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Johnny Football: Where next for Manziel?

Yet another disappointing season in Cleveland has resulted in yet another coaching change. The Browns have chosen former Cincinnati Bengals


Yet another disappointing season in Cleveland has resulted in yet another coaching change. The Browns have chosen former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson to try to bring relevance back to Cleveland, but it seems Johnny Manziel won’t be joining Jackson in that attempt. However, it isn’t necessarily down to his play/talent, but instead – surprise, surprise – thanks to his personality, work ethic and off. According to Albert Breer, NFL Media reporter, Johnny Manziel just doesn’t seem capable of meeting the demands of a Hue Jackson run team. Jackson history of QB’s tells a rather telling tale; that Jackson wants a QB who will practically live at the facility. Carson Palmer, Jason Campbell, recently Andy Dalton and even AJ McCarron when Dalton went down were all around the facility all the time, always around their teammates and always buried deep in the playbook, and if you were to give Jackson a QB to do all that, it wouldn’t be Johnny Manziel. Furthermore, Jackson has stated that he wants his QB to be “somebody that the our players can rally behind, somebody that our fans can rally behind, that they believe that this guy has the chance to go out week in week out and win games.” In his time in Cleveland Manziel hasn’t shown that he can do that. So, you would think that with all of these rumours swirling around Manziel would try to do something positive about to it, well he hasn’t, not even a little bit. Earlier this week the police were called to a possible domestic abuse incident between Manziel and his ex-girlfriend. Though there isn’t a whole lot of information regarding the incident and no official charges have been filed against Manziel. Though there weren’t any clear statements made at the time, the Browns have since released a statement and are reportedly going to cut him come the start of the new league year on March 9th. With that in mind, where are his potential landing spots? Dallas Cowboys This seems to be the obvious choice for many reasons. The Cowboys have shown interest in Johnny and Johnny has shown interest in the Cowboys. Other than the affinity for one another, though, there are some other positives. First off, Manziel could sit behind Tony Romo for at least a few years without the expectation or possibility of unseating him as the starter. He could learn a lot and he would likely be influenced by Romo to change, which is certainly not a bad thing. The Cowboys roster is also a lot more talented than the Browns roster. The Cowboys boast the best offensive line in the NFL, they have a top 5 receiver in Dez Bryant, one of the best tight ends in Jason Witten and several other weapons. Furthermore, him being where he wants to be and closer to home may be what he needs. It may make him more comfortable and make it easier for him to concentrate on what needs to be done. Finally, it may be that nobody will be able to stop Manziel from being who he is, so who better than Jerry Jones to contain him? The Cowboys have a history of dealing with players with off the field problems – Dez Bryant, Terrell Owens, Rolando McClain and Randy Gregory to name a few. It seems to be a match made in heaven. Or is it? Though bringing Manziel closer to home may be a good thing, there is just as much of a chance that it is not at all what he needs. If he is more able to see and spend more time with some of his closer friends it may become impossible to reel him in, even a little bit, for Jerry Jones. Furthermore, being in a locker room with people like Dez Bryant may encourage him even more to continue his bad habits. And that just seems like too big of a risk for the Cowboys to take. San Francisco 49ers In pure football terms, this move seems to make the most sense. As you all likely know at this point the 49ers hired Chip Kelly to be their new head coach following his firing from the Eagles. Before he was fired, the Eagles were seen as a potential landing spot for Manziel if he were to leave the Browns thanks to his fit in Kelly’s system and the history between the two; Kelly recruited Manziel to Oregon and at one point Manziel had committed to Oregon, but he flipped his commitment to Texas A&M so Oregon instead secured Marcus Mariota. Clearly then, Kelly has a soft spot for Manziel and he could run his system like a treat. However, some of the same problems he has had in Cleveland may arise again; being away from home and possibly not somewhere he wants to be. At the same time, though, San Francisco and Cleveland are very different places, and this complete change of scenery may be exactly what he needs. Seattle Seahawks This one may strike people as a strange option but there are some clear strengths to this scenario. Similarly to the Cowboys, in Seattle Manziel wouldn’t be expected to start or make a push for the starting role thanks to Russell Wilson, taking an immense amount of pressure of his shoulders. Furthermore, as far as a role model for Manziel, You can’t get much better than Wilson. Wilson could take Manziel under his wing and potentially have a huge impact on Manziel’s attitude. Alongside Wilson is a very strong and secure locker room with several key, respected veterans who could also teach Manziel a thing or two about how to handle himself and, of course, there is Pete Carroll. Carroll is known for building very good relationships with his players and he too could have a great effect on Johnny Football. However, unlike the others, the Seahawks won’t ever be place that Manziel can become the starter – barring Wilson getting injured or traded – it will instead be a place that Manziel can quietly and discretely rebuild his image to earn a starting opportunity elsewhere. Buffalo Bills Think of this option as an improved version of the Cleveland Browns. The Bills have a good defense, young stars on offence and possibly a need for a QB. Most importantly though, they have a certain someone named Greg Roman. Roman is the same man who transformed Kaepernick from a raw backup to a starter who carried a team to the Super Bowl in just 10 starts. He is also the man who made Tyrod Taylor a Pro Bowl QB (albeit a dubious selection as a Pro Bowl backup). Roman is the perfect man to build Manziel an offence that he can be dangerous in – we can’t deny that Manziel looked somewhat serviceable during his final games as a Brown. However, Tyrod Taylor is locked up by the Bills for the next 2 seasons and have indicated that, though they are happy with him, they won’t rule out picking a QB early in this year’s draft, so why would they go after Manziel? They likely wouldn’t. Houston Texans The Texans would possibly Manziel’s 2nd choice after the Cowboys for no reason other than they’re in Texas, which makes this scenario unlikely. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t be completely illogical. The Texans are once again in need of a QB who can consistently help them and feed off the defense and surrounding talent on offence. And though Manziel cannot be considered exactly that yet, he may be someone the Texans consider come free agency, especially if there isn’t a guy in the draft they think they can groom to build around. That would of course mean a reunion between Hoyer and Manziel, which would not be good. The two QB’s didn’t exactly hit it off in Cleveland and that led to the Browns moving on from Hoyer last spring. The CFL/Arena Football I think it’s safe to say that this would be Manziel’s least favourite option but they would both, perhaps, be the best option for him. Either one of those leagues would love to see a player like Manziel suit up for them. The CFL, especially, could be great for Manziel. CFL Hall of Famer Doug Flutie thrived on the larger pitches thanks to his sandlot style of play, and that is one of several similarities between those two. So, a stint in Canada may restore his confidence and give him an excellent opportunity to regain his playmaking prowess, potentially putting him back on the NFL radar. The Arena league would offer a completely different experience for Manziel. The smaller fields and the quicker, more sandlot style of play would give Manziel a great opportunity to become the AFL’s biggest stars. Could you imagine him in the Los Angeles Kiss uniform?

Whatever happens to Manziel following his expecting release, he HAS to change the way he acts and represents himself, whether it is actually fair or not, he must realise that given his situation he cannot afford to act like he has. It’s a long road ahead for Manziel to be the NFL star he was expected to be.


Remy Cabache

Lifetime sports fan. I have written with RealSport since the NFL section started and I have also written for my own blog, EbonyBird.com and I have had several articles published in local newspapers covering my local (American) football team.

Johnny Football: Where next for Manziel?

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