Browns may use Manziel in a specialty package


For a guy who lived through the Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow debacle in New York, Browns coach Mike Pettine doesn’t seem to be concerned about his quarterback competition in Cleveland becoming a potential two-man show.  In fact, it looks like that’s what Pettine wants.

During his interview with Tony Grossi of, Pettine said that the team is considering using Manziel as a Wildcat-style change-of-pace in his rookie year.

We’ve already talked about it,” Pettine said regarding the possibility of using both Manziel and Brian Hoyer in the same game.
“We’ve already installed elements of it in the spring.  We ran some of the zone-read stuff in practice and Kyle [Shanahan] incorporated some of the mobile quarterback elements of what he did in Washington.  We’re still going to go back to the beginning in pads, but as we get going, some of the stuff that’s more game-plan-specific that we don’t want to show, we might work on in our walk-throughs as opposed to a public practice.”

Pettine wisely didn’t point to the Sanchez-Tebow experiment as justification for doing it.

“That’s how Colin Kaepernick got his start in the NFL, as a package quarterback,” Pettine said of the former 49ers backup.  “On the other side of the ball, I’ve seen that give defenses some trouble.  I think there’s positives and negatives to it.  You’re taking your starter off the field.  You have his rhythm and continuity to take into account, but at the same time defensively you’re now forcing a team to basically come up with two game plans.  I mean, there are pluses and minuses to it and it’s something I’m sure will be discussed at some point.”

In theory, the Jets wanted Tebow because of the pressure that preparing for two quarterbacks puts on a defense.  And if former offensive coordinator Tony Sporano had any faith at all in Tebow, the Jets may have actually used him.

The Jets and Pettine nevertheless got a first-hand look at the challenge of dealing with two quarterbacks in September 2012, when Kaepernick rushed five time for 50 yards and a touchdown coming off the bench and showing the Jets how to properly employ a two-quarterback system.

If the Browns could pull it off, the dilution of the ability of the opposing defense to fully prepare for each guy could help both guys thrive.  The only downside is that, as Manziel has more and more success, more and more fans will be clamoring for him to be something other than a part-time player.

55 responses to “Browns may use Manziel in a specialty package

  1. Kills two birds with one stone: Not only does it take Manziel’s concentration off learning the regular offense but steals practice time from Hoyer as they work on Manziel’s plays.

  2. Yeah just start him. Hoyer is a really good backup put in a tough situation. Manziel thrived when everyone was saying his offseason was crazy so I won’t be suprised if he gets named the starter.

  3. And in other news, Steeler D practicing how to make specialty pretzels in opening game vs clowns. For reference, google colt McCoy meets silverback James Harrison!

  4. Well to be honest, much of what I’ve seen so far about his “specialties” I find inappropriate on a football field, much less during a game.

  5. Specialty package? Like what? Dollar bill rolling seminar for fans; how to talk on a money phone? Hmmm…endless possibilities for using Johnny.

  6. And that is why right after the draft, I labeled him Johnny Wildcat.

    Manziel must be thinking, this is getting real. I may really have to play. After all his hard work and study, I’m sure he’s ready.

  7. I fear that if the Browns need 2 quarterbacks, that means they have none. Oh boy. Back to my Maker’s…

  8. Johnny Backup parties too much to be able to learn the full play book so they came up with this “special package” so he can concentrate on learning 2-3 plays whenever he’s not hung over.

  9. If I recall correctly the last time the Browns did something similar was actually pretty successful with Josh Cribbs and Seneca Wallace and it was a defensive minded head coach who implemented that as well.

    I honestly don’t understand why more teams don’t implement systems like this. Especially teams who’s franchise QB’s tend to fade as the season goes (Dallas and Romo come to mind immediately) Just like teams have a 3rd down running back they should have an option QB. Guys like Vince Young and Tim Tebow would still be in the league and probably thrive if they did. Jacksonville needs to be taking notes right now instead of having Denard Robinson wasting away.

    The more this guy talks the more Mike Pettine impresses me and the more I hope he succeeds. Most coaches spend the offseason with their new team talking about how he’s going to make everyone do things his way. Pettines done nothing but talk about how he’s preparing his team to make the best of any situation thrown at them. In other words he’s actually going to coach.

  10. Lol,
    I am so happy my Vikings elected to draft a Franchise QB, with the most pro ready game! He has the ability to Read defenses , dissect coverages, make all the throws & my favorite, he is the Anti-Ponder. He will actually remain in the pocket , always looking downfield to find the open receiver! As opposed to “mr happy feet Ponder” or this ” dollar bill rolling”, Bieber BFF, gimmick QB, that runs in circles , evading college LB’s, while tossing up the “hailmary”….. I give him the , he was fun watching @ A&M bit, but seriously, how many examples do we need, that this style of play will not bode well for him in the big’s!!! Good luck, Cleveland, I would kevin “LOVE” nothing more than to see him succeed, I just think you guys will be “WIGGINS” out after eveything is said and done!

  11. Johnny’s teammates say he thinks he’s the best player on the field in the huddle. They say he has no quit in him & he believes he’s unstoppable. Maybe that is why he was the first freshman and fifth player in NCAA history to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a season & the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, Manning Award, and the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award. Should the Browns use him in specialty packages that will speed up his learning curve to the speed of the game? Yes!!!

  12. They’re calling it “Bieber flash two five lightning bust”….

    Sheesh…. Is there a bigger tool in the NFL than Manziel? He hasn’t even taken an NFL snap yet….

  13. All I want to see is passrushers just pulverizing Manziel over and over again. That would be the sweetest thing ever for that arrogant punk.

