Johnny Manziel: First CFL start was the football gods humbling me

AP

Johnny Manziel’s first start in the Canadian Football League was a disaster of epic proportions. Manziel threw four interceptions and was benched in the fourth quarter with his Montreal Alouettes trailing his former team, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 47-3.

After the game, Manziel said it was a difficult step on his football journey.

“I think we got beat so bad, things went so bad, so quick that even throughout the game, even when I was in there, I just kept telling myself that this is a test, this is the football gods humbling me,” Manziel said. “You come up here, it’s not the NFL, it’s the CFL, it’s different. You expect to do well. It’s what I’ve been accustomed to in college and had some moments in the NFL. Then you come up here and it’s not what you expected or are used to, it’s a different place. This game humbles you.”

Alouettes head coach Mike Sherman indicated that Manziel will remain the starter next week, so it’s not time to pull the plug on the Johnny Football Canadian Experience just yet. But his first start did raise questions about just how ready he is to play football at a high level. Manziel did show occasional flashes, but the stats don’t lie: Manziel finished the game 11-for-20 for 104 yards, with no touchdowns and four interceptions, plus two rushes for four yards.

Manziel’s first game in Canada was a train wreck. He doesn’t only have a long way to go before he’s good enough to play in the NFL. He also has a long way to go before he’s good enough for the CFL.

74 responses to “Johnny Manziel: First CFL start was the football gods humbling me

  1. Four days practicing with a team that was 1-5 doesn’t bode well for anyone. But he did show extreme rustiness and couple that with players with whom he had no time to create a chemistry. I wasn’t shocked or dismayed.

    Johnny’s downfall was Cleveland, Montreal, and the snickering fans’ hopes that he was the resurrection of Otto Graham.

  2. The humbling started once the competition started cashing checks. Not good enough.

  3. It wasn’t the football Gods rather the talent talent evaluators. Even without addiction problems I never thought Manzeil was NFL material and certainly not a 1st round pick. Add to that the time he missed he faces an uphill battle to be an average QB in the CFL. Johnny Football is no more.

  4. joetoronto says:

    August 4, 2018 at 6:07 am

    The fact is he looked terrible playing in a bush league.
    ________________________________________________________________________________
    You need to embrace that league, it’s the only one that will ever be in Toronto. Just lose baby.

  5. Joe Theismann, Warren Moon, Doug Flutie, Joe Kapp, Jeff Garcia. Guys who were good QB’s and had success in both leagues. I don’t think the CFL is ‘bush league’ as many would suggest. It’s a different game that emphasizes the pass. If Johnny can’t make a throw, he won’t make it in any league. But I do give the guy credit for trying. I just don’t think he’s all that great a QB…no matter where he plays…

  6. It’s one game.
    Montreal is the worst team in the CFL. They have the worst offense and the worst defense.
    (Has any QB been able to make the Cleveland Browns look good?)

    It’s not fair to totally judge Manziel as a disaster. Yet.

  7. If you include the picks, he was 15 for 20. That’s the glass more than half full if you ask me.

  8. joetoronto says:
    August 4, 2018 at 6:07 am
    The fact is he looked terrible playing in a bush league.

    ————————————————————————————

    Oh, the irony. Bush league is exactly how the NFL views the city of Toronto in regards to an NFL franchise. Toronto doesn’t support the game at any level, but somehow believes it will get a team. Mexico city sells out games, London sells out games. Toronto gave away tens of thousands of tickets for the Bills in Toronto series. I would suggest needing to give away tickets for an NFL game is the definition of bush league.

  9. I watched parts of the game, he didn’t get much help and his team isn’t very good

  10. Actions speak louder than words, still as arrogant as ever. Still thinks he’s the greatest QB of all time. Just take the blame and stop pointing fingers, “the football gods” my foot, it’s you.

  11. Manziel is toast. Time for him to go away and give it up. He’s not the football savior that so many thought he would be. On his best day he’s just a very average QB, and that’s not gonna get him into the NFL.

  12. He can improvise well occasionally when the plan fails, the problem is that he’s the one that keeps making the plan fail. It doesn’t work in the pros where the athleticism gap is small.

    Some people think he can’t read defenses. I’ve never seen him be able to read the offense and play book.

  13. After starting only eight NFL games and cementing his status as the biggest first-round bust in NFL history, he expected to do well because “It’s what I’ve been accustomed to in college and had some moments in the NFL.” Ignorance is bliss indeed.

