Manziel’s first four drives.

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This is the high ball to Benjamin INT. He’s not stepping into it or following through.

Decided to have a look-see on the offense.  Maybe there’s some mitigating factors that weren’t obvious in real-time?  Some positives or explanations for that disturbing regression?  Let’s see.  (Hint:  no.  The answers to those questions are “no.”)

First drive, 3/out:  run, run, scramble.

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Slant not thrown due to safety Nelson in passing lane or…

On the 3rd/1, we get a look with four WRs bunched on one side with Josh Gordon alone on left.  No running backs.  Seems to be an obvious slant.  Johnny doesn’t/can’t pull trigger before Gordon comes out of his break.

It could be Johnny had his passing route taken away by the safety Nelson who had crept up to the line.  But this next pic is odd.  That center is running with purpose past the line of scrimmage.  So it seems like this was a designed run.

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… is Ryan Seymour just running to daylight?


Yuck.  Too cute Shanny, too cute.

Second drive, 3/out:  run, zone read, 3rd/13.

The zone read play was pretty botched.  First, the idea of zone read is to leave a defender uncovered thus giving you more blockers at the point of attack and at the same time negating the effect of an edge rusher (usually one of the defense’s best athletes).  Here’s what you’d expect to see:


But on this play I can’t tell what the plan is.  The RBs look like they are setting up for an inside zone read, but the blocking leaves a DE uncovered which is normally the plan for an outside zone read.  In any event Manziel needs to be reading the attacker with the ball in Crow’s belly.  Pic 1 shows that he’s not.  Pic 2 is when Manziel looks up to try to read the attacker but it’s way too late.  Pic 3 shows that Gilberry actually has both options snuffed.

That sets up a 3rd/13.  This is the scramble floater that Manziel gets to Hawkins but it’s such a duck that Hawkins gets buried and can’t hold on to ball.  But I do see –I think– a problem.  In this picture where Johnny has some time a cornerback has just snuck forward to stop his scramble opportunity.  Looks to me like there is a wide open zone to throw to where you’d have to like Josh Gordon’s chances to make a play.

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3rd/13 and looks like some space has opened up for Gordon.

Third drive.  Penalty, run, penalty/1st down, INT.

The hallmark of the Reboot Browns, and I think we all can agree on this, is that when the chips are down and their d-line is killing our front,,, we always have that Cleveland Browns Screen Pass in the playbook.  A very consistent play it’s been for us too.  (Cue Kolonich rant.)  It matters not what QB or center either.  I mean I don’t think Ryan Seymour and Johnny have more than a dozen snaps between them in a Browns jersey.  And yet, they’ve already mastered the CBSP.  In an ever-changing world, it’s comforting to have a touchstone and this truly is all ours.

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Yeah, there’s two or three illegal guys downfield. Srsly WTF.

And keeping with our heritage, the next play seems a nod to past OCs like Pat Shurmur or Maurice Carthon because,,, you got it we’re running off tackle on 1st/15.  That sets up 2nd/11.  Manziel seems to call a play at the line, gets time in the pocket and delivers this stink bomb to Gordon.

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This is how WR get crushed.

But hey: first down on a sketchy illegal use of hand penalty. Our first first down in the Manziel era. Next play is a run up the middle. There was a hole but Ryan Seymour was way out in space while Rey Maualuga is filling said hole. Second and eight.

The play is another sketchy read-option but it actually does freeze the Bengals’ right side (pic 1). Decent pocket (pic 2). Starting to collapse on Schwartz’ side (Dunlap was a beast all game; pic 3). Has Hawkins open on the drag (pic 4). And the horrific floater behind the receiver (pic 5).

The floater ball is a problem, he definitely doesn’t have reliable mechanics and in the heat of the game one tends to fall back into their usual habits.. so that’s a problem. But jeezum crow: you’ve been a QB for many years and you don’t yet know that the sideline is your friend? Manziel might actually get away with the floater if he puts the ball on the sideline. Horrible horrible throw. It’s not about over-reading, holding the ball too long, or moon-ball tendencies — just common sense tells you to use all the open space available.

Miraculously the defense holds the Bengals right there and it’s still a three possession game.

Fourth drive.  3/out.

Let’s look at one more.  First down is what seems to be a bubble screen to Josh Gordon.  You know how the Falcons ran this play against us with Jones and they got two aggressive blocking WRs out in front of him and it goes for like 20 yards?  This wasn’t that; Dunlap kinda rag dolled Schwartz then released off him to drop Gordon for a three yard loss.

Second/13 so you know what’s coming.  Correct, run up the middle.  Eight yards though.  Might have been more if Jim Dray were in instead of Cameron who failed to sustain his do any second level blocking.

Third/5.  Good pocket.  Breaks pocket.  Scrambles right.  Overthrows Dray.

That’ll do.  Do we want to break down the high ball to Benjamin pick (saved by an offsides call) or the red zone pick at the end of the half?  It’s just more grimness.  I’ll say one thing:  check out his feet and follow through on the Benjamin pick here:

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No follow through.

Observation:  he looks like he been coached up and too much.

A lot of Manziel’s footwork was shit leading to these floater passes.  By ‘shit’ I mean he does not step toward his target nor does he follow through toward the target.  It’s not a case where there is pressure.  The reason I suspect he’s being ‘coached up’ and likely ‘coached away’ from his TAMU plays is the way he holds the ball in the pocket.  It just looks forced.  And a quick comparison to his TAMU posture shows a difference.

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Could be nothing, but could be something.  But would it surprise you if Dowell Loggains fucked something up?  It wouldn’t me.


