BEREA— Johnny Manziel and Russell Wilson have been often compared, though they don't seem to share much in common.
Wilson is the owner of a Super Bowl ring, is regarded as a clean-cut workaholic and has clearly outplayed the standards that came with his third-round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Manziel, on the other hand, is just six starts into his NFL career, is akin more to an alcoholic than a workaholic and has yet to live up to the lofty expectations that came with his first-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Seemingly so different, the two quarterbacks are continually linked by a single trait.
With Manziel listed at 6’0 and Wilson listed at 5’11, both are considered small by NFL standards and, in sharing said stature, are automatically assumed to be similar quarterbacks, at least in style.
Despite calling the quarterbacks comparable, both head coach Mike Pettine and defensive end Paul Kruger found more ways in which they were different than ways in which they were similar.
“I think they’re very comparable,” Browns defensive end Paul Kruger said. “Johnny is an extremely athletic guy. The one difference I see is Johnny can make a lot of throws from different angles with his arm. He can sidearm the ball.”
Pettine was more focused on the differences in their running styles, as opposed to the way in which they threw the ball.
“You can certainly see the similarities,” Pettine said. “He’s more of a runner than we see Johnny, and I’m talking about called quarterback runs. We have some zone-read stuff. Putting the quarterback on the move, we do that, but I think (Wilson) is thicker built and can withstand maybe some of the shots in the run game more so than we would want want to expose Johnny to.”
Everyone else seems to feel that they’re comparable— if only at Manziel’s peak play— but what do the quarterbacks think of each other?
“I'm sure there's some similarities you see. Obviously, two mobile guys who move around and extend plays,” Manziel said of the constant comparisons. “Being able to extend plays like I said, that's a pretty good comparison.”
Wilson wouldn’t address the comparison, but he did shower Manziel with praise for his play.
“He’s a great football player, he’s got incredible instincts and he’s done a lot of incredible things in terms of just performing at a high level,” Wilson said. “I haven’t been able to watch him as much, obviously, in the NFL because, obviously, we play on Sundays, but I think he’s a tremendous football player.”
Having been compared by others and even by themselves, it seems as if height and mobility are the only two things shared by the quarterbacks.
In fact, they don’t even share much dialogue.
“We’re talked sparingly here and there over social media,” Manziel said, when asked if he and Wilson have talked much. “Other than that, no.”
What Manziel and Wilson will certainly share is the turf at CenturyLink Field in Seattle on Sunday and if things continue on their current trajectory, Wilson won't share in the misery that will be felt by Manziel and the Browns after the home team emerges victorious.
Over the last four games— each of which have been victories for Seattle— Wilson became the first quarterback in NFL history to earn a 138.5 rating in four consecutive games, throwing 16 touchdowns without an interception in the process.
Manziel admitted that he hasn’t studied Wilson over the years, but he’s certainly taken notice of what Seattle's signal-caller has done over the last month.
“He's a guy who is playing better than or as good as anybody in the entire league right now,” Manziel said. “In the last four games, you look at his stats and it's pretty impressive.”
As impressive as it is, Wilson feels that his recent success is due to little more than God and the hard work that he puts into the craft he so clearly loves.
“I love the details and I love the hard work and the studying and the passion behind that, taking notes and everything that’s involved into that,” Wilson said. “Ultimately, I believe the separation’s in the preparation.”
This season, Manziel seems to have emulated Wilson’s thoughts on preparation, as his on-field strides have been traced back to improved work ethic in the building.
Of course, the preparation that Manziel has undertaken this season may not be directly linked to his short-quarterback counterpart, but Manziel knows that if Wilson is doing it, he must be on the right path.
“He got to the Super Bowl twice, won one,” Manziel said. “He’s definitely been living right.”
Living right for Wilson includes living without thinking about his height.
In addition to his emphasis on preparation, Wilson said the success he’s had can also be attributed to ignoring the excuses that come with his stature and finding ways to win football games.
After all, he feels that it’s wins that will tell the ultimate tale of the tape for any quarterback.
“I think it comes down to winning a lot of football games,” Wilson said. “That's the ultimate measure of a quarterback.”
For all of your Browns news and updates from Berea, follow Hayden Grove on Twitter: @H_Grove.