  14. Let’s give it some time, only 4 practices and no training camp. The supporting cast around him are weak. Watched a bit of it, he needs to learn to read 12 man CFL defences and play more structured football. I also think he was pressing a bit. Hope things click for him near future.

    On a side note, it was cool seeing Jerry Glanville as Ti-Cats DC!!

  15. That was hard to watch, but I think it’s too early to call on whether Manziel can succeed in the CFL. The Canadian game is different, and Manziel hadn’t even been with the Alouettes for two weeks yet. It’s not a good sign that he kept wanting to do it all in one throw when he had better options open, but I’d hold off for a few more weeks before pronouncing his football career over.

  16. I’ve watched a fair amount of CFL this year. Montreal has the worst talent level of any of the CFL teams. Even before Johnny Football arrived, they looked pathetic.
    Mike Sherman has coached successfully in college football and the NFL. It looks like they found their players on some flag football field.

  17. The fact that it took Football to humble him is a problem should have been humbled a long time ago !

  18. joetoronto says:
    August 4, 2018 at 6:07 am
    The fact is he looked terrible playing in a bush league.

    ***************************************************
    Much like the Raiders do, playing in the AFC West

  19. Guess when he said “wreck this league” he meant something totally different…..

  20. joetoronto says:
    August 4, 2018 at 6:07 am

    The fact is he looked terrible playing in a bush league.

    Remember that scene in the first Star wars movie where after Obi Wan bamboozles the storm-troopers, he explains to Luke that it’s easy to influence the weak minded.

    The Toronto sports media spent two decades trying to sabotage the Argos and the CFL in order to get an NFL franchise. “Bush league” and “Joke” were the two most common terms the media used to describe the team and the league. The weak minded were easily influenced and they regurgitate these terms on cue, a bit like a drooling Pavlov’s dog.

    CFL history is littered with the career carcasses of NCAA QB heroes. Manziel is just adding his to the heap.

  21. I think what really matters, and always has with this guy concerning pro football, is does he really want to be a professional football player? Does he want to put in all the work that is required to succeed at the game? I remember him saying he didn’t study his playbook in Cleveland until the week they told him he was going to start. If he hasn’t move well beyond this mentality at this point then he’s just wasting his and Montreal’s time.

  22. Bill Attercliffe says:
    August 4, 2018 at 9:14 am
    joetoronto says:
    August 4, 2018 at 6:07 am

    The fact is he looked terrible playing in a bush league.

    Remember that scene in the first Star wars movie where after Obi Wan bamboozles the storm-troopers, he explains to Luke that it’s easy to influence the weak minded.

    The Toronto sports media spent two decades trying to sabotage the Argos and the CFL in order to get an NFL franchise. “Bush league” and “Joke” were the two most common terms the media used to describe the team and the league. The weak minded were easily influenced and they regurgitate these terms on cue, a bit like a drooling Pavlov’s dog.

    CFL history is littered with the career carcasses of NCAA QB heroes. Manziel is just adding his to the heap.

    ———————————————————————————

    You sir, describe the situation perfectly when it comes to the media and the city of Toronto. The written word is a joy to read when a topic is summarized so perfectly.
    I especially enjoyed the Pavlov’s dog reference. Those terms “bush league” and “joke” are used so often but when pressed for further details, usually, there is no response. They have been trained in what to say, but don’t understand the topic to further the conversation. Again, congratulations on your comment.

  23. gfan, from everything we’ve read and been told, he’s putting in the work and the extra hours. The problem for QBs is that it is a huge adjustment going from NCAA/NFL to the CFL. It takes the average QB two to three years to get into the rhythm of the CFL game and some never do adjust. That he would struggle was predictable. That he would be this bad was not expected.

  24. It wasn’t pretty, but he had very little time to get up to speed.
    He clearly didn’t look ready and made some poor decisions.

  25. gmen32

    Thank you,

    Unfortunately for the CFL though, once trained they’re difficult to deprogram.

  26. Johnny football must have had too much to drink after finding out that the cfl too is to much for him just like the nfl!

  27. Stats may not lie, but occasionally they fib. The second interception should’ve been a highlight reel completion for Manziel. He eluded four tacklers and at a dead run put a pass right on the hands of the running back, whereupon it bounced off of those hands and to the defender. Most quarterbacks are flat on their back before that pass is even thrown.

  28. rodgerstonelson says:
    August 4, 2018 at 7:55 am

    This is what happens when you rush into a starting role.

    ———-

    This is what happens when you suck.

