "SEC - toughest conference in college football" mantra. 

A conference so tough that only D-II foes are granted the privilege of competing against it....

humdrumdrumhumming
humdrumdrumhumming

"Saban made eye contact to make sure his point would be understood. ‘I think Johnny’s a unique player,’ he said. ‘I do think he has an NFL future."


congratulations Johnny Football, he's an excellent judge of NFL talent


This is the same Nick Saban who said this about Rolando McClain --- right???


"Rolando McClain is one of the finest football players I have ever had the opportunity to coach. He is also a great leader and an outstanding young man who will be a tremendous asset to the Oakland Raiders organization. The University of Alabama appreciates all he did as a person, student and a football player in his time at the University and I’m sure he will be a wonderful ambassador for our football program in the future. We are pleased and happy for Rolando and his family and we wish him well in all his future endeavors. Rolando will always be a part of the Crimson Tide family."




crashtx1
crashtx1

Oh boy, another QB that's going to redefine the position in the NFL. Until he gets his head knocked off.

BenNye
BenNye

Manzeil will be going to the browns. That sounds like thier plan trade up for number one overall and pick him up.

skanee00
skanee00

He's a terrific athlete but he won't have a long career running a spread option in the pros.

Root66
Root66

Saban came short in the rematch...

Except for one stat...the final score. Which is the only stat that matters.

rwidger
rwidger

I counted 5 TD passes from Johnny last week.  Anyone else?

j7apple
j7apple

I feel bad for the starting QB for whatever team drafts Manziel, and Yes, some team will draft him.  it   will be the Tebow circus all over, calling for him to play after the first loss...Good luck whoever picks him..probably the anti Tebow no less.....

NeedARealGM
NeedARealGM

Manziel will go in the first round next year, possibly top 5, because teams and NFL scouts chase the trends, not necessarily the talent.  His arm strength is suspect which means he'll have trouble throwing the 18 to 22 yard out pattern and every QB that struggles with that is picked off regularly, but again he's the trend of today, option QB that runs a lot.  Being drafted high doesn't mean he'll make it....Vince Young, Brady Quinn, Ryan Leaf, Mark Sanchez, Matt Leinert....all glamorous high first round picks....Kolin Kaepernick and Andy Dalton were late 2nd round, Russell Wilson and Matt Schaub middle 3rd round and of course, Tom Brady, 6th round.  So tell me, do NFL teams and scouts really know what they're looking at? Manziel will go top 5 next year but I don't hold much hope for the success or longevity of his dog and pony show in the NFL. 

JordanEngland
JordanEngland

He will crash and burn in the NFL. There are guys way bigger then the ones he is facing now. More experienced, and will get him pretty good when he makes a mistake. After the Crimson Tide and Texas A&M game on saturday i rewinds and watched a few plays, he does run and he can put a ball in te receivers hands. He is good dont get me wrong. But, that ONE lucky play he got off would have ended in a catastrify and a big turnover for throwing the ball in the air like that. Either way, if he does make it, i see him getting into a lot of trouble of te field

mashley278
mashley278

I've watched him play numerous times, so let's start with the two Alabama games: How many of those plays were designed? Passing and running? For instance, in Saturday's game, Alabama had him sacked 20+ yards behind the line of scrimmage, he just threw it up in the air into a crowd of people and an A&M receiver grabbed it. Last year, near the goal line, the ball in snapped, bobbled and it landed perfectly back in his hands. CJ Moseley went for the fumble, left his man open and they scored. That stuff doesn't happen in the NFL, as SO many players have figured out. Now, his size: he's no Cam Newton or RGIII. He's a pee wee. Listed at 6'0 200, he'll show up to the combine and measure out at 5'10 and 196. That doesn't bode well for his running in the NFL. So he has to become a pocket passer, which pretty much takes away his gifts, scrambling to find someone after the coverage breaks down. What offense? Right now TAMU has specifically designed their offense for him. When he scrambles, receivers have designed routes to run after the play breaks down. I don't know throwing mechanics well enough to judge, but I can say the guy never sets his feet which means INTERCEPTION. Bama got him twice...with their top CB out of the game and one of the worst secondaries they have had in Saban's tenure. What is Revis going to do to him?

