Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is already comparing Johnny Manziel to Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, in a favorable way. As the former Redskins offensive coordinator, Shanahan spent the past two seasons working with Griffin.
“Johnny and Robert are very similar,” Shanahan told USA Today Sports. “They’re both talented guys who can make plays with their legs. But there comes a time in the NFL when they’re going to keep you in the pocket, and you’re going to have to have that ability to make the throws with your arm and mind. And Johnny, just like Robert, has that arm talent and intelligence to do that.”
It remains to be seen how Manziel’s playmaking ability translates to the NFL. Manziel’s mobility could run him into more trouble in the NFL, where bigger and faster defenders will be chasing him. Griffin has experienced that with the Redskins – making plays with his legs, but also taking too much punishment.
Shanahan wants Manziel to improvise when needed, while becoming more disciplined in the pocket. Young mobile quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, and Griffin are redefining the way the position is being played. Manziel is another young quarterback with a unique style, and Shanahan is convinced Manziel can be successful.
“You have to have some special magic, swagger, to you that you can get the job done,” Shanahan said. “And Johnny demonstrated that as good as anyone who’s ever played college football. And we think he’ll be able to carry it over.”
The Ravens, who visit the Browns in Week 3, could see a steady does of “Johnny Football” over the coming seasons. Meanwhile, the battle between Manziel and Brian Hoyer to win the starting job in Cleveland will be one of the hot NFL storylines of the summer.