Browns-Redskins: Manziel-RG3 and a QB homestretch
Washington (AP) — Whole lot in common between Robert Griffin III and
Johnny Manziel. Both from Texas. Both have Heismans. They've got catchy
nicknames. They know how to create a commotion or two, and sometimes it
comes back to bite. And they both sure can run.
"Anybody that wants to compare," Griffin said, "I'm sure they'll just
look at us and say both of us are real fast, guys that can play
backyard football at times."
Now for a big difference: Griffin hasn't had to compete for playing
time in the NFL.
Griffin was anointed the Washington Redskins' starting quarterback
about a week after he was drafted in 2012. He's missed games because of
injury and was shut down early last season in a power move by coach
Mike Shanahan, but he hasn't dealt with any sort of traditional
training camp challenge that would place in doubt his spot atop the
Manziel has no such luxury. Drafted No. 22 overall by the Cleveland Browns this year — 20 spots lower than Griffin — Johnny Football has
been going mano a mano with Brian Hoyer.
The duel is about to hit its climax: The Browns visit RG3 and the
Redskins on Monday night, and Cleveland coach Mike Pettine says he'll
pick his Week 1 regular-season starter Tuesday.
It's one of those rare preseason games that packs a wallop, with every
Manziel snap sure to be put under a microscope. Of course, he's so used
to it that maybe we should just call him Johnny Chaos.
"The chaos, everything that's been going on — the talk, the hype, the
overreaction, the over-analysis — has been from the day that I won the
Heisman when I was a freshman, from that spring, to that fall, to the
draft, to now," he said. "If you look at it, it's been a constant in my
life. It's been the one thing that's been the most constant in my life
for the past two years. I don't even pay attention to it anymore."
Pettine wants Manziel and Hoyer to split time with Cleveland's
first-team offense against the Redskins, but finding a fair balance
could be tricky. The coach said he wants his starters to play "in the
neighborhood" of a half, yet new Washington coach Jay Gruden plans to
have his first-teamers on the field for only a quarter or so.
Pettine said he would consult with Gruden to help ensure that neither
Manziel nor Hoyer gets a disproportionate number of snaps against a
bunch of backups.
Hoyer will start for the second consecutive week. He got 24 snaps last
week against the Detroit Lions and completed 6 of 14 passes for 92
yards. Manziel, playing with second- and third-teamers, had 25 snaps
and was 7 for 11 for 63 yards and ran for 27 yards on six carries.
Griffin and Manziel also have a very important person in common. Kyle Shanahan was Griffin's offensive coordinator for two seasons — one
spectacular, one miserable and tension-filled — before he was fired
along with his father at the end of last year. He now has the same job
with the Browns.
Asked if he's been in touch with the younger Shanahan, Griffin said:
"No, we'll leave that where it's at." Asked if the two will speak
before the game, Griffin said: "Yeah, I mean, it's not that kind of a
relationship that we wouldn't talk, so if I get a chance to see him and
talk to him, I definitely will."
Shanahan took his playbook to Cleveland, using some of the same
zone-read concepts that helped Griffin win the NFL's Offensive Rookie
of the Year award. Last week, he added a special tutor: Veteran backup
QB Rex Grossman, who knows the offense well and aided Griffin in
Washington, will do the same for Manziel after signing with the Browns.
"It's like learning Spanish, really for the first few weeks," Manziel
said. "But now, getting into it, I'm able to paint a picture of the
play in my head as it's said."
Former Patriot QB Fighting For Starting Role
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