  • Warburton MacKinnon

    Just for shits and giggles, if(and I am not sold that this is not happening) the officials are against us the last few weeks, could it be that they(they being the NFL) thought for the short term that the Bills are a better feel good story this year? You could say that since the Browns return we have had more success than the Bills…we actually made the playoffs once and had a 10 win season, We may not have been consistent but we have had moments of almost good…but I think their best was 7-9 on a season…heck you could even say it’s a going away present for the last owner. I say this because it was in the Bills game I started to see some really bad calls/non calls on a regular basis(though the Texans game also made me wonder). Maybe,it will be our turn next year assuming we don’t just suck. Just wondering since Kanick has opened up the officiating for discussion here. If the Bills don’t make it into the playoffs I am probably wrong.

  • mgbode

    My notes on your good notes:

    1st drive: No doubt that was a designed run from how Johnny stepped back and then ducked forward and it made me mad. No reason for it especially since the defense seemed to play the bunch and leave Gordon single covered.

    2nd drive: Pettine noted that most of the zone reads were designed runs. Terrible execution regardless but apparently they took away the option part of it, which again is dumb. That 3rd down pass started a trend of Johnny floating his balls, which is exasperating when he was throwing them crisply against the Bills.

    3rd drive: Terrible throw on the INT. Just terrible, terrible.

    4th drive: Hey, another floater ball. And, off-target. It’s like he had a quota for those and he needed to hit it beyond anything else. If that was the goal, then job well done.

    Benjamin pick: Technically, Benjamin got both hands on it and he’s got to pull that in if that happens. But, the INT is still on Manziel because if you throw the ball slow, behind and high on a WR, then you are asking them to get lit up. And, another slow throw? Cmon, Johnny.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      “That 3rd down pass started a trend of Johnny floating his balls, ”

      I hate when that happens.

      • mgbode

        They are addictive

  • Dave Kolonich

    Speaking of Dunlap’s great game – it’s always worth noting how terrible Schwartz and Greco are at pass blocking. Not that that absolves Manziel, but it also didn’t help matters. I’m again calling for one of those two first rounders next year to be spent on a tackle. (The other pick naturally will go towards a QB).

    • actovegin1armstrong

      How about a Tackle and a Center?

      • Dave Kolonich

        Tackle definitely – then a right guard. Greco then moves back to his natural role as the top backup.

        • mgbode

          Michael Bowie may be the OT for which you search

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Bowie, then draft a tackle, guard and center with the first three picks.

        • actovegin1armstrong

          Greco will be a multi-purpose guy and perfect in the troublesome triumvirate role the Browns really need. End, Guard and Tackle. End of the bench, Guarding the water, and Tackle anyone who gets near it.

  • bupalos

    It could still work. But he has a loooooot of work to do. Does he work?

    • not to stir this up but lane adkins is 100% that bridgewater was farmer’s choice.
      if there is a silver lining perhaps it will be a ‘no suits in the draft room’ rule moving forward.

      • Dave Kolonich

        I wouldn’t put much stock in something Lane Adkins says.

        • AlvaroEspinoza10

          DK- your fallout with OBR seems pretty spectacular, anything you can share? Professional stuff, not personal obviously. Also, after 1 game your Manziel prediction rings true. I miss Reboot

          • Dave Kolonich

            I miss Alvaro Espinoza.

          • AlvaroEspinoza10

            I may be able to scrap some nickels together for the Map Room Draft Day party this year

        • crap, he’s the only browns beat guy i put any stock in.

          • Dave Kolonich

            He’s pretty far from a beat guy.

      • mgbode

        Asked whether there was a possibility that he might have been picked by Cleveland, Bridgewater said: “There was a chance, but I actually told my agent that’s not the place where I wanted to be. “

  • actovegin1armstrong

    Hope you enjoyed watching Manzanita re-runs. What next a movie marathon, Waterworld, Plan 9 From Outer Space, Ishtar, Dune, (turn up the soundtrack, eeek), Star Wars? All of those movies together could not be as horrible to watch as Manzanita’s first start.
    Johnny Rotten made Andy Dalton look like Dan Marino.
    I really hope that Derek Anderson gets to show him up this week.

    • once you focus in on the hi-jinx of ryan seymour it becomes much lighter fare. if only taylor gabriel could find as much open space.

  • zarathustra

    This is fantastic. Let me add one pretty novice and probably pretty obvious observation re: the interception at the end of the first half. If you watched him in college at all or even just some pre-draft highlights on YouTube you see that blind throw to the end zone. They were a highlight at a&m against college defenses and because mike evans could bail him out, but that shit does not fly on Sundays. I don’t remember which post it was but one of the two I wrote for you here earlier in the year expressed concern about it. Again, by no means groundbreaking analysis, but very concerning to me.
    I should add that while I have never been much of a fan of him as a pro prospect I think there has been some overreaction to yesterday. I’m definitely interested to see how he does in his first road start.

    • Fox Lechner

      Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth. Mike Tyson
      When Manziel threw his first pass, the Bengals were already up 10 nothing. Manziel forced it. Wanted to make plays that were not there. On Manziel’s second INT Gabriel (or was it Moore?) waived and asked for the ball. Manziel panicked (with one defender in front of him and one grabbing at his legs) and threw the ball to him. I think Cameron was open in the right corner of the Endzone on that play. If only Cameron had waived (he was behind a corner and would not have tipped the defense off…), it would have been an awesome play. I loved that Manziel always keeps his eyes downfield. He is so aware of pressure around him. His instincts are fantastic. I really think he could be great.

      • actovegin1armstrong

        Thank you Michelle Manziel.

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