Johnny Manziel: I’m not using the rookie excuse

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If NFL seasons played out like fairy tales in Cleveland, Johnny Manziel would have led the Browns to a dramatic win over the Bengals on Sunday before winning the final two games of the season to lead the Browns to a division title and playoff berth in his first three starts as an NFL player.

As anyone with a sense of history could tell you, though, there are no fairy tale endings for the Browns. Manziel’s first NFL start looked uncomfortably like Brandon Weeden’s as Manziel threw for 80 yards and two interceptions in a 30-0 loss to their cross-state rivals. After the game, Browns coach Mike Pettine said Manziel “looked like a rookie,” although the rookie didn’t use that as an excuse for his dud.

“It’s tough to come out there and lay an egg like that and I put a lot of that on me,” Manziel said, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I’m not using the rookie excuse – it’s not me. Yeah, I’m a rookie but that’s out the window. I needed to play better. I felt coming in to today that I was absolutely prepared for today. Being out there, I never felt overwhelmed or that it was too much for me, but when it comes down to it, football is football. You need to make more plays than the other team and we didn’t do that.”

Manziel said he wasn’t “going to be written off forever” because of one bad start and that’s certainly true. He’ll get a couple more chances this season to get things pointed in the right direction before 2015 rolls around and then he’ll have an offseason to work with the team’s staff on growing as a quarterback. There’s plenty of room to do that with nowhere to go but up.

127 responses to “Johnny Manziel: I’m not using the rookie excuse

  1. The kid “gets it” for sure. If Vince Young had his attitude and head he’s be an all timer. Problem is Johnny’s too small and he isn’t the best athlete on the field like he was in college. Bottom line, we’re still looking for a QB…….as always.

  2. Browns lose next two games with mixed results from Manziel but mostly plays subpar. The media will hype him going into the next years preseason and regular season. Manziel will struggle in the regular season and the fans will be calling for his head and for him to be benched by mid next season… Manziel will then probably (hopefully) fade away ala Anderson, Quinn, Weeden, etc etc…

  3. Sad to say but we’ve just seen the best Manziel has to offer. Browns best chances are with going back to, Hoyer, a real quarterback. They can wait until next year for Manziel and hope he grows up by then.

  4. “I put a lot of that on me”

    It’s all on you Johnny. I watched the game, you had a rough time even handing off the ball. You’re no NFL qb, take the money you pilfered by being a fake and move on.

  5. Yeah – when you pile pressure on yourself by trademarking the name Johnny Football you can’t fall back on the rookie/too much pressure excuse

    Though many rookies – including Peyton Manning – have looked horrible at times in their first season. Not that Johnny Interception has anything close to the same skills as Manning

    I’m confident Manziel will bounce back and have as good a career as Tim Tebow did – getting fans hopes up for a bit while football GMs all know he’s never going to be an elite passer

  6. By Manziel proclaiming that he’s “not using the rookie excuse,” one could argue that that’s an obvious passive-aggressive way of reminding everyone that he’s just a rookie, and implying that we should cut him some slack.

  7. Ooof. Browns fan and Manziel supporter here. He. Was. Awful.

    He’s saying the right things publicly and maintaining confidence in interviews, but his body language on the field sunday suggested otherwise. He’s a mess.

    I saw nothing of Johnny Manziel that would lead me to believe that he should be a starting QB in the NFL next year.

  8. Even if an excuse were to be accepted, it still doesn’t result in a rise to success, that path must be found another way. Being pointed in the right direction is half the battle!

  9. He shouldn’t use the rookie excuse and can’t use it after this year anyway. An excuse for being immature, ill-prepared and narcissistic would seem to be more fitting.

  10. 2007 pick 22 Brady Quinn
    2012 pick 22 Brandon Weedon
    2014 pick 22 JF

    Maybe they should trade up or down

  11. Manziel doesn’t know what it means to be prepared to play an NFL game. And by starting him the Browns just gave up on their playoff race. I feel sorry for the Browns fans. #FactoryOfSadness

  12. Congratulations, you big proud macho Bengal players! You certainly showed that “happy go lucky” 22 year old rookie quarterback what real men are made of.

  13. I doubt he got many reps in practice up until now. If the Browns plan all along was to bring him in at some point this season he should have been getting at least a third of them.

