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RG3, not Tebow, could be driving Browns’ handling of Manziel

Shanahan Getty Images

It’s become fashionable to chastise the long-irrelevant Browns for the manner in which they’ve handled their sudden burst of relevance.  And since I have zero sense of fashion, allow me to look at this a different way.

The Browns have blocked the national media from Johnny Manziel’s first minicamp, explaining that they don’t want a repeat of Tebowmania.  The better comparison could be not Tebow but Robert Griffin III.

Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has seen this movie before.  Continuously for two years with his eyes held wide open, Clockwork Orange-style.  Kyle and his father, Mike, saw RG3 become the most powerful man in D.C. not residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, with owner Daniel Snyder embracing — and perhaps fueling — the idea that it was Griffin’s team.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam seems to be determined to avoid, or at least to minimize, a repeat of that phenomenon.  While keeping the national media out will do nothing to decrease national media interest in the Browns and Manziel, the effort provides tangible proof that the Browns are trying to not let Manziel become bigger than the team.

That may not be enough to ensure that Manziel and Shanahan will be able to coexist.  Manziel’s penchant for improvisation doesn’t mesh with Shanahan’s preference that quarterback play be virtually robotic.

“During the course of a regular game, Kyle Shanahan wants you to run the offense exactly how he wants it, down to the amount of hitches you take to go through your progressions,” former Shanahan pupil Rex Grossman said back in 2011.

Manziel may comply during the early portions of a play, but once things start to collapse he may decide to do his own thing, which may drive Shanahan crazy.

Which leads back to the question of whether the coaching staff and the front office really wanted Manziel in the first place.  By all appearances, it was a pick that was at least indirectly influenced by Haslam and/or the homeless guy in Cleveland.  If so, the challenge for Haslam will be to ensure that Manziel never figures that out — and that he never abuses the power he already possesses in Cleveland, regardless of what the team now does to try to contain it.

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64 Responses to “RG3, not Tebow, could be driving Browns’ handling of Manziel”
  1. thevikingslol says: May 15, 2014 8:55 AM

    The Vikings wouldn’t even win a division 2 national championship with their current roster.

  2. jerruhjones says: May 15, 2014 8:57 AM

    I totally agree with the way the Browns are handling this…let the kid concentrate on football.

    Go Browns!!!

    PS
    Hate on, haters.

  3. packerman1968 says: May 15, 2014 9:00 AM

    So now you have a built in excuse for failure.

  4. wryly1 says: May 15, 2014 9:03 AM

    Pretzel logic. It isn’t that complicated . Actually quite simple. A media circus does nothing for the Browns or Manziel on the football field. Didn’t do anything for Tebow’s game, either.

  5. johnnyjagfan says: May 15, 2014 9:04 AM

    Control freak. Let the freak athlete do his thing.

  6. heymister24 says: May 15, 2014 9:08 AM

    The browns now have offensive system for players to fit into, if Manziel doesn’t fit, he can quit. The browns have first rounder next year for QB if necessary and at the minimum, Manziel would bring a haul similar to griffin.

  7. tennesseeoilers says: May 15, 2014 9:09 AM

    Manziel is either the next Vince Young or the next Steve Young. Only time will tell …

  8. officialgame says: May 15, 2014 9:11 AM

    Son of Skeletor having failed to completely destroy RGME is now getting ready for his next great challenge on his new turf Mistake by the Lake. Son of Skeletor will now go after Manzeilmania as Clown fans ready themselves with popcorn and beer in tow.

  9. mn1bjb says: May 15, 2014 9:11 AM

    For better or worse it will be entertaining to see how Manziel does in the factory of sadness.

  10. sdnative1904 says: May 15, 2014 9:12 AM

    The media is owed nothing.

  11. pillowporkers says: May 15, 2014 9:15 AM

    Johnny will come in, have a great game (or good rookie season). The media will be all over him how he’s so great. Then, as soon as he has one bad game (or bad 2nd season in RG3′s case), the media will try to turn him back into the villian. The media makes whoever they want to be a distraction, a distraction. This is American media, we build people up to tear them down.

