Monday Night Football Recap: Manziel Doesn’t Impress
The main thing we were hoping to get out of last night’s Monday Night Football game was some progress out of Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel. That, and some type of sign as to which way the Browns would be leaning in their decision-making process for their week one starting quarterback.
A day later, we somehow know even less than we did before. Neither Manziel nor Brian Hoyer played particularly well, as head coach Mike Pettine yanked them in and out, two series at a time. It was an odd strategy, while the cherry on the top might have been superstar wide receiver Josh Gordon playing deep into the fourth quarter.
It’s an interesting situation, specifically based off of Cleveland’s matchup with the Washington Redskins. For one, the Browns simply could not contain the Redskins’ pass rush. The pass protection was spotty all night. It’s true that both Hoyer and Manziel appeared frazzle and missed on several throws, but they also just didn’t have the time to set their feet and get off good attempts.
Washington utilized blitzes perfectly against both, but especially against the wet behind the ears rookie. Add in a childish middle finger from Manziel to Washington’s bench, and it’s possible the Browns have already made their decision based on maturity alone.
Manziel wasn’t the full story last night, though. Let’s break down some other interesting notes from the action:
Both of These Defenses Are Good
It seems defensive coordinator Jim Haslett had previously been “contained” with the past coaching staff in Washington. Now with “full reign”, his defense is starting to liven up quite a bit. The Browns are also nasty on the other side, as they had an impressive goal-line stand and both Joe Haden and Jim Leonhard made nice jumps on interceptions.
RG3 is Still a Work in Progress
Robert Griffin III wasn’t a whole lot better than the Browns quarterbacks. He did complete some solid passes and helped his team move the ball, but he made some mistakes (namely a bad interception) and got into trouble when he was under pressure and trying to run away. The worst part? He looked like he could have hurt himself on two different slides. RG3 needs to work harder on protecting himself if he plans on lasting a full 16 games in 2014.
Cleveland’s Receivers Didn’t Look Great
There’s no denying the fact that Hoyer and Manziel forced passes and were way off in terms of accuracy. However, several of the Browns receivers seemed disinterested or not to be giving their full effort on several tries. Several passes were flat out drops or at least hit their hands and could have been catches. With stud receiver Josh Gordon (he also didn’t look great) likely looking at a long suspension, this doesn’t bode well for the Cleveland passing game.
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