  14. Let’s just state the obvious. The Clown’s front office is a joke. By the way, Minnesota’s #1 WR was signed off the Clown’s practice squad. Is anyone even paying attention at the Mistake by the Lake?

  15. Hate to be a Browns fan !

    You have a winning record and contending for the playoffs in how many years …. the coaching staff and management sabotage your run by starting a rookie over the QB that put you in position to have a run at the playoffs.

    Mike Pettine is coaching from his Jets via the Bills pedigree. All I can say is Brian Hoyer deserves much better than how he’s being treated by this franchise.

    It’s a plain and simple disgrace !

  16. Although the jury is still out on Maziel ..

    What was Shanahan thinking …..

    With the O-Line acting like matadors the pocket never moved, I never saw a planned roll out, I saw only 1 boot leg, West was running for 4.5 a yard on stretch plays but they went away from those to straight dives and pitch sweeps.

    Johnny, Hoyer, Bernie, Brady or Manning were doomed with this lack of game planning.

  17. u need to be able to read the field/defense he can barely see the field over the defense. He is not good and his backyard style will only go so far.

  18. 10 of 18 for 55.6%, 80 yards and 2 picks? He’s going to need more than a rookie excuse to give the Browns any comfort in not finding a viable starter. The alarming thing is that watching him, you really can’t see any of the traits of successful QBs. Anytime there’s a little pressure around him, he looks to run away (then float the ball across the middle of the field). I’m not saying it’ll be impossible for him go become a franchise QBs but I wouldn’t bet on it. He’s going to have to change a lot to have a chance.

  19. “I’m not using the rookie excuse — I’m using the personal lack of serious professional preparation and I-suck-in-general excuse.” Valid points all, Johnny. Valid points all.

  20. Umgh, then Johnny, why are you reminding us you’re rookie if you don’t want preferential treatment for being one?

    Be advised, you won’t get it from me. You should get the same treatment you’ve had since being drafted, which is headlines everyday, everywhere.

    Your monumental fail should be plastered everywhere for all to see. You earned it all by yourself. Now trademark that.

  21. He’s not going to be a good NFL quarterback. He’s just too short and will always have passes knocked down. He could barely see over the line yesterday when he dropped back. Had to step up just to see. Plus he’s just a jerk.

    I guess Marvin was right and had the last laugh.

  22. The Browns will be looking to “package” their two mid-level 1st round draft choices to move up in the 2015 draft to draft a real quarterback.

    If I were that homeless guy that advised Haslam to draft Manziel I’d be watching my back for a long time to come.

  23. And he shouldn’t use the rookie excuse. Bortles, Bridgewater, Carr, Mettenberger… none of them used it. And none of them have ever had a game THAT pathetic.

    Like I said before:
    Highly touted Brady Quinn drafted by Cleveland 22nd overall… and fails.

    Highly touted Brandon Weeden drafted by Cleveland 22nd overall… and fails.

    And now it’s John Manziel’s (no adult with a shred of self respect goes by Johnny) turn to follow in the footsteps of the QB failures before him. Also drafted 22nd mind you.

    The Factory of Sadness has returned to it’s usual form.

  24. I’m a huge Browns fan, and I’ll root for anyone on the team if they play hard and help win games…….but did anyone honestly think Johnny had a chance to be an impact player in the NFL?? He’s short, he looks like he’s never lifted a weight in his life and he is far from a traditional QB. I hope he succeeds for the Browns sake, just don’t see it happening.

    p.s. Mr Haslam, please let your GM and football people do the drafting, let’s lay off on who homeless people think we should draft til at least the 5th round.

  25. It is exactly because a rookie QB typically performs this way that Manziel should have stayed out of the headlines and been much more conservative in his rookie year. Looking this bad is okay for a first game in the NFL if you’ve been working hard and studying the playbook. But when you come across like an overgrown frat boy, it’s hard for fans not to be overly critical. Add to that the major hype the media gave him and you have this embarrassing debacle look worse than it is.

  26. by saying he’s “not using the rookie excuse”, isn’t he kind of using the rookie excuse?

  27. it’s kinda hard to start a rook in the latter part of the season and expect him to produce right away, especially against a team who’s first place in the best division of football right now (I cringed when i wrote that best division part)

  28. We were waiting for him to start and do something magical. Instead, he showed up and played as rookies often do in their first game. And most of the rest of the team can’t use a rookie excuse either, and played poorly as well.