  12. robuff716 says: May 15, 2014 9:16 AM

    who da thought we’d see a player sports fans wanted to see flop more than Lebron or Tebow!!!!

  13. sylvester000001 says: May 15, 2014 9:21 AM

    Man, you never believe anything do you. EVERYthing is some conspiracy.

  14. demskinsbaby says: May 15, 2014 9:22 AM

    Actually, media participation at practices have nothing to do with endorsements should they come Manziel’s way. The media never mentioned much of anything dealing with RGIII and the team practice…lol. So a closed practice really won’t matter. It didn’t in RGIII’s case either. He still was a dynamic QB that took the league by storm.

  15. geefan1 says: May 15, 2014 9:25 AM

    All the Browns have done so far is tell Manziel (and their other rookies) that you need to come in and earn your spot, rather than having it handed to you.

  16. baddegg says: May 15, 2014 9:28 AM

    So, just to make the situation parallel:

    In RGIIIs rookie year, when he came in with fanfare and endorsements, did he fail in that rookie year?

  17. dcapettini says: May 15, 2014 9:28 AM

    They don’t call themselves the “Factory of Sadness” for nothing. Whatever they do will be second guessed, except in the extremely unlikely event everything goes their way. They are cursed. Maybe if they would make their peace with Art Modell, they could lift this cloud that has hung over them.

  18. baddegg says: May 15, 2014 9:29 AM

    Rams need to follow suit…

  19. normaneinstein7 says: May 15, 2014 9:32 AM

    The Browns are smart for trying to keep everything contained, but if Manziel starts and plays at a high level like RG3 did in his rookie year, there will be no stopping Manzielmania.

  20. uglydingo says: May 15, 2014 9:32 AM

    The pairing of Johnny Manziel and Kyle Shanahan is a combo that will lead to spontaneous combustion. Dour, high discipline control freak coach meet spoiled, rich, poorly disciplined QB who enjoys improvising and craves publicity.
    I have no doubt that the independent consultant recommended Teddy Bridgewater and Jimmy Haslem overruled the draft pick. However, he has to live with the consequences.
    For all NFL observers – get the popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show. It will be entertaining.

  21. andreweac says: May 15, 2014 9:37 AM

    Browns are managing expectations with Manziel. They know he needs time to develop. Probably a bit of buyers remorse as they should have taken Bridgewater.

    Also trying to tamper down expectations for the negative feedback for when this clown inevitably busts just like Tim Tebow.

  22. rosstuckershair says: May 15, 2014 9:37 AM

    Hoyer is the starting QB…and the best QB on the roster…

  23. savocabol1 says: May 15, 2014 9:42 AM

    Ask current and former players how the Browns are handling Manziel they will say they are doing it the right way.

    Ask media members and they say the Browns are screwing it up.

  24. kwgator says: May 15, 2014 9:43 AM

    Tebow won Championships in college …. RG3&13 & Johnny Jägermeister did not

  25. greymares says: May 15, 2014 9:46 AM

    Handle it anyway you want but if your not 6′ 5″ 250lb your chances of being a quality QB in this league are highly diminished. Can a little guy survive yes but he better not be running the football and there lies the problem.

  26. bullcharger says: May 15, 2014 9:47 AM

    Look at the current successful franchises. Most of them have owners that take a back seat and count on the football men to run the franchise. Patriots, Seahawks, 49ers, Denver, Baltimore etc.

    The owner being too involved generally leads to problems. Colts have certainly had success with Irsay fairly involved, but he did his best when Dungy was there running things. Haslam needs to let the coach run the team and get out of the news. The coach can just treat Manziel like any other player as long as he won’t take flak from the owner for it. Sure there many be more fans at camp. So what? Tell Manziel what he can say to the media and that’s it. Be the boss.

