RTC: Checking in with O'Brien's mentors

March, 31, 2014
Mar 31
7:48
AM ET
Reading the coverage of the Houston Texan:

Between Blake Bortles' Pro Day at UCF and the NFL Owners' meetings, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle caught up with two of Texans coach Bill O'Brien's mentors: Patriots coach Bill Belichick and UCF coach George O'Leary.
Belichick and O'Leary have become two of O'Brien's most passionate supporters.

"I like every aspect about him," Belichick said last week during the NFL's spring meetings. "He had a strong, positive impact on the Patriots.

"I learned a lot from Billy. He's well-prepared and smart. He has a good understanding of all aspects of the game. He's great to work with. I've got nothing but positive things to say about Billy."

In case you were wondering, Jerry Rice thinks the Texans should draft Johnny Manziel, writes John Breech of CBSSports.com.
"He reminds me a little bit of Steve Young because Steve Young, when he first came in, he wanted to run the football," Rice said. "Now, with Johnny Manziel, if he can just relax, stay in the pocket, deliver the ball down the field with accuracy and get the ball in the hands of his playmakers, I think it's a no-brainer for the Houston Texans to take this guy."

Rice isn't worried about Manziel's maturity-level or the circus that Johnny Football's life has seemingly turned into.

"I really don't think that's a concern. He likes that spotlight," Rice said. "The guy showed me [at his Pro Day] that he can drop back, he can deliver the ball with accuracy and he likes that big stage. George Bush, Barbara Bush, they were there. I think he proved to everybody that 'look, I deserve to be that number one guy.'"

James Palmer of CSN Houston ponders the question about whether Manziel can mentally adjust to the NFL. He does so through interviews with several coaches who have worked with Manziel.
“I think he’s got the ability to play in a bunch of different systems,” Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “Not just because of his ability, but because of his accuracy.”

Sumlin also noted the success of Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson as a reference to why Manziel will be able to change his game and play in a different scheme then the one he played in at College Station. Wilson went from a two tight end set at Wisconsin to winning the Super Bowl calling the shots in a west coast offense for Pete Carroll.

Manziel hasn’t only been working on his mechanics with O’Connell and George Whitfield in San Diego the last few months. He’s been watching hours of film as well.

“He’s much more acclimated to the NFL system in terms of the playbook and going on the board and all the minutia that goes with that,” Whitfield said.

Tania Ganguli

ESPN Houston Texans reporter

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