    We all need to give it time. And he needs to work at it.

  29. How sad. The Browns sabotaged Manziel’s debut with atrocious defense and gave him NO help on offense.

    Johnny and the fans deserved much, much better than the team the coaches put on the field yesterday. Manziel had no chance.

  30. Ya know, maybe the kid is a bust and maybe he isn’t. And I am NO fan. But I watched his press conference and he is doing what a Leader does … taking the blame and not making excuses. I gotta say, I do like the attitude about that.

    As for his play? We shall see. He sure looked like a boy among men. And it wasn’t the beating that was bad or the stats so much as it was those horrid college-esque passes.

  31. I hope Hoyer come back and lead the team to the playoffs, the does not sign un the offseason. So this clown organization Will be with this clown qb

  32. Hey Cleveland how is that whole Johnnie Bustball thing working out for you?

    I think the Browns set a record for lowest offensive output thus year, helped the Bengas set a new shutout margin of victory record and you don’t want to see who else is on the list of QBs shutout in their first NFL start in the last 20 years.

    My Jets suck but none of the fans are delusional that we actually have a starting QB on the roster. Never mind delusions that one of them is a “franchise” guy.

  33. “You need to make more plays than the other team and we didn’t do that.”

    Yes, Johnny, zero plays is less than the other team made.

  34. As NFL quarterbacks go, he is a project. He mechanics are poor and he needs to learn how to read NFL defenses. If you combine that with being short and lacking arm strength, you have to wonder why he was picked so early in the draft.

    He was drafted ahead of Bridgewater, Carr, and Garoppolo. Manziel and the other three were the only quarterbacks drafted in the first three rounds. There was no reason other than hype that Manziel should have been drafted ahead of the other three.

  35. I watched the game yesterday and it certainly wasn’t all his fault and I wouldn’t label him a bust after one game.
    He was clearly overmatched and I think he will learn a lot of humility along the way.
    The biggest question in my mind is if he can adjust.

  36. To say he ‘played like a rookie’ is an insult to every rookie QB to ever take a snap in the NFL.

    He played like a mentally disabled child who inadvertently wandered on to a football field.

    What trash – Browns fans, you deserve this.

  37. But Johnny deserves to play because he’s a “winner”. He “works harder” than everyone else. He “makes others play harder” and he’s a “good guy”. The Browns were right to hand him the starting job and now they just need to design the offense around his talents so that he can look good.

    Right, Tebowmaniacs?

  38. “Hey, please don’t think of me as a rookie — I refuse to lean on that excuse.”

    “Hey, try not to think of a pink elephant.”

  39. EVERY rookie has that moment when they realize that NFL speed is much faster than college speed and the speed of the NFL game overwhelms them.

    He was being run down from behind by DEs.

    The speed of the game has little to do with his mechanics though. He’s not Tim Tebow and he’s not a total lost cause.

    But I don’t recall seeing too many pass attempts where he had his feet planted and pushed off with power. Manziel will have to be 100% willing to learn and make some adjustments to his throwing style. He doesn’t have to change everything completely, but you can’t come into the league and NOT be willing to develop your skills further.

    He has plenty of examples of guys that have NOT done that and he can see where they are today.

    If he thinks he’s got it and doesn’t need to learn/develop, he’ll be another Cleveland draft bust.

  40. He should ask little shanny everything he knows about Bobby G 3 on how he approached being an NFL QB, and do the exact opposite.

    Johnny and Bob will be sitting alongside Tebow soon enough on some mothership college football segment called , the three heismen.

  41. crapsandviche says: Dec 15, 2014 9:01 AM

    Johnny Manziel looked like Christian Ponder yesterday….

    If he looked like Samantha Ponder at least Browns fans would have something worth looking at.

  42. I have sympathy for Browns fans, but not for the organization. You had a small but real chance of making the playoffs, so naturally you switch to a rookie QB that loves money and rubbing his nose excessively. Explain yourselves.

  43. In five yrs the nfl will be unwatchable because it will be horrible, talentless spread option qbs that don’t know how to play football in the nfl. The read option will destroy football.

  44. He had trouble beating defensive linemen to the edge and his throws out to the flat floated in time. His favorite play in college – the prayer heave over the middle for Evans doesn’t work in the NFL.

    Wonder who Haslam’s gardner has atop his draft board.