BillRice
BillRice

I'm an Alabama fan who expected JF to put up even bigger numbers this year, even against my team. Why wouldn't he? He's had a year of experience. He is a little bigger and stronger. He's worked with a top QB guru. And despite all of the distractions he's clearly at home on the field and thrives on competition. I think he's proven that he is an extremely accurate passer. He also is very smart in the way he plays the position. He will look off a DB. Does 't lock onto his receiver from snap. That's the greatest predictor of QB success IMO. Very poised in pocket. hard to tackle or get a god lick on.

JMillerNC
JMillerNC

Greg Bedard, you wrote:  Despite changing from soft zone to five rushers and press coverage, Saban did worse against Manziel in the rematch. “He’s the only player I can recall who has been able to do that,” Savage said.

What Savage misses is that Johnny Manziel didn't "do that" - Texas A&M did that.  It took 10 other players on offense, coaches, hours of film study and game planning, and remarkable team-wide execution for Johnny Manziel to "do that".  Johnny Football is incredible, but put Manziel out there all alone up against even a high school defense and he'd get killed.  

I'm no Aggie fan (heck, I'm a UVA fan - pity me!) but we have to give credit where it is due: the Aggie coaching staff and team did an incredible job against an incredible Alabama team.  Johnny Manziel made their job much easier, but it still took the whole team to help Johnny shine.

jomolungma
jomolungma

Sixty percent of Manziel's passing yards against Alabama were to Mike Evans, a 6' 5" wide receiver who was at least 5" taller than any DB that covered him in the game.  There was a lot of "throw it up for Mike" going on.  A lot of folks are saying "Wow, look what Manziel did to that Nick Saban defense!"  Well, if Nick Saban had 6' 5" corner backs, or Manziel was throwing to 6' receivers, things might have been a touch different.

btcvsolo
btcvsolo

I don't particularly care one way or another, but would say unlikely. It simply isn't the same game....


rskins09
rskins09

TV announcer said something interesting during the game ..Said he's never seen a QB that can throw off balance better Manziel..I was pulling for Alabama but was very impressed with Manziel ... He's got it all ...Remember , Alabama has one of the best defenses in the country ...

FredFlintsone
FredFlintsone

Any QB that  can put up almost 600 yards offense vs no 1 team in the country including  a dart while in the grasp off his back foot for a completion has a future in the NFL

only1H1
only1H1

barring a set back, manziel will be the eagles 1sr rd pick next may. book it

DavidWitcraft
DavidWitcraft

I haven't seen a QB with his pocket poise and ability to see the field since Joe Montana. Manziel is a Montana with running ability and maybe a little less arm. The NFL isn't a 50 yard bomb league anymore. He can make the throws NFL teams use on a regular basis. He's WAYYYYYYYY better than Newton, and he's been holding down an NFL gig for too long now! There are almost a dozen NFL teams Manziel would make better, just by walking in the door!

cdawg
cdawg

@BoHunk ya. Oregon's schedule in the last 3 weeks has been much tougher than Alabama's...

drax
drax

@Root66 That's because the Aggie defense is miserable, not because of anything Saban was able to do to stop the Aggie offense.

RichardStorm
RichardStorm

@j7apple Uh, Johnny is a much better passer than Tebow is....Johnny can drop the ball on a moving dime from 50 yards away. Tebow couldn't  hit the broadside of a motionless barn to save his mamma.  :p  So, their calls for Johnny to start would be warranted.  

RichardStorm
RichardStorm

@NeedARealGM Yeah, because you know so much more than the professionals do...  ;)   His arm strength is suspect, huh? Where do you get that crap from, ESPN??  From what most of the world has seen, his arm strength is good enough....Plus, he's only a sophomore...He WILL improve...So will his arm strength....