  27. themage78 says: May 15, 2014 9:49 AM

    This allows Manziel to have growing pains that he will still have since he was only a 2 year starter. And there won’t be the media constantly posting how many INTs he threw, how much playing time he had, yadda yadda yadda. It will relieve some of the pressure and make him more amiable to changing some of his bad habits.

  28. SBoy says: May 15, 2014 9:49 AM

    In war they say “history is written by the winners”… In sports its, “winning solves everything”… They kind of both apply… If they win everything they do today will have been right… If they lose, everything will be picked apart… coaches fired and or players traded or waived.

  29. cguy7 says: May 15, 2014 9:55 AM

    All you need is a few “likes” and “I means” and you would compare to a sorority chick on coffee. The media can pound salt and it’s not the Shannahan’s fault that Bob Griffen is an inaccurate thrower of the football… RGMe is a track star and Johnny is a football player.

  30. iloveagoodnap says: May 15, 2014 9:55 AM

    3 years from now, due to lack of ability to play at an NFL level, Manziel will be in the same boat Tebow was 3 years into his career. The one difference will be that Manziel wont have a playoff win under his belt like Tebow did, because the Browns supporting cast is nothing compared to what Tebow’s Broncos cast was.

  31. deke952 says: May 15, 2014 10:01 AM

    The Manziel-to-Favre comparisons are already taking shape. Manziel will totally wear out his welcome with the Browns coaches in the first year, to the point where the Browns will be happy to ship him off for a 1st rounder. At his new team, the coaches will tolerate his non-conforming behavior because he generates some wins. Within a few years, Manziel will take over the organization, have his own dressing room and tell the GM who he wants drafted. Finally, he’ll be traded to the Jets and then the Vikings as his career fades to black.

  32. kamthechancellor says: May 15, 2014 10:22 AM

    You drafted him. Now let him be who he is. If you don’t do that, it’s just another wasted first round pick.

  33. broncfanor says: May 15, 2014 10:53 AM

    Tebow is probably the right comparison. Three and out on the field and in the league.

  34. 1rockyracoon says: May 15, 2014 11:01 AM

    When you draft a clown you know the rest of the circus comes with him. He seems to be more about style than substance. Imagine how good Vick would have been if he learned how to play the position during his first few years in the league. Improvising like your still in college will only take you so far in this league. Real QBs win.

  35. bobzilla1001 says: May 15, 2014 11:09 AM

    Manziel is either the next Vince Young or the next Steve Young?
    Vince Young was 31-19 as a starter.
    Steve Young was 3-16 as a starter in Tampa.
    Both Youngs are stark reminders that football is the Ultimate Team Sport. Build a team and the QB will win. It’s just that complicated. And it’s also just that simple.

  36. TuneDawg says: May 15, 2014 11:20 AM

    Let me ask… what exactly has Manziel won? NOTHING!

    Look, I like the kid, I love the Browns, but the Browns are handling this the correct way. They have not promised this kid anything. He, like all their rookies, are told to come in and work hard. Do good things and good things will happen to you. Manziel hasn’t even thrown a pass and many of you are crowning his butt as the second coming.

    Manziel was a great college player and whom many tabbed as the best rated QB in this draft. He’s electric. We all get it, but let’s let him earn some type of fame on the big stage before we hand him the Lombardi. Although, if you handed him the Lombardi, us Browns fans will take it. LOL!

    Go Browns!

  37. TheDPR says: May 15, 2014 11:38 AM

    I have no more interest in the Browns today than I had a year ago at this time.

    Why IS there “national interest” in the Browns or Manziel?

    He’s not a champion. They’re not a playoff team.

    It makes no sense.

  38. dalcow4 says: May 15, 2014 11:45 AM

    Smart way to handle it, but man they got the wrong OC for Manziel. Wouldn’t surprise me if Shanahan is gone after this season.

  39. granadafan says: May 15, 2014 11:53 AM

    Not a Browns fan, but I think they’re handling this situation right so far. It’s one thing to generate publicity for your team, but quite another to create a circus ala Favre, Tebow, or RG3

  40. tremoluxman says: May 15, 2014 12:09 PM

    I’m so glad the Vikings passed on this clown show and got a competent, composed, and all business QB in TB.

