Former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner thinks that Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel could find himself in the position where he’s going to need to prove that he can play at a high level from the pocket real soon if he’s unable to play in the wide open manner in the NFL that he was ab le to while playing in college for Texas A&M.
Warner doesn’t question Manziel’s athleticism, but he has major concerns whether he can play with the same style in the pros that he did while playing with A&M’s wide open offense with the top receivers that he had back then.
“It’s Manziel vs. some very good defenses. He’s got to learn to play the position from the pocket,” Warner said to NFL.com. “That improvisation that he had in college, can that translate to the NFL? Let’s say it can’t. Now he’s going to have to play the position as a conventional quarterback inside the pocket, reading defenses, going 1-2-3 with his reads, going through his progressions quickly. That to me is going to be his biggest challenge.”
Manziel’s athleticism will likely allow him to hit the ground running and play at a fairly high level right from the start rather than there being a delay. He can do the same things that NFL quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson are able to do. Neither of those players are great pocket passers, yet both of them are successful players in the league. Manziel’s situation is a little different from them though, because he’s smaller and will need to be more elusive in order to avoid taking hits.
Manziel might not be a great quarterback if evolves into a pocket passer like Warner. He doesn’t have Warner’s size, arm strength or his quick release. If you strip away Manziel’s ability to improvise, it’s going to make him a less than spectacular quarterback because he lacks the size to be top level guy. He has to do it with speed and elusiveness.