  45. As a Browns fan and advocate for Manziel being drafted and starting, I will be the first to admit he played terrible and looked absolutely lost out there yesterday, but the poor performance spanned across every position on the team yesterday.

    O-Line looked like complete amateurs out there, granted there are some injuries, but there isn’t an excuse. They gave the RB’s and Manziel little to no time to create any plays.

    WR’s had a few big drops that could have been first downs that extended drives.

    Defense is just absolutely beat up. Playing without Haden, Dansby, Taylor, Gipson, Williams killed any bit of momentum the defense had. Haden’s dropped INT, which I think led to his injury could have been a huge momentum turner.

    Lastly, a lot of blame needs to be put on the coaching staff. Ive watched every game this year, and yesterday it looked as if Shannahan tried to install a completely new offense in 4 days. That in turn confused the offense even more than adjusting to a new signal caller.

    Hopefully Johnny bounces back and becomes more adjusted to the pro-game, I am really rooting for him.

  46. As a Bengals fan, I don’t think you can judge Manziel on this one. He didn’t play well, but it was a good match-up for our D. Cleveland’s D did him no favors letting the Bengals absolutely dominate the clock and jump to an early lead. At that point, the front four could pin their ears back and go after him. His receivers dropped a couple of easy catches and his o-line was atrocious. Hoyer had his best pro games against the Bengals, but wasn’t getting it done.

    You can’t write off a young QB after one start – John Elway threw for 14 yards and an interception in his first start… and Browns fans are well aware of how quickly he developed.

  47. I’d like to start that I’m not a Manziel fan. I was so happy when the Vikings didn’t draft him, as Bridgewater was the QB I really wanted.

    Saying all that, I genuinely feel that Manziel can be a good QB in the NFL, but it will take partnering him with the right coach.

    Rich Gannon was an OK starter when at Kansas, but he become much better when teamed up with Jon Gruden. I’m not a Gruden guy… but having him coach Manziel might actually work.

    Thing is… I can see that happening within another organisation (Jets?) and not the Brown’s.

  48. Are there any Cavs games this week? Maybe his PR team and ESPN can turn his story around by getting some more shots of him cheering on LeBron.

  49. Enough with the boring Manziel hate. He stunk it up but anyone who watched the game could see that the Browns are a below average team. The defence was pathetic and the offensive line was useless and the receivers can’t catch and the running backs can’t break tackles. Whatever shortcomings Manziel demonstrated, they were amplified incredibly by the useless team around him. Just because no one likes Manziel doesn’t make him responsible for a crummy team.

  50. I see an off season trade with Barnum and Bailey as they need a new tricycle clown and they have Bobo the circus elephant available who could plug the holes in Cleveland’s offensive line. Plus he will sign for peanuts.

  51. Pettine said he looked like a rookie, but he didn’t add the more accurate description of “undrafted” in front of that.

    I LOVED it when Mauluga gave Johnny Bench the money rolling sign after sacking him yesterday. Welcome to the big boy league, Johnny. That type of trademark crap doesn’t work in the NFL.

    Johnny Bench is a bust. He won’t be the next Kaepernick or Russell. He was a very good college QB whose lack of humility and severe over-hype will plague him for the remainder of his “pro” career.

    How is passing on this POS and drafting Martin looking for Dallas right about now, haters?

  52. This guy is nothing more that another ESPN creation ala Tebow. Sadly ESPN turns these “look at me” players into superstars before they’ve done anything at all. Manzel is on his way to being Tebow.

  53. well, that’s good that he said that and it’s something he should do….not make excuses. as for his game, i won’t trash his passing skills…yet, it’s too soon….with that said, i don’t think his running is that great and if Cam plays, then the panthers defense has a perfect guy to game plan for because Cam is a bigger/better passing and running version of Manziel. Manziel could improve as a passer, but i think it won’t show until next year or after and i don’t expect him to light teams up with his legs like others have because he’s not real fast, he’s just a bit elusive.

  54. Andrew Luck had a decent (not perfect) rookie season and continues to progress. He’s now a solid QB. The difference? Andrew put in the time. This guy never will. The good & great ones make sacrifices (e.g. instead of parties they study game film, the playbook, and practice).

    I’d be shocked to hear this kid has been studying game film or practicing (note: *above* and *beyond* normal organized practices).

    He needs to go find Mr. Miyagi.

