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We can forgive him considering his youthful ignorance, but Johnny Manziel says Russell Wilson deserves credit for "paving the way" for short QBs.

History doesn't always translate well when comparing players to the strains of the modern-day NFL, but Fran Tarkenton, Sonny Jurgesen, and Drew Brees -- just to name a few -- might have an argument.

Elite quarterbacks who struggle to reach 6' in stature isn't the norm, and the fact that they're limited enough in numbers to garner a 'list' only helps to illustrate the risk involved with taking on vertically challenged signal-callers. Magnify that choice with the importance of a first-round draft pick and suddenly taking someone like Johnny Manziel with a No. 1 selection becomes an all-or-nothing option for NFL GM's.

Sound Off: Will Johnny Manziel be a franchise quarterback or will other factors, including his size, limit his long-term success in the NFL?

Sports Headlines for February 17, 2014

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Member Comments
# 1 SPTO @ 02/17/14 05:50 PM
Before I go into Manziel specifically, I want to address the height thing. A while back I had the privilege of watching a game from 1994 which involved Drew Bledsoe during said game Don Criqui noted a conversation that he had with Marv Levy who stated that Bledsoe was the first star QB in NFL history at 6'5 or taller. If we go by that then it can reasonably be said that the idea of the big hulking QB is a relatively recent phenomenon that quickly became common wisdom which shut out shorter guys. It's true that the list of 6 feet and under guys is small enough to be, well a list isn't necessarily a bad thing. Including Wilson that list comes up to 18. If we include Wilson, the list of very good QBs in that listing comes to 10 with Eddie LeBaron being "okay". That's a pretty impressive ratio IMO.

So I think it's fair to say the notion of the short QB automatically being a bad thing can be put to rest.

Now onto Manziel in particular, I think this kid needs a LOT of growing up to do. It's clear that he believes all the hype that he's gotten within the bubble that is the Texas A&M community and the cavalier way in which he took money etc etc (whether you agree that this shouldn't be an issue or not he DID break rules) shows his lack of maturity. That being said, he does have a lot of talent but the running around with reckless abandon that he does in the college level is the kind of thing that's going to lead to big injuries in the pros. If he can reign some of his tendencies to run around and work on his passing game then yes, he should be a pretty good QB but something tells me it's going to take some physical blows before he gets the message that he can't just use his feet to make things happen.

It also really depends on what team he lands in. If he goes to a team like Oakland or Cleveland where there's outside forces at play that can easily turn ugly then it's going to be an uphill battle for him. One of the big rumors is that he goes to Houston and since that's his home state it's going to create a TON of pressure. A rookie NFL coach with a kid with maturity issues and reckless style of play playing in his home state can really cause a stir. If he has moderate success it's going to blow up the way Tony Romo's rise in Dallas but if it's slow going for Manziel people are going to get VERY antsy especially considering what happened to Matt Schaub last season.

So I think it's a 60/40 proposition with 60% being that there will be factors that will limit Manziel's success in the NFL but I DON'T think size will be one of those factors.
 
# 2 SVCbearcat10 @ 02/17/14 06:34 PM
His accuracy and thinness will be why he isn't successful. There have been shorter QB's, but they could place the ball where they needed and rarely took big hits. Not sure he can spot the ball where he wants it yet and his ego is too big for him to get down to avoid getting rocked.
 
# 3 elgreazy1 @ 02/18/14 09:14 AM
To be honest, the height thing isn't so much an issue, it really comes down to vision and hand size. Wilson may be a small guy, but he has great backfield vision and his hands are bigger than guys like Luck and Griffin, so it definitely helps him control the ball whether passing or moving in the pocket.
 
# 4 SPTO @ 02/18/14 11:52 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by FaceMask
Manziel is too immature mentally to compare him to Wilson outside of size. He's going to struggle a lot at the pro level. That said, if he can get his head together and is willing to work, he can some day be a polished NFL starter, but I can't see it happening as soon as it did for Russell Wilson.
Well I wasn't comparing him to Wilson. The first part of my response was strictly based on the size argument and then I gave my opinion on Manziel himself which is pretty critical.
 
# 5 TheShizNo1 @ 02/18/14 04:15 PM
It's not sure QBs. It's the hands. Has it ever been documented that QB failed because he couldn't see over the line?
 
# 6 khaliib @ 02/19/14 06:09 PM
The problem with JM is that his game and the excitement about him is based off of his off the-cuff style of play.
In today's NFL, one concussion/injury and you have to change away from that style that got you drafted (ie M. Vick).

Not if, but when JM encounters that moment, now he has to go away from that and try and be a drop back QB, which all mobile QB's from college have struggled to transition to when forced to do so.

Kaepernick struggled when they tried to reign in his running, then Harbaugh said that's why they drafted him and went back to running Pistol. When CK encounters that moment, he too will struggle to become the typical drop back QB.

Most NFL coach's are not like JH, and being a top QB pick is a huge investment.

I just see JM's reckless style of play his desire to be the focus and throw stuff back into people face (making him unwilling to change) as the reason to why he may not succeed.
 
# 7 Seahawk76 @ 02/22/14 02:44 PM
Other than height and the ability to get out of the pocket and make plays, I don't really see that many similarities between Russell Wilson and Johnny Manziel at this point. Wilson is unnaturally cool under pressure, runs only as a last resort, knows how to avoid big hits, and rarely makes mistakes. Manziel seems more hot-headed, reckless, quicker to run, more willing to force the ball when the receiver isn't open, and can get frustrated if things aren't going his way.

That's not to say Manziel can't succeed in the NFL but he would be a different type of QB than Wilson.
 
# 8 Rocky @ 02/22/14 03:24 PM
I think a good QB is a good QB regardless of his height.

Height can help you if you are a QB who likes to read and scan the defense and sits tough in the pocket. If you like to move in the pocket and use your elusiveness then I can see how being a smaller QB can benefit you.
 
# 9 NDAlum @ 02/24/14 12:42 PM
Size matters, period.

Is it everything? No
Can smaller guys overcome with exceptional skills and ability? Of course and there have been some who have done just this.
 
# 10 Chrisksaint @ 03/07/14 08:45 PM
The thing with shorts guys like say Brees or Wilson is they have really good fundamentals that are probably better then most. Look at the tape of Brees and you see him use every little thing he can get to be taller(little jumps on screens, standing tall in the pocket, etc) and my favorite of Wilson is using 5-7 step drop backs to his advantage to avoid pass rushers.

To me height will have nothing to do with Manziel's success or failures. In CFB he made crazy plays, but to me they were always just that. I never saw particular great accuracy, bad decisions that a lot of times worked out, crumbled when he couldn't move(both LSU games)
 
# 11 Find_the_Door @ 03/09/14 08:09 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fistandilius

There have been 7 QB's that I know of since 1980 that were drafted in the first round that won a super bowl with the team that drafted them. Jim McMahon, Troy Aikman, Ben Rothlisberger, Joe Flacco, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Bledsoe.

Flacco, Rothlisberger, Rodgers, Aikman... they had a pretty good team around them already when they were taken.

Whoa whoa whoa - Aikman did not inherit a good football team at all?

He was a key piece of one that was later built. Aikman went 1-15 his first season as a pro.... that tells you all about the team. Irvin almost got traded numerous times.
 
# 12 TheShizNo1 @ 03/10/14 07:47 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrisksaint
To me height will have nothing to do with Manziel's success or failures. In CFB he made crazy plays, but to me they were always just that. I never saw particular great accuracy, bad decisions that a lot of times worked out, crumbled when he couldn't move(both LSU games)
C'mon man. You gonna throw his worst game ever up there as your evidence? What about every other defense in the vaunted SEC that he was helping drop 40 on?

I don't care to use stats, but dude had a 68.9 career completion percentage. You have to be somewhere in the area of accurate to do that. We saw the offense, there really weren't any throws he struggled to make.

And crazy plays? I know you've seen Brees run one way, run another, and then fire something down the seam to Lance Moore or Colston.


You don't do that well at that high of a level getting lucky on crazy plays.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk
 
# 13 Chrisksaint @ 03/10/14 06:44 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShizNo1

And crazy plays? I know you've seen Brees run one way, run another, and then fire something down the seam to Lance Moore or Colston.


You don't do that well at that high of a level getting lucky on crazy plays.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk
I don't admit defeat very often.

 
# 14 ProfessaPackMan @ 03/10/14 07:33 PM
It also helps that Brees is one of the smartest players to play in the NFL as well.
 
# 15 blackceasar @ 03/11/14 01:54 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by FaceMask
Manziel is too immature mentally to compare him to Wilson outside of size. He's going to struggle a lot at the pro level. That said, if he can get his head together and is willing to work, he can some day be a polished NFL starter, but I can't see it happening as soon as it did for Russell Wilson.
I have to agree with this. It's almost the way some women put it. For some women size doesn't matter if he can make up for it in other places lol.

In this case, Wilson had the maturity, smarts, and leadership and "MENTAL INTAGIBLES" that you either have or you don't that completely negate the fact that he's a short QB. This is why Drew Brees has been a successful QB and will probably wind up in the HOF later in his life.

Manziel is NOT either of these two guys. He's got nothing in common with either one of them outside of some similar physical skills. Drew and Russel are mature and cerebral QB's. They are almost like shorter, but more mobile versions of a poor man's Manning or Brady.. but Johnny Football is just a short guy with some physical talent. I don't think that's going to be enough to live up to the hype that's been around him (that he's embraced). I think after his first contract is up, he's going to be a journeyman QB for a few more years and then become a career number 2. There's just things that he doesnt have the Wilson and Brees do that can't be taught on the field. You either have it or you dont. You either are that type of guy or you're