  29. He was facing the team that he was with in training camp, the Hamilton (Ontario) Tiger-Cats [40 miles southwest of Toronto, 62 miles northwest of Buffalo]

  30. As a Cleveland fan of long standing, all I can say to the folks in Montreal is – we feel for ya.

  31. I don’t know how many people actually watched the game on ESPN, but reading some of these comments, everybody didn’t! I’ve never been a big fan of Johnny Manziel, but I admit watching him play at Aggieville. He was entertaining! Watching him last night, he look like a guy who hadn’t played meaningful football in years. Now that you think about it, he didn’t. There were some flashes of Johnny Football in his game, but only limited flashes. There certainly not enough to win in any league. He under threw many receivers and made a lot of bad decision. Just before half, when it was 3rd down, Montreal went for it in Hamilton territory. Montreal needed about 3.5 yards. There was a receiver wide open for the needed yardage, but Manziel went for it all and under threw the receiver resulting in an interception. That’s how Manziel’s night went!

    Some flashes, just not enough period. Again, he look like a guy who hadn’t played meaning football in years. For Montreal, there is something to build upon. For Manziel he still has a lot to prove. One again, the football is in Manziel’s hands and we will have to see what he does with it!

  32. I live in Toronto and would say that most NFL fans here could care less if we got an NFL team. We all have our favorite teams already, As for the guy above who said we had to give away 10,000 tickets for the Bills and couldn’t sell out, it’s because IT WAS THE BILLS!!!

  33. Okay people, you watched the game and said he didn’t have much help. I watched the 4 INTs. The second one wasn’t really his fault. He made a nice little flip pass after scrambling. The other 3 were horrible and had nothing to do with his teammates, they weren’t even in a position to make a play. The first one was straight into the defender’s arms, the 3rd was badly underthrown, and the final one was another underthrow as he was being tackled. But that’s classic football 101 where you take the sack or throw it away as opposed to tossing it up for grabs. Case Keenum is lightyears ahead of Johnny Manziel.

  34. It’s official, Manziel could literally lay and egg on the field as in pull down his pants and people would still defend him.

    Let’s look at the excuses.

    “He’s only been on the team for 4 days he hasn’t had time to learn the playbook” – He was on Hamilton for weeks before this and never learned the playbook. He was in Cleveland for two seasons and never learned the playbook. That’s a Manziel learning problem, not a team timing problem. They brought him in because they thought his winging it which is what made him famous would work in pro football. So far it hasn’t in two countries and much like in Cleveland, the guy they benched to put him in was a better QB.

    “Well his receivers weren’t helping” – Montreal was bad before this but not this bad as they averaged over 20 points a game prior to Manziel (kind of like Cleveland before he was put in there). His receivers were used to pocket passes being thrown after they ran their routes (you know, pro football) and notice those passes got completed. Can’t blame them for not being able to read Johnny’s mind that he was going to throw wherever and good luck hope you’re ready and not paying attention to where you’re going (even though some of the commentators tried). At least they finally scored a TD once he was on the sidelines.

    Manziel last night looked exactly like Manziel in Cleveland and I’m sure Browns fans who suffered through it had plenty of flashbacks to those embarrassing games against the Bengals. Johnny’s best passing game in the NFL the team only let him throw 8 times (against the Titans his second year). His best overall game to prevent him from throwing interceptions they just stopped letting him throw at all in the game after the second quarter. If you don’t know your own playbook on top of not being able to read a defense to where coaches have to make those kinds of adjustments, you can’t be a pro QB in any country or else 90% of the population could do that. Let’s not forget for those who aren’t NFL historians. The Browns team Manziel inherited was first place in the AFC North and had 4 pro bowlers and the only time in this decade the Browns have ever been shut out in a game guess who the QB was?

  35. elrock7 says:
    August 4, 2018 at 12:40 pm
    I live in Toronto and would say that most NFL fans here could care less if we got an NFL team. We all have our favorite teams already, As for the guy above who said we had to give away 10,000 tickets for the Bills and couldn’t sell out, it’s because IT WAS THE BILLS!!
    ————————————————————————————-

    I live in Toronto as well. Amazing how times have changed. For years, it was “just a matter of time until the NFL arrives in Toronto”. Now that Toronto has been seen as bush league for the NFL, the quote has changed to, “hey, we have our favorite teams already”.
    Funny you mention the give aways of tickets in Toronto and blame the Bills. London sells out, no excuses necessary. Mexico City sells out, no excuses necessary. Toronto, “the tickets were too expensive”, “it’s only the Bills”, “we can’t tail-gate”. The excuses go on and on.