  14. Yeah the dual quarterback tandem has worked out so well in Cleveland, let’s just do it again! SMH

  15. Why not? He might make a better WR than most of the clowns they have right now! That’s it, Coach Goldberg! Get your overpriced/overdrafted rookie QB injured on some stupid gadget plan like Davis did to Winslow.

  16. He’s too small. Tebow and Kaipernick are linebacker size to absorb the punishment. Linebackers like Patrick Willis run 4.5 40’s and will track him down, knowing that he’s likely to run. That’s before the confusion they will throw at him as soon as he gets out there. This is one terrible idea. Good Luck Browns. You’re going to need it.

  17. i give the browns a better than even chance of screwing this up…they got a great player and they don’t know what to do with him……

  18. Florio has it right, Manziel and Kap are fleet and very quick (4.56 and 4.53 respectively) Tebow while very versed in the zone read offense, simply didn’t have the raw speed (4.7) required to excel at it. At 230+ I would have made him a tight end! JM will be very good if used…

  19. Manziel won’t be a “package QB” for long…I think Coach Pettine just wants to work Manziel into the NFL slowly.

    You Johnny Manziel doubters and haters need to just STOP IT….now! It’s getting really old people!
    Manziel is easily one of the greatest QBs to play the game in NCAA History… way Brian Hoyer can say that. If you just go back and compare Hoyer’s & Manziel’s college stats (and highlights)…there’s NO comparison. I mean, what QB wins the Heisman Trophy his very 1st year playing college ball…nobody, except Johnny Manziel. He deserved to Win it!

    One commenter stated “Yeah QBs that run is great, ask Brian Hoyer about it”. Well, has anyone gone back and reviewed the video of the game against Buffalo & the play when Hoyer was injured? Go look. Hoyer could have easily gotten safely out of bounds (on the right sideline) and made the first down……oh, but no, Brian decided to stay in bounds for a few more useless yards and he got nailed by a Line Backer…END OF SEASON for Hoyer. It should be noted that Manziel has NEVER missed a game (in high school or playing for A&M in the SEC) due to an injury. Funny reading that at Michigan State (in 4 yrs., Hoyer had -229 yards rushing vs. Manziel’s almost 2,300 yards rushing in ONLY 2 years at A&M. But, after Manziel’s 2nd & final year at A&M, he led the Nation with the highest QB “pocket passing average”…73.5%. So, the guy can beat you with both his arms and legs.

    I seem to recall a QB who is UNDER 6 ft. who just WON the Super Bowl (Russell Wilson)….playing a Denver team with a 6′ – 5” QB (Peyton Manning). So, don’t under estimate Johnny Manziel…..many players and coaches have in the past…and they LOST. JM rarely loses too…at anything. He hates to lose. And he has that rare athletic talent that allows him to be a WINNER.

    When Manziel starts lighting up the scoreboards and making plays this season that AMAZE you…remember my BLOG comments here.

  20. Alright, let’s remember something. The NFL landscape is littered with the corpses of outstanding college careers, and not just at QB. Yes, Russell Wilson is small and probably has had the best first two seasons of a career in NFL history. But Russell Wilson prepares maniacally and also played in two different pro-style offenses at NC State and Wisconsin.

    Manziel plays in an “Air Raid” spread system. You should google “list of NFL QBs who played in Air Raid system.” The list isn’t pretty- it includes the Houston crew like Klingler and Ware, as well as QBs who played in more recent variations of it, like Kevin Kolb. Sumlin runs the system and Holgorsen also ran the system at OK St and WVU. Look at how Weeden and Geno Smith turned out. Maybe Johnny’s sheer talent will overcome all that, but he’s far from a lock to have NFL success, especially in a dysfunctional organization.

  21. To ‘mutanman87″…….I have to disagree with your analysis on Manziel. Yes, he’s not big, but, more like Russell Wilson & Drew Brees (2) of the Best QBs in the NFL. Too many of you NFL fans are hung up on BIG QBs. Well, I “used” to be a big Dallas Cowboy’s fan…but, no longer. Look at Tony Romo (he’s 6′-3″ & 225 lbs.). But, after 8 yrs. starting for Dallas, Romo has won 1 of 3 Playoff games….period. He’s got the best stats of any Dallas QB ever….so what, he’s NOT a winning QB!

    Funny, when I was comparing Hoyer’s college stats with Manziel’s. In 4 yrs. at Michigan State, Hoyer rushed for -229 yards. Manziel was only at A&M for 2 yrs. and he rushed for almost 2,300 yards. Manziel passed for 5,000 yards in college in a shorter number of games than any QB in NCAA history…destroyed the SEC QB passing records!

    One thing, I think you DID get right about Johnny Manziel….his athletic ability is incredible! The guy hates to lose at anything. Manziel has the athletic abilities and serious competitive drive that allows him to be a WINNER….he rarely loses at anything. I don’t think he’s quite 6 ft…but, I watched an on-line video of Manziel slam dunking a basketball with 1 and 2 hands…UNREAL. It was like he was 6’-5″ on that court…he made it look easy.

    Sure, Manziel played in an “air raid type offensive scheme”, but, Browns Offensive Coach Shanahan will most likely be taking full advantage of Manziel’s ability to run and make plays with a moving pocket. But, Manziel can pass out of the pocket…after the 2013 season, he was ranked the #1 NCAA “pocket passer” with a 73.5% rating.

    Don’t under estimate Manziel….many coaches and players have in the past…and they LOST to him. The Browns appear to have a pretty solid defense…and have some new quality players…Manziel can’t do it all alone, no QB can…but, the BROWNS have a much better chance to succeed with Manziel than with Hoyer…hands down!

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