AnthonyAdams
AnthonyAdams

@NeedARealGM Let's be serious. We've all seen the velocity he can put on the ball. Unless some strange coach has him throwing 30+ yard outs off his back foot, the rotation and velocity he puts on the ball should help him on those outside throws.

theboneman21
theboneman21

@JordanEngland 

He will crash and burn in the NFL. There are guys way bigger then the ones he is facing now. More experienced, and will get him pretty good when he makes a mistake. - Well, we all know Bama and the Southeast in general aren't where a lot of the NFL freaks come from.

He is good dont get me wrong. But, that ONE lucky play he got off would have ended in a catastrify and a big turnover for throwing the ball in the air like that. - We all know you can't win with that type of play. It's not as if  a QB out of Southern Mississippi in the 90s ever won a Super Bowl or became the all time leader in almost every imaginable passing category playing a "reckless" style. Or it's not as if the younger brother of a hall of famer came out of Ole Miss and played reckless and won two Super Bowls, largely because of low percentage plays into coverage.

theboneman21
theboneman21

@mashley278 You sound like someone who hates him and is spewing out whatever cliches are possible for why you mask your desire for him to fail as why you believe he will fail.

NFL QBs who have caught their own passes include:

Aaron Rodgers - loss of Yards

Steve Young -  6 yard gain


Brad Johnson - TD


What do they all have in common ? Ok so they all played in West Coast offenses but they also sport that coveted piece of jewelry that goes around one's finger. Lucky plays? Of course. But guess what ? The best QBs have a lot of luck; it's part of what makes them the best, the willingness to take the chance in the first place.It's akin to the old adage of a boxer having a "puncher's chance" then people saying "oh, he won on a lucky punch" Really? His arm just involuntarily just flung itself outward and hit the opponent ?


As for the whole pocket passer thing, are you paying attention? The glorified dart player style of QB is fading and fading quickly. The athletic QB is taking over. His high risk throws are no different than the antics of Favre in his day or even Eli Manning now on occasion.


And sorry to say TAMU has NOT "specifically designed their offense for him" - Kevin Sumlin's version of the Air Raid is Kevin Sumlin's version of the Air Raid. it is the same offense he ran last year that Manziel wont the competition for. Mazniel runs the offense as it was designed, not the other way around. He just has the mobility to buy time and his receivers are instructed to find the soft spot if the ball isn't in the air by the time they reach their destinations That's what EVERY offense teaches.

drax
drax

@mashley278 Every team practices scramble drills.  You're basing his style and performance in the two games against Alabama based on two broken down plays out of >100 plays?  Those two plays were most certainly outliers.  All the plays where he and Mike Evans torched the Alabama corners were all out of the pocket on designed routes.  As for the two interceptions, one was a poorly thrown ball in the endzone, and the other bounced straight into the air off a defender's helmet.... a ball that could just have easily deflected to the ground.

theboneman21
theboneman21

@JMillerNC So he is that good that he planned his scrambles in such a way to lure them into positions to make things happen ?

Of course it's a team game. We all know that. But that was HIS feet buying time and his arm making throws and no amount of tape and study can instruct that. Mike Evans is awesome but you know what? Maybe Mike Evans doesn't put up the numbers he puts up with a traditional QB because maybe that QB is sacked instead of getting the throws off.  And Those receivers have more room to move because you can't drop your LBs into coverage because of the running factor so you end up, in the Air Raid, with one on one matchups all over the place. Then accuracy becomes the factor and guess what? He's pretty darn accurate.


Stop looking for reasons to bash for the sake of bashing and give the guy some credit. yeah he's a goofy kid but the guy can play and is a borderline transcendent talent like Bush, Young, Harvin etc.


*Cue the chrorus of "how did those guys fare in the NFL?* comments.*


mashley278
mashley278

@jomolungma and he did it with Alabama's #1 CB out of the game, and with one of the worst secondaries Saban has had at Alabama.

AnthonyAdams
AnthonyAdams

@btcvsolo I will disagree on one point. The Redskins, Eagles, and (to an extent) the Chargers all exist offensively. All running offenses that parallel college offenses. (Not quite the stereotypical spread in SD's case, though.)

