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ESPN’s Manziel interview doesn’t shed much light on anything

Manziel AP

The possible payoff for ESPN hardly if ever mentioning that curious photo of Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel with a rolled-up bill was an exclusive sit-down with Manziel as a Monday night game at Washington approaches.

The much-hyped “Sunday Conversation” between Manziel and Jon Gruden, who loudly lobbied for someone/anyone to draft Manziel as he slid down the board in round one, debuted on Sunday morning’s SportsCenter.  And it consisted of five questions.

One dealt with playing against Robert Griffin III, which doesn’t really matter since it’s a preseason game.  One dealt with Manziel balancing the decision between staying in the pocket and running.  One dealt with the differences between the no-huddle, little-if-any playbook at Texas A&M and Kyle Shanahan’s far more complex system in Cleveland.

“It’s way different,” Manziel said. “Going from never huddling at all at A&M, where we’d run as many plays as we can. Almost turbo, 24/7 for us. And then come in, we’re in a huddle, you have a different cadence, you have [pass] protections, you have a way, way, way thicker playbook. And it’s just different. And I think the things that we’re doing here, I like the concepts that we have, I like the offensive scheme that we have. I think Kyle has done a good job of helping ease me in and get comfortable as this process has gone on.”

Then came the perfunctory football jargon portion of the interview, during which Gruden asked Manziel to make a real play call and he obliged, sort of.  Next, Gruden wanted Manziel to translate a call from another system to Shanahan’s system.  Few watching the interview understood; fewer cared.

And that was it.  Nothing more.  Nothing like, “Should you be the starter?”  Or, “Will you be the starter?”  Or, “What will you do if Coach Pettine pulls you aside and says, ‘Johnny, you’ll be starting Week One at Pittsburgh’? I mean, we’re talking about the Pittsburgh Steelers here, Johnny.  The Steel Curtain. Johnny.  You ready for that, Johnny?  Are ya, Johnny?”

Gruden likewise didn’t ask how Manziel plans to keep himself from being blown to smithereens when executing a designed run and putting his head down and diving into a phalanx of Steelers.  Which means that an opportunity to strike at the heart of the on-field concerns regarding Manziel’s NFL career was lost in a haze of Spider Two Y Banana.

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37 Responses to “ESPN’s Manziel interview doesn’t shed much light on anything”
  1. bostonian13 says: Aug 17, 2014 5:27 PM

    The possible payoff for ESPN hardly if ever mentioning that curious photo of Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel with a rolled-up bill was an exclusive sit-down with Manziel as a Monday night game at Washington approaches.

    Geesh, what a longggggg sentence. Smh

  2. thestrategyexpert says: Aug 17, 2014 5:30 PM

    Yeah if you as a TV network can’t figure out how to produce a good interview, then we’re missing out on an exciting bowling tournament.

  3. themitchellfink says: Aug 17, 2014 5:32 PM

    Johnny Football is going to slowly become Johnny Manziel backup to Johnny Manziel owner of Johnny Manziel Houston Ford Dealer. The guy is behind on the playbook, is a great athlete, but who cares. The league is built on systems and he is behind in his. Says more that he can’t be out this horrible “career backup” in Hoyer despite his massive talent. Maybe, just maybe, Johnny Football was all Johnny Hype and everyone bought into it.

  4. bobhpine says: Aug 17, 2014 5:34 PM

    ESPN did a poor job interviewing an athlete?? NO WAY!!

  5. noburghfan says: Aug 17, 2014 5:34 PM

    I’m sure there is no interest in killing the golden goose .

  6. wiskybuck says: Aug 17, 2014 5:36 PM

    You should be like most if the people that are sick of Manziel…don’t watch.

  7. detectivejimmymcnulty says: Aug 17, 2014 5:46 PM

    Not watching ESPN makes your sporting experience much more enjoyable.

  8. 6ball says: Aug 17, 2014 5:58 PM

    .
    If you were going to do an interview, would you prefer Keith Olbermann or John Gruden? I’m quite certain that Manziel’s handlers insisted on Gruden, America’s version of marshmallow fluff.
    .

  9. dagator8888 says: Aug 17, 2014 5:59 PM

    the press needs to back off the kid. He will be fine.

  10. realfootballfan says: Aug 17, 2014 6:01 PM

    You were expecting?

