Continued Development in the Pocket
Johnny Manziel has impressed many with how he has developed this season. The difference between Manziel this year and last is significant, none more so than how he plays from the pocket. He has looked to make passes from the pocket, has kept his eyes down the field and has only broken contain when he has to.
Against the Steelers, Manziel only ran the ball three times. He was sacked six times but did a good job of making plays from within the offense. Besides boot action and rollout plays, offenses are set up to make plays from the pocket. Against the 49ers, he ran 7 times and was only sacked twice. He is learning the balancing act needed for a QB between running and passing.
Pro Football Focus gave him positive grades in both of his last two games. Compare that to negative grades in the first two weeks and the improvement is apparent. A credit to the Browns coaching staff and Josh McCown getting him prepared.
Making plays within the offense, specifically in the pocket, has to continue for the Browns to have hope that Manziel's development is permanent.
The Browns struggled against the Steelers and were in control against the Niners. In the last three weeks, starting today against the Seattle Seahawks, Manziel will have to stay steady. The Browns could struggle on both sides of the ball, but Manziel has to be the steady captain of the ship. He can't stay down on himself, can't get frustrated with his teammates and can't go outside of the offense just to "try to make something happen."
How Manziel responds to difficulty on the field is key. Failure is a way for Manziel to learn and grow. If he is able to stay steady during hard times over the next few weeks, the Browns will feel comfortable in his ability to deal with adversity on the field.
Manziel got hurt in his brief time on the field last year which continued concerns that he could struggle to stay healthy in the NFL. He isn't the biggest QB and his reckless style puts him in position to get hit often. This season hasn't been the same, but his throwing elbow has landed on the injury report most of the year. Reports are that Manziel has struggled with the injury since high school, which does not relieve concerns for me.
In the last three weeks, Manziel has to prove that he can stay healthy. Can he shoulder the load in the passing game without hurting his elbow more? Can he take hits against three teams with good to great defenses while staying in the game?
Availability is vital in the NFL. Concerns about Manziel off the field are still there but he has to be healthy and available on the field, and can prove some ability to do so in the next three week.
What does Johnny Manziel have to prove over the next three weeks for you?