Tommy K
Tommy K

@rskins09 similar feelings... not a fan of either school, was pulling for Saban, but was impressed by Manziel, despite him being a prick... the kid has talent 

mashley278
mashley278

@only1H1 and then end up a paraplegic trying to run the ball. He's a shrimp, he's not Cam Newton

rskins09
rskins09

@DavidWitcraft    I agree, but never was impressed with Montana's  arm strength ..Accuracy yes ....Manziel has it all ..Wish PFW was still in business ..And what  Nolan Nawrocki  would say about him ...Nawrocki  always did his homework ..

liquidmuse3
liquidmuse3

@DavidWitcraft The hell are you talking about, no offense...Cam Newton has a career 85.4 QB rating...Andrew Luck is at 78.4...should we bench Andrew /Luck too?

crashtx1
crashtx1

@theboneman21 @JordanEngland The best defensive player for BAMA will be a bit player in the NLF. He has no idea what he's going to face. Who knows, maybe he's the one guy that will defy the odds, but I doubt it.

JMillerNC
JMillerNC

@theboneman21 @JMillerNC   You wrote: "Stop looking for reasons to bash...."


Dude, where did I bash Manziel??  What the heck are you reading?

My comments are directed at what Savage said, as quoted in Bedard's article.  It is foolish to credit one man on a football team for beating another team.  As I wrote "Johnny Football is incredible..."; but everyone knows that one man cannot beat 11 men.  If Manziel was playing for Georgia State, would we even be talking about him?  Of course not.

My one and only point remains: I don't care if you're Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Jim Brown, or Johnny Football, one man does not a football team make.  One man can make that team MUCH BETTER, but for Savage to say "He's the only player...who did that..." misses the incredibly-important point that this is a TEAM game, no matter who your superstar is.

Go back and re-read what I wrote, Boneman, and tell me where I bashed the kid.  If you're going to hate the bashers (which I totally understand), comment on someone's point who is actually bashing the kid.

theboneman21
theboneman21

@mashley278 @jomolungma I guess those 80 + catches and 1,000 plus yards last year were all just chuck it up plays against smaller dbs eh ?


LOL this is great.


Reminds me of the people lining up with a notebook of excuses for why Mike Tyson lost to Buster Douglas. It couldn't be because the other guy was better at something; it HAD to be the juggernaut pooped the bed in some way.

Saban doesn't have a a defensive answer for Manziel or Sumlin's offense yet. It's as simple as that. He might figure it out before he retires. Or Sumlin might just have Saban's number. That happens too, you know, someone having someone's number. Remember Spurrier vs Bowden ? Bowden more or less "had his number" for the most part. it happens. Remember Peyton Manning vs the Gators ? They had his number. Miami had FSU's number.

BillRice
BillRice

Secondary certainly looked porous Saturday. I actually think UA has big concerns on D line this year. Affter the 3 starters, none of reserves have played more than 30 snaps in their careers (coming into Saturdays game). No proven depth equals tired pass rushers in second half. You notice that UA had hardly any pass rush. teams that will do better against JF will have some hoss D linemen and more depth than UA does right now.

Tommy K
Tommy K

@liquidmuse3 @DavidWitcraft what is Cam's career winning percentage, who cares about his QB rating, that is very misleading. I will take Luck over Cam 10 out of 10 times if you want to compare the two... Manziel is a winner, just as Luck was... 

workinOvatime
workinOvatime

@JMillerNC @theboneman21 Yes, one player doesn't make a 53-man team get a W on his own . . .

But in the NFL, the QB is *the* single most important player in determining how far a team goes. With Tebow Denver was a Wild Card team who clawed their way to a bunch of wins.

With Peyton Manning, they are one of the few teams that have a real Superbowl chance. In pro football, you go as far as your quarterback can take you. 

theboneman21
theboneman21

@JMillerNC @theboneman21

Speaking of dense.

Let me clarify it again. Savage didn't say JM did anything by himself. He was pointing out that Saban has been able to neutralize talented players the second time around but not Manziel.