    -not a colts fan

  55. I would be furious this morning if I were Browns fan. What person in their right mind would make a QB switch (absent injury) in this situation? If the Browns had 3 or 4 wins at this point I would completely get it, but when they are (or were) still in the mix for a playoff spot?

    Hoyer wasn’t exactly lighting it up, but to blow up a team’s continuity like this when every game still counts, is just asinine. I don’t get it, but I guess that’s why the Browns keep being the Browns.

  56. Everyone knew he couldn’t play in the NFL the same way he played in college. He probably understood it at some level too, but it was going to take real in-game play for him to really grasp it. Elway’s first start was even worse, although Elway had the size and cannon that the Broncos stuck with him. I think it’s a good thing for the Browns to start Manziel for the rest of the year, the live experience will really help him with offseason training. Then next year we’ll see what kind of future he was in the NFL. I’m sure Manziel will learn and adjust, however how far he will be able to take it is a very open question.

  57. Wonder if Jimmy Haslam will come out and fall on the Axe for forcing them to draft Manziel. Pettine and Farmer gave the company line of “it was a collective decision” on the day of the Draft. But everyone knows Haslam made the pick in order to re ignite a fan base with a “splash” pick. From that perspective Manziel has done his job. His jersey has sold well, Haslam raised ticket prices and created a national buzz around his team….but theres only one problem, the kid cannot play QB in the NFL.

  58. Hoyer wouldn’t have faired much better with the play of the rest of team. Still,once is an accident. Twice is a pattern. Three times is a tradition. If he goes 0-3 and looks like that, time to look for QB prospects in April.

  59. That game was ugly. He looks small/thin out there. He’s going to need to put on 20-30LBs of muscle in the off-season to avoid going down on hand tackles by d-linemen. His speed also looked to be lacking. He was 2nd guessing and pump faking a ton of throws. He’ll learn to trust those throws, but what looked to be his advantage, his speed doesn’t look to be that impressive at the next level.

  60. The same people who are on here calling Manziel “Ryan Leaf 2.0” and comparing him to JeMarcus Russell are the same people who would/will be trolling Browns fans had he (or if he does next week) played well. The whole “it’s only one game” thing works both ways.

  61. Tuned in to watch Manzel yesterday and man you needed to watch closely just to see him. Three and out was pretty much every drive other than the penalty assisted drive that overturned the interception and instead led to another interception

    We ran that same offense with the QB four yards back with single back and direct snap on my sixth grade flag football team only we had more plays in the playbook. Please tell me it’s not a simplified offense just for JM.

    I bet we read about a Brady Quinn comeback next

  62. On some level I actually feel sorry for him. He’d gotten used to all his instincts being right but is finding out everything he wants to try is wrong in the NFL. Up until now he was used to his legs being his salvation: Don’t see anybody open or don’t understand the defense and just take off running for a nice gain and try again the next down. But he can’t get away from NFL defenders so he has no option beyond just blindly throwing the ball someplace.

  63. You don’t come to the NFL acting like Broadway Joe Namath, partying and all that, and then step on the field and look more like PeeWee Herman. Please leave him in for the Ravens game in 2 weeks. I don’t know if the Ravens will have any secondary left at all by then and they may need the help to get to the playoffs.

  64. Don’t worry Johnny. When Jameis Winston is a worst bust than you, everyone will forget about you and focus on ragging on him. Both of you are terrible and won’t make it in the NFL.

  65. The SEC network has 2 seats warm for Tebow and Manziel as analysts. It’s just a matter of time.

  66. buddysguys says:
    Dec 15, 2014 8:13 AM
    u need to be able to read the field/defense he can barely see the field over the defense. He is not good and his backyard style will only go so far.

    25 5 i Rate This

    Report comment
    Okay, tell that to Russell Wilson

  67. buddysguys says:
    Dec 15, 2014 8:13 AM
    u need to be able to read the field/defense he can barely see the field over the defense. He is not good and his backyard style will only go so far.

    25 5 i Rate This

    Report comment
    Okay, tell that to Russell Wilson.

  68. Comparing what we saw yesterday to Russell Wilson is beyond comical. Wilson doesn’t take off sprinting outside for no reason on every single play just because that’s what he wants to do, he doesn’t blindly throw the ball into coverage hoping his guy catches it, he doesn’t throw across his body into the middle of the field.

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