CLEVELAND – In what proved to be an underwhelming and anti-climatic debut, Johnny Manziel looked more like Johnny Disaster.
Manziel, the former Heisman Trophy winner out of Texas A&M, came into his first NFL start with much hype and expectations of possibly sparking an otherwise dormant Browns offense, seemingly in hibernation.
While this writer is not throwing Manziel under the proverbial bus in going 10-of-18 for 80 yards and two interceptions and a 27.3 passer rating in a 30-point loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, there are some tendencies that Manziel will need to clean up going forward as the browns franchise quarterback.
The big red flag in Manziel’s game is his tendency of throwing floaters high and late, which are two things that will guarantee interceptions, as evidenced on Sunday. Another area where he needs to improve upon is learning to throw from the pocket, instead of running first, as he would be sacked three times.
While it’s unfair to judge Manziel on just one game, in failing to meet the uber-high expectations courtesy of the likes of ESPN—and this site too—to a degree, may have inflated the Johnny Football proproganda machine a little too high.
Lost in the 30-point debacle was the numerous mental errors—that also plagued Brian Hoyer, that OTHER Browns quarterback—in false starts, dropped passes from wideouts such as Andrew Hawkins and Travis Benjamin, an o-line that offered as much resistance as the Maginot Line and a defense that allowed another rookie in Bengals running back Jeremy Hill, fresh out of LSU—to look like the second coming of Jim Brown in rushing for 148 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns.
On this day, it was Bengal defenders that flashed Manziel’s trademark money sign, who got the last laugh in a real laugher in Cleveland. While it is only one game—and his first start—Manziel needs to understand that making reckless decisions such as the ones he made today against the Bengals, is far different than playing in the SEC ever would.
As in the NFL, there is no margin for error, and why “N.F.L.” means not for long, just ask Hoyer.
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