  11. jhorton83 says: Aug 17, 2014 6:05 PM

    Jon Gruden saying absolutely nothing of substance? Gee, never would have guessed that having listened to his mind-numbingly vapid commentary the past several years.

  12. philyeagles5 says: Aug 17, 2014 6:08 PM

    Shouldn’t have expected much with gruden doing the interview.

  13. hjb99992013 says: Aug 17, 2014 6:09 PM

    Most interviews are a waste of time

    The media has an inflated sense of importance

  14. deucedeuce13 says: Aug 17, 2014 6:12 PM

    It was horrible because he asked a football player, questions about football? It’s not reality tv.

  15. hakunamangata says: Aug 17, 2014 6:13 PM

    The e stands for entertainment, not expose.

  16. buffaloisadumpsterandtheirfansaremorons says: Aug 17, 2014 6:16 PM

    How many times do you want them to ask him about that money photo? He already addressed it, move on.

  17. dawgturd says: Aug 17, 2014 6:32 PM

    Do you live under a rock or something? Seriously, the steeler D is not tough any more…..”the steel curtain” gimmie a break….

  18. datageek94 says: Aug 17, 2014 6:59 PM

    Jon Gruden conducts the worst interviews in sports on Monday Night Football. I can’t watch them. “Gee, how are you so great?” Nothing but fawning all over the interviewees. Not just nothing of substance, nothing of interest.

  19. cbass59 says: Aug 17, 2014 7:07 PM

    Manziel = Akili Smith

  20. einherjer00 says: Aug 17, 2014 7:13 PM

    What a pointless interview…if only we discovered in it whether Manziel sees himself as a starting QB, and how he won’t get hurt when he’s hit, we’d have serious discussion material. Instead, a bunch of silly stuff about offensive schemes and the new challenges of preparation without a single question about partying, ridiculous! Have we even gotten his take on the Redskins name yet?

  21. handsofsteelhartofstone says: Aug 17, 2014 7:15 PM

    Hey dawgturd, the steelers d is as tough as they come. Just keep sleeping on them.

  22. tralfaz1127 says: Aug 17, 2014 7:29 PM

    I’m a Bengals fan, and dawgturd made me laugh. Last year the Clowns scored 11 & 7 points on the stillers but he says they’re not tough anymore. What’s that say about the loaded clowns offense with 3 pro bowlers on it?
    Manziel=overrated=bust

  23. Paper Lions says: Aug 17, 2014 7:41 PM

    Written like someone that has no idea how interviews work. These aren’t depositions, no one has to answer any questions….plus, and this is key, asking a string of questions that are a combination of hypotheticals and questions that the subject has doesn’t have the information to answer is a poor interview style.

    Would you complain if he just answered every question honestly with something like, “My job is to work hard and be ready to play. The coaches decide who plays. I do what what I’m told and what I can do to help the team win.”? Probably…even though that is generally the right answer.

  24. sportsfan18 says: Aug 17, 2014 7:56 PM

    Folks, step back.

    I’m not a fan or a hater of Johnny Football.

    But, since the Browns came back to Cleveland in 1999, they’ve had like 20 different men start at QB for them. That’s from 1999 to 2013.

    Of course on the other end of the spectrum was the Colts who only had Peyton start from 1998 thru 2010.

    The Browns have also had many different head coaches since then, G.M’s and team presidents and now a new owner.

    There is NO stability in Cleveland since they’ve returned.

    20 or so men have tried to be “The Man” and the QB for the Browns and it hasn’t worked out..

    Maybe folks should begin to look at the organization and not the individual men playing the position of QB.

    I’m NOT saying Johnny will make it and be a star or be a bust.

    It’s my belief that some of those 20 or so QB’s would have done alright with other organizations.

    Not every QB is a Favre, Brady or P. Manning.

    How have the Jags QB’s done?

    How have the Raider’s QB’s done in the last decade?

    Bad teams and organization really make it difficult to be a successful QB.

    Good teams and organizations make it easier (NOT easy, but easier) to be a good QB.

    Big Ben came into Pitt when they were very good and had a great D.

    Would he be Big Ben had he been drafted by Cleveland?

    Maybe and maybe not, we’ll never know.

    And THAT is my point.