    Have fun, Cleveland.

  41. 1509lucky says: May 15, 2014 12:11 PM

    The best thing that could happen for both Manziel and The Browns is that Johnny struggles the first year. That will the real rest of who this Guy is as a Football Player. If he’s successful in his first year,I promise you it’ll get UGLY! We’ve seen Manziel be nothing but successful the last two years. We have yet to really see him fail. Who he is in Failure will tell the Browns whether or not he’s “The Guy” or not. Will he work his butt off to get better or will he dedicate himself to being a “Brand”?????

  42. thegreatgabbert says: May 15, 2014 12:18 PM

    You can’t argue with an heir to his position. I mean Kyle had such a long and successful career as a quarterback he should be able to dictate exactly how it should be played.

  43. winstonjed44 says: May 15, 2014 12:19 PM

    Blocking the media from a minicamp won’t solve the problem. Manziel is the most popular player coming out of the draft, there will be media attention that comes with it, it’s just something they’ll have to deal with.

  44. brownsmakemecrazy says: May 15, 2014 12:22 PM

    Both Hoyer and Johnny Football are doomed. With Josh Gordon suspended most likely for the year, who are they gonna throw to Earl Bennett, Greg Skillet Little? Cameron had minimal production in second half of year.

    They are the most incompetent franchise in the NFL. Great job Farmer passing up Sammy Watkins for a CB. WR and offense are the biggest holes not another CB. Great job too Pettine focusing on defense. It wont help when the opponent scores 20 when you only score 10.

    This has 2-14 written all over it if Gordon is done for the year

  45. 8to80texansblog says: May 15, 2014 12:23 PM

    It’s starting to look like Cleveland might have been the worst possible landing place for Manziel…

    For Manziel to be as successful as he was in high school and college, he needs a OC that understands his game and embraces it. The best coaches are the ones that mold their styles around their personnel, not try to mold their players around their style.

  46. htown995 says: May 15, 2014 12:27 PM

    I bet the browns win more games than sorry vikings

  47. heymister24 says: May 15, 2014 12:31 PM

    If the browns wanted a drop back/pocket QB, they would have drafted one. They picked Manziel because he fits the scheme that the browns want to run…kapish.

  48. kneelbeforesod says: May 15, 2014 12:36 PM

    How did I get left out of this article?

    B. Favre (w/J. Madden)

  49. Matt dog from C-town says: May 15, 2014 1:15 PM

    It’s not the factory of sadness….it’s the factory of Gladness….like the Men at work song ” Be good Johhny”!!!!!!

  50. bobsnygiants says: May 15, 2014 1:17 PM

    they could’nt of draft him.

  51. drunkadamschefter says: May 15, 2014 1:25 PM

    If the Manziel experience is trending towards a bust by the end of year one I’d have no problem with the team drafting Winston, Marriota or Hundley next year.

    Getting the Bills pick for the first round next year to go along with their own has the Browns playing with house money.

  52. Dogsweat says: May 15, 2014 1:27 PM

    Didn’t Tim Couch wear number two?

    Browns drafted Johnny football for jersey sales and ticket boosting.

    He will be the biggest flash in the pan, the AFC North defenses are going to embarrass JM.

    His little gizmo run won’t cut in November and December in the NE of Ohio.

    He is a poor man’s Tebow.

  53. nflfan1326 says: May 15, 2014 1:45 PM

    Disagree. Manziel will be backup. Tebow was backup when drafted. RG3 was starter.

  54. tonybot3 says: May 15, 2014 2:02 PM

    Interesting… The talk used to be that a potential pairing of Shanahan and Manziel would be a perfect fit because of Shanny’s work with RG3….

    Now that it has actually come to pass, the new narrative is that they can’t coexist. Haters gonna hate, i guess.

