Thursday, September 18, 2014

Head games 

They’re doing it again.

Browns coach Mike Pettine and Kyle Shanahan, his offensive coordinator, are confidently boastful they now have successfully crawled into the heads of defensive coordinators around the National Football League.

By publicly admitting rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel now has been given a package or two of plays, they now believe they are sending a message, almost like a threat, to those defensive chiefs: Ya never know when we’re going to use Johnny.

Plan all you want for Brian Hoyer, but just know we’ve got Johnny in our back pocket and we’re able to use him at any time.

Yeah, like all those coordinators are going to cower in fear at the possibility of having to face Manziel at any time during a game. Like they’re going to spend hours and hours in their laboratories devising ways of stopping the kid.

“You weigh the pros and cons when you do something like that,” Pettine explained to the Cleveland media. “We’re forcing an opponent (to spend) extra time to prepare for that. Now they have to worry about the zone-read element of the game plan.”

The key word there is “worry.” Why in the world would a defensive coordinator worry about a player whose transition to the pro style game is on a very slow track? Why would they be concerned about a player who hasn’t proven a thing in the NFL?

Prepare for Manziel? Yes. You prepare for all eventualities.

Worry? C’mon.

The Browns appear to be threatening other NFL teams with a player whose reputation as a playmaker was gained on a much smaller stage than the NFL. Watch out or we’ll throw Manziel at you. Oooooooo. Scary.

“It makes (the opposition) think about other stuff,” added Shanahan. “Makes people have to work other stuff. We definitely got some different fronts and different coverages when (Manziel) was in there (against the Saints).”

Manziel’s brief appearance in the New Orleans victory last Sunday didn’t seem at all to affect the defense-challenged Saints, who shut him down with zero total yards on three plays. Yeah, that little change of pace really scared them.

What makes football coaches think they can outsmart other football coaches? Getting cute in football works as often we experience a lunar eclipse. OK, an exaggeration, but it’s about time football coaches are exposed for what they really do: Practice psychology without a license.

The only way the other 31 defensive coordinators around the NFL will take Pettine seriously is when Manziel backs up the coach’s words with positive results. Until then, it’s time to concentrate on making Hoyer a better quarterback and quit making veiled threats.


  1. In all fairness, Manzeil's pass to Agnew should have been a completion.

  2. Mentioned that in Monday leftovers earlier this week, Southie.

    Still, do you agree or disagree that Pettine and Shanahan are trying to crawl into the heads of opposing coaches using a rookie as bait? Stupid.

    1. Its got to be the only reason they would do it. But I think they would rather refer to it as "creating uncertainty". ;o)

  3. I agree, Rich. Manziel doesn't worry anyone. If anything defenses want him in the game. He hasn't shown NFL skills and he's not well liked.

    I take that back, he worries ME. Trade him to Dallas.