Your dislike is obvious because you are reading something else entirely than what was said and you are seeing someone say he is doing something by himself which is not what he was saying; he was talking about Saban being able to neutralize people in rematches and was not able to do that do Manziel. 

Let's take one more peek at his comment to see if you can finally grasp what he's saying > 

Be it Tebow at Florida, or Tyrann Mathieu at LSU, Saban has almost always been able to exploit the weakness of a player in their subsequent meeting who initially got the better of him. Despite changing from soft zone to five rushers and press coverage, Saban did worse against Manziel in the rematch. “He’s the only player I can recall who has been able to do that,” Savage said. “There’s something to him.”

You see, the topic involves solving the mystery of a single player.  You are on a football post so I am going to operate on the assumption that you are something of a football fan. Are you familiar with the term "spy" in the game of football and what it means ? And no, I am not talking about the thing everyone in the pros does that Belichick got caught for and was painted with a brush suggesting he was the only one who ever did it since he was the only one caught.

JMillerNC
JMillerNC

@theboneman21 @JMillerNC Good Lord you're dense.  You wrote "If you don't like the guy..."  Please find anywhere that I've criticized Manziel.  I'm nothing but complimentary of the kid.  

Instead I've criticized (and will continue to criticize) anyone who tries to make ANY player out to be a one-man savior of a team.  Because it just doesn't happen.  Put Manning on the Jaguars, and guess what - they win more games but they still suck.  Put AP on the Jets and guess what - they win more games but they still suck.

Texas A&M has a really solid team.  Johnny Football makes them REALLY DARN GOOD because of how talented he is.  But Johnny didn't "do it", as Savage was quoted as saying, the Aggies did it.

Stop accusing me of disliking Manziel - it shows that you don't read a darn word I say and shows how moronic you must be.  I love Manziel, the kid is phenomenal.  I simply detest people who claim that one man makes a team, because that is proven wrong just about every year in just about every team sport.

Now, you've done well with your trolling.  So get back to your cave and troll someone else.

theboneman21
theboneman21

@JMillerNC @theboneman21 Trotting out the age old "one man does not win a game" thing is a veil for a subtle bash.

We all know one guy doesn't take on 11 people. That''s not a football game.It's merely a trope, along the lines of "when the team wins the qb/coach gets too much of the credit..."

In other world applications it is the equivalent of "with all due respect...." which usually is followed by an insult, thinly veiled or otherwise.

Here is the way it is - when the receivers couldn't get open, and the linemen couldn't hold the blocks any longer, guess what ? He extended plays. Did the receivers eventually get  open to catch his passes? Yes. But his legs gave them that chance. Did he get the touchdowns by himself? Of course not. Did he extend the plays allowing his teammates to make plays by himself? Of course he did. if that is a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning type, those plays don't happen because those INDIVIDUALS are incapable of extending the plays to allows their teammates to get open to catch the balls that the individual throws.

Besides, he was talking about Saban's ability to have an answer for someone after having been bedeviled by him; Saban didn't have an answer for Manziel this time out either. Stop masking your dislike and cherry picking attacks with trite responses - some players do impact a game all by themselves. Their mere presence on the field makes their teammates jobs easier. 

If you don't like the guy, then fine but please, enough of the "it takes 11 guys..." stuff


Save that for coaches and players in press conferences. Like it or not, sometimes it only takes one man.

theboneman21
theboneman21

@RichardStorm @theboneman21 @mashley278 @jomolungma 



No, Tyson just ran into the one guy with the skills to take him out. Douglas had a decided size advantage. he used Tony Tucker's blueprint and ended up wining. He whipped him, no excuses, because his style was perfect for taking Tyson out. That and he wasn't afraid.

RichardStorm
RichardStorm

@theboneman21 @mashley278 @jomolungmaMike Tyson lost to Buster Douglas because he dumped his old coaches (who was with Tyson at the beginning) and hired a bunch of street punks as boxing coaches...Thus, Mike wasn't even half in shape for that fight....But I do see your point....

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