The Rise and Fall, and Rise again (?) of Johnny Football
Johnny Manziel aka Johnny Football aka Money Manziel has been our current day Tim Tebow in terms of NFL media coverage. It has been nearly three whole seasons since we seen Manziel take the field, however, despite this, the NFL media outlets continue to post his training videos or news about him on an almost daily basis, refusing to believe that their poster child’s career has died. Is Manziel just another (less holy) Tebow? or has the NFL hopes and dreams finally paid off? Is this Johnny Football’s comeback season?
A look back into Manziel History.
I have followed Manziel’s career since Texas A&M and I have to confess, I was very much on the Manziel hype train as he entered the NFL, even betting against a friend that he would be the person to turn the Browns offence around (I know, it is a truly embarrassing confession) and perhaps be their franchise quarterback (an even worse confession). I have since learned two things:
- Intangibles matter as much as the ability of the player
- Cleveland kills Quarterbacks
It is no secret that in college Johnny was a dominant player, his dual-threat ability was terrorising defences throughout his career and his athletic prowess, in my opinion, is far greater than many active quarterbacks in the league today. During his final year at A&M Johnny threw for 4,114 yards, 37 touchdowns with a 69.95 completion rating which are solid numbers for a dual-threat quarterback seeing as he totalled a further 759 yards rushing that year also. However, during his 2015 Cleveland Browns season, Johnny threw for only 1,500 yards and 7 touchdowns on 223 attempts with 5 interceptions in his ten game stretch marking him with a much less productive output that was the norm for him.
Was this drop in production just due to his athletic ability or was it due to the lack of support in his personal/social life?
A Physical Comparison between Wilson and Manziel
Russel Wilson is (in my opinion) the most successful mobile quarterback active in the league, so how does Manziel compare Physically?
Both Manziel and Wilson check in on the smaller side of Quarterbacks both under 6ft, (Manziel 5’11, Wilson 5’10) and lighter than the average prototype QB, (Manziel 207ib, Wilson 203ib) which tends to be normal for a mobile QB. Also very similar is the arm length (both 31in) and hand size of both players (both 10in) showing a very physical make-up between both players on paper. At the combine, Manziel logged a 4.65 40 yard dash, whereas Wilson logged a 4.55 second time. However, Manziel received a higher score on the Wonderlic test (Manziel 32, Wilson 28), supposedly showing a higher football IQ.
It is clear that on paper, Manziel and Wilson seem to be alike in their football abilities however obviously there are far more differences between them than shown. It does make me wonder however if Manziel could possibly mount a comeback this year if his social life gets fixed.
Comeback Season Best Fits
Manziel recently threw for 12 NFL coaches at a Pro-day, being the designated ‘arm’ for top round prospects, highlighting the fact that teams may still see some talent in the old Heisman winner. Obviously, if Manziel is going to make his NFL comeback he is going to need some strong mentors in place to keep his ‘party boy’ lifestyle in check and ensuring his continued focus on the field so which NFL team would he fit best?
The New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees is coming to the end of his career in the next few years, signing what I believe to be his last 2-year contract extension leaving the Saints in need of a future Quarterback to continue their high powered offence, seeing as their defence wasn’t going to win them any games last year. Drew Brees has been known as Mr Reliable for so long, and with his off-field persona being that of a Saint (a happy coincidence) I believe he could be the perfect mentor for the troubled Manziel
The Denver Broncos
Gary Kubiak has a long list of memorable coaches he has worked with during his career and I believe his knowledge and influence could possibly be one of the best fits in the league to bring on Manziels talent. My only issue about a Manziel/Broncos connection is the dislike between Manziel and the Broncos star Von Miller who has trolled Manziels Instagram account on many occasions. This would be a good fit only if the two players could truly bury the hatchet.
The New England Patriots
This is my favourite fit for Johnny Football, sitting under the G.O.A.T that is Brady and working with a coach that takes zero BS from his players could truly turn Manziel into a star. I also believe this could be a perfect fit from the organisations’ point of view also as Manziel has offered to play for a zero dollar guaranteed contract meaning that the Patriots could sign Manziel and also pick up a QB late in the draft and provide some real competition for second string QB (Sorry Hoyer, you don’t make the cut.) This option is also more likely as Johnny is an avid Patriots fan and has tweeted on many occasions he would do anything to play with Brady.
So what do you think? Another fairytale story that will never happen? Or does Johnny Manziel have a chance at becoming a star in the NFL again?