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Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Jaworski on Manziel starting: 'He won't'

By Pat McManamon


BEREA, Ohio -- Ron Jaworski stood a few yards off the sidelines Wednesday at the Cleveland Browns practice facility as Johnny Manziel dropped back to pass.

Jaworski wasn't watching reads, playcalls or scheme, just the way Manziel threw.

"He's good there," Jaworski said. "He's good. His weight's on his back foot."

Manziel threw a short pass inside the numbers, a pass that was too high.

"I'd like to see him drive the ball more," Jaworski said. "But mechanically there he was fine. His weight was on his back foot. Compact, quick delivery. But when the ball is between the hashmarks, you have to drive it to the receiver."

It's one thing for a media member to stand on the sldelines and evaluate Manziel. It's another for Jaworski. He's a former Super Bowl starter for the Philadelphia Eagles turned ESPN analyst who spends countless hours watching and evaluating coaching tape of players, especially quarterbacks.

Jaworski was one of Manziel's most vocal critics before the draft, saying he wouldn't take him in the first round.

But as Jaworski stood and watched Manziel throw on the second day of the Browns minicamp, he was more impressed.

Johnny Manziel
Ron Jaworski does not think Johnny Manziel will be the Week 1 starter for the Browns.
"I like what I see," Jaworski said. "The ball comes out well."

He saw great improvement in Manziel's fundamentals, and credited quarterback guru George Whitfield for the positive steps. But he added Manziel has a long way to go and is "far from being a polished quarterback."

Asked if it's a longshot that Manziel starts against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the season opener, Jaworski was blunt.

"He won't," he said. "Because of Hoyer."

To Jaworski, it's "crystal clear" that Brian Hoyer is far ahead of Manziel in terms of understanding the offense and getting the play called in time. That was evident during a two-minute drill, when Manziel seemed to stammer his way through a playcall at the line.

"This is quantum leap to go from college to this game," Jaworski said. "This is big boy football."

And the biggest transition for Manziel is going from a college system that determines before the play is called where the ball is going to the NFL where reads, coverage and blitzes have to be addressed at the line of scrimmage.

Then there is the experience factor, the learning to be a pro.

Jaworski said when he played he threw 35,000 to 36,000 passes for Sid Gillman in the offseason to his teammates, just to ensure he knew the reads and progressions.

By the end of summer, he would blindfold himself, make his drop and throw digs and out routes -- and complete them.

In Manziel, Jaworski sees a quarterback who has improved but should "lay low" off the field. A guy who has to understand that perception can become reality and if he falters "it's like, 'oh yeah, he was at the pool.'" A guy who because of the scrutiny and focus "has to be a model citizen." And a guy who is well back of the guy with the experience.

In Hoyer, Jaworski sees a guy who should have gotten a chance to play before last season.

"I was shocked it didn't happen sooner," Jaworski said of watching Hoyer play well for the Browns, adding: "It's noticeable when you watch the offense when he's running it or any of the other quarterbacks. He's a veteran quarterback. The machinations at the line of scrimmage, the understanding, the command, the calling of the plays -- you can tell he's a veteran quarterback."

He added that he hopes Hoyer is "ticked off" at Manziel being drafted.

"I think that's what Brian needs to have," Jaworski said. "'Hey, this is my team, my opportunity and I'm not letting anyone take that job.'"