Browns OC: Manziel must adopt QB lifestyle
Johnny Manziel has been tending to non-football matters over the last month; Manziel checked himself into a rehabilitation center in late January.
Browns Coach Mike Pettine said at the NFL Scouting Combine the Browns expect Manziel to be with the team by the time formal offseason workouts begin in April, and in an interview with the Browns’ in-house radio show on Tuesday afternoon, new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo essentially said his expectations for Manziel involve Manziel being what he admittedly wasn’t last year as a rookie.
Totally dedicated to football.
"It’s truly a lifestyle to be an NFL quarterback," DeFilippo said. "It’s not just a job. It’s all-consuming. You need to sleep, eat, do everything fast and just think about football all the time. The great ones have an obsession with it. You watch the Peyton Mannings and Aaron Rodgers… those guys are obsessed with football.
"And you talk about quarterback lifestyle…in our very first meeting, that’s what we’re going to talk about with those guys."
Conditioning workouts for the Browns begin April 20.
Manziel showed little in two starts last year after the Browns made him the No. 22 overall pick in the draft. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner made many more headlines off the field and his rehab stint, presumably, is intended to help Manziel clean up the off-field part of his life.
In his first public comments since just after he was hired in late January, DeFilippo said Manziel "needs to have a plan" for each week and said young quarterbacks "don’t know anything" when they enter the NFL.
"You have to map out their (work) week for them," DeFilippo said.
Both Pettine and Browns general manager Ray Farmer have said they aren’t closing the door on Manziel but haven’t seen enough to assume he can be the starter. The Browns signed veteran Josh McCown, who turns 36 this summer, to a three-year contract late last week. That move means Brian Hoyer, who started 13 games last year, will find a new team sometime after free agency begins next week, and probably means that the Browns will head towards the draft with McCown, Manziel and 2014 undrafted rookie Connor Shaw under contract.
DeFilipppo replaces Kyle Shanahan, who resigned in January. DeFilippo worked with Derek Carr as the Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach last season, and Carr looks like he can be the long-term answer for the Raiders. That’s the answer for which the Browns have been searching for more than a decade.
DeFillipo said a young quarterback is "playing catch up. He’s trying to catch up with the speed, he’s trying to catch up being a first-time player in the huddle with a bunch of veterans, he’s catching up to a lot. And the last thing you want you have to him to do is play catch up to you not teaching him well.
"You take out all that gray area so you can teach him well.
"Your main job as a quarterback coach is to take all the gray area out for the quarterback. If it’s (a) single-safety middle defense, go here (with the ball). And if it’s two high, you go here. It’s pure progression."
Going through NFL reads and progressions is something Manziel didn’t do in two seasons at Texas A&M. DeFilippo acknowledged that and said "there’s nothing wrong with that." He said he’s had "limited exposure" to Manziel but said he interviewed him a year ago in the pre-draft evaluation process.
"I think Johnny just needs experience playing the game at this level, I really do," DeFilippo said. "I interviewed Johnny (last year), I talked football with him. I know from a protection standpoint, from a route-structure standpoint, they were very limited at Texas A&M. Does that mean what they did was bad? Not whatsoever. But it’s very different than what a quarterback is asked to do at the NFL level."