    We won’t necessarily know about Johnny Football either due to it being the Browns…

  25. calvinthegreat82 says: Aug 17, 2014 8:06 PM

    Manziel = annoying running QB that will get lit up and need Knee surgery.

    Bridgewater = baby hands bustwater

    Bortles = Real deal, best QB in the Draft class

    enough already, with this manziel turd.

  26. brownsmakemecrazy says: Aug 17, 2014 8:14 PM

    I was expecting a little more revealing in the interview myself. At same time what exactly can he ask him? The moron coach hasnt even named Johnny the starter and probably wont because hes a moron.

    Dick LeBeau, the Steelers DC, knows who is the better QB, yet the Browns own head coach cant even figure it out.

    Gruden and Mike Tirico are the only ones covering the NFL for ESPN that i can even listen too.

    I dont know who annoys me the most Berman, Hasselbeck, Keyshawn, Ditka, Carter or Jackson. FOX has the best pre-game, ESPN and CBS’s pregames are unwatchable.

    Hoge and Jaws are ok. And dont even get me started on Golic and Greeney.

  27. irishgary says: Aug 17, 2014 8:24 PM

    Gruden will never be good at interviews, he doesn’t criticize or question players, he thinks he’ll coach again someday. He really sucks as an announcer and most of the posters are right. Who listens to ESPN?

  28. dumbpollack says: Aug 17, 2014 8:28 PM

    Florio, this isn’t the steel curtain anymore. Get freakin over it already.

  29. myhawks1976 says: Aug 17, 2014 8:38 PM

    “Few watching the interview understood; fewer cared.”

    Phew… I was wondering who would be appointed official spokesperson of the masses.

    Question answered.

  30. terryleather says: Aug 17, 2014 9:35 PM

    Why bother with hypothetical questions? Gruden at least asked him things that he could honestly answer.

    And c’mon, the Steelers defense doesn’t scare anyone these days. Hell, the Browns and Bengals have better defensive players than the Steelers and Ravens do now.

  31. noburghfan says: Aug 17, 2014 9:59 PM

    Look , running around , squealing like a girl may be exciting to some , but to most NFL fans , exciting , equals winning ! How many games can JM win , running around ? I don’t know , but i hope he is miked up for the squealing part !

  32. ytownjoe says: Aug 17, 2014 10:24 PM

    I have been hoping that Gruden would be hired as a head coach somewhere so that I don’t have to listen to him anymore.

  33. neardeadinoh says: Aug 17, 2014 10:34 PM

    Florio you are such a Browns hater mostly because you are an open Steelers fan. Johnny Football haters of which you openly belong to are hoping beyond hope he fails. But he won’t. Try to be a tiny bit objective please. I like Hoyer but he is a 6 yr pine rider that won 2 games. Are Browns fans so desperate that they believe a veteran qb that can’t openly outshine a rookie is the best future choice? I predict that Hoyer will start against Pitt and either get hurt or crushed badly and then by week 3 or 4 its JF time. Make no mistake about this, Hoyer has been given every chance to start and its NOT been an open competition at all or JF would be starting against Washington. The kid needs a little more time but he will be one of the great NFL QB’s

  34. guvsta says: Aug 18, 2014 4:36 AM

    I miss the old Gruden, watching him snarl and curse on the sidelines was a sight to behold. This pale imitation makes me sad- it’s like finding out that hot girl at school that you fancied was really a dude (not a true story in case you’re wondering) :(

  35. tinytoolalldrool says: Aug 18, 2014 7:14 AM

    The only thing ESPN is good for right now is the Little League World Series.

  36. broncostevenp says: Aug 19, 2014 5:15 AM

    Florio = Vikings fan. Nice try though.

  37. justatrophy says: Aug 19, 2014 5:47 AM

    Absolutely painful watching Johnny interview with Gruden. After being asked to recite just one play from the Browns playbook, there was a long pause for what seemed almost 10 seconds and then with his head down in a soft voice Johnny recited the play while he visibly struggled.

    At the end of this awkward moment as Johnny looked up he smiled and winked at Gruden as if expecting a high-five or something, Strange indeed.

    During the Monday night football game against Washington, Johnny on several occasions looked to not understand the play calls relayed from the sidelines.

    I’m guessing there were no football questions on his Wonderlic.

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