  36. gmen32

    Let’s not forget $200+ for a ticket for the uncompetitive, out of the playoffs Buffalo Bills playing another run of the mill team like Washington.

    Why do these conversations always get back to “NFL in Toronto” conversation? PLEASE let it die, currency exchange alone will not let it happen. Let’s talk football instead?!

  37. Johnny Busto was never going to be a good NFL QB. He doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude it takes to play in the NFL.
    I don’t feel sorry for him one bit. There are far too many other young guys whose dream was to play in the NFL and they didn’t make it for one reason or another. The difference between them and him is they weren’t spoiled brats because they were born with a silver spoon in their mouths.
    So goodbye Johnny — it wasn’t good to know you.

  38. mayfieldroadboy says:
    August 4, 2018 at 6:37 am
    Four days practicing with a team that was 1-5 doesn’t bode well for anyone. But he did show extreme rustiness and couple that with players with whom he had no time to create a chemistry. I wasn’t shocked or dismayed.

    Johnny’s downfall was Cleveland, Montreal, and the snickering fans’ hopes that he was the resurrection of Otto Graham.

    ——————————————————————————————

    This is beyond ridiculous. Johnny’s downfall was himself. It’s 100% his fault what happened to him. To make excuses for him is ridiculous. And “snickering fans”??? No one did more snickering than Johnny Manziel. He even walked across the stage when he was drafted rubbing his fingers together indicating how much money he was going to make. He was one of the most arrogant athletes I have ever seen, especially given that his talent was marginal at best for the NFL.
    Manziel is a classic case of a spoiled brat who thought he was better than everyone else and it’s all come crashing down on him. I have zero sympathy for him and when he gets cut from this team I will be glad because maybe the press will finally stop reporting about him.

  39. gah05 says:
    August 4, 2018 at 1:06 pm
    gmen32

    Let’s not forget $200+ for a ticket for the uncompetitive, out of the playoffs Buffalo Bills playing another run of the mill team like Washington.

    Why do these conversations always get back to “NFL in Toronto” conversation? PLEASE let it die, currency exchange alone will not let it happen. Let’s talk football instead?!

    ————————————————————————————-

    Yes, thanks for the ticket price excuse as well. I’d forgotten about that one, there were so many to keep track of.
    I believe the topic of the NFL in Toronto relates to the “bush league” comment left earlier when someone was describing the CFL. That is exactly how the NFL views Toronto.
    Not supporting the game at any level isn’t a good way to impress the NFL Head Office.
    Is describing the CFL as bush league talking football or do you agree that comment is out of line?

  40. Well he’s saying the right things at least.

    patbutler87 says:
    August 4, 2018 at 11:04 am

    He Has always said the the right things. he can talk it up with the best of them. this is just a part of the act. QB is about being like Brady, Manning Brees, Rivers, Eli, Even Rodgers.. etc these guys are obsessed with football and sacrifice other interests to get better. Johnny does this at times but his personality is too party centric

  41. Warren Moon and Doug Flitie had pretty good careers and great thinks to say about the bush league CFL.

  42. I can see the Patriots taking a good look at him at the end of the 2019 season.

  43. The CFL is not a bush league. Watch it and you will realize it is a fun league. I went to Grey Cup in 2014 and had a total blast.

    Nothing wrong with Manziel hitting rock bottom. I’m more interested now than ever in what he does. I want him to come back and do great things. Rooting for him to fail is simply dumb. How many people, like me, have been given a second chance and succeeded with it? I want Manziel to succeed. I don’t want anyone to be judges for what they did in their teen years and early 20’s, because I surely don’t want my life defined by what I did during those years.

  44. Two most common quotes from ex-NFL players after their first CFL game: “I had no idea the level of talent was this high.” and “Man, do I ever need to improve my cardio!”

    Manziel found out about both yesterday, for I don’t know if anyone noticed, but he looked gassed at times.

  45. Between Manzeil and Kaepernick, a lot of time gets wasted writing articles on this site. Neither in the NFL and neither will ever be in the NFL again. Why continue to tell us about them?

  46. This is what happens when you hand a millennial carte blanche without making him earn it first. Cleveland started him out of pure desperation. He wasn’t ready then and he isn’t ready now. For his next act he’ll probably blame his team for trading for him even though they knew he wasn’t ready.

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