  55. floratiotime says: May 15, 2014 2:17 PM

    Hopefully he won’t bust … like RG3.

  56. bayoor75 says: May 15, 2014 2:56 PM

    For any QB, Cleveland is a tough place to play. For a rookie QB, the task is made much more difficult – almost impossible!

    No matter which QB Cleveland had drafted, it was going to be an uphill task. I am not a fan of Manziel, but I personally think that of all the QBs in the draft, only Manziel has a chance of succeeding IN Cleveland. Now, that doesn’t mean he is the best QB of the draft or the most likely to succeed, but when it comes to Cleveland, Manziel has the best chance because of his scrambling abilities and the defense in this division hit so d@mn hard!

  57. oldcracker says: May 15, 2014 4:31 PM

    What impact will this have on Gordon’s & Cameron’s game, switching from a Chud/Turner offense to Shanahan’s offense?

    I simply don’t know what to expect from a Shanahan run-first, zone blocking, dink& dunk passing game. Seems like Colt McCoy would’ve been the better fit for this. We may have a situation of too many round pegs with square holes on offense.

    I love my Browns (60+ yrs) but I would not want to be Manziel right now. Maybe they should bring in Grossman to teach Johnny how it all works.

  58. ivanpavlov0000 says: May 15, 2014 4:41 PM

    If Haslam believes putting Manziel in the spotlight will sell season tickets (and so far that’s been true), then Haslam is going to make sure Manziel gets enough media attention to sell tickets.

    Manziel will be an interception machine in the NFL. I’m not sure he has the chops to play in Canada.

  59. spycam56 says: May 15, 2014 5:14 PM

    First of all, RGIII was the most powerful man in D.C. before he got injured. Secondly, as for Manziel, he would do best to quote Reggie Jackson when he came to the Yankees and was asked if he intended to be a star, his reply, “I brought my star with me!”

    The Browns made a mistake…they are strapped with a big time commitment for short term gain (selling tickets). I am sure it will all blow up in their faces, Johnny Football is great for college, but he will end up being a bust in the Pros.

    Sorry Cleveland….20 more years of futility!!!

  60. councilofargos says: May 15, 2014 7:13 PM

    I think Shannahan was hand picked, expecting the team to draft Manziel. He has a similar skill set as RG3 I think. It depends if he is a run first or pass first QB in the NFL. If hes a run first QB Hoyer woill by far win more games they he ever could. If hes a pass first QB he might be something special.

  61. revren10 says: May 15, 2014 7:31 PM

    Johnny Maziel will become a bust just like Brady Quinn, RG3 and Teddy Bust Bridgewater

  62. Dogsweat says: May 15, 2014 10:17 PM

    Johnny Quest will do the same as the other Browns QB that wore number 2.

  63. vikingferd says: May 16, 2014 10:12 AM

    Manziel is no where near as fast or strong as RG3 and look what happened to him. Manziel is going to spend more time on his back than a $20 hooker in Vegas.

  64. matthewmacisaac says: May 18, 2014 8:24 AM

    Why is it that the Browns like to waste 1st rounders every time they set themselves up with two of them? Brady Quinn wasn’t as bad as people remember but when he finally got his chance, it was Mangenius’ team with Daboll as OC & no QB looked good in that. Quinn had a 4 game stretch in Chud’s offense & averaged 28 pts./game. Then he broke the index finger on his throwing hand, after that he went on a downward spiral. Weeden was a terrible pick who couldn’t produce in an offense built for his skillset. Now you have Manziel, who like Leinart & Claussen, put up numbers in college because they had a great team around them. Did anyone notice how many other Texas A&M players were drafted high in the last 2 years (notice the very high grades on his O-line). That brings me to Couch, who is labeled a bust. He would have done fine if the Browns didn’t keep picking O-linemen off the scrap heap. Otto Graham would have been a bust behind that group of slugs. The Browns would be smart to keep Hoyer as the starter. If the new lineman works out in beefing up the O-line, they should have a steady offense, which paired with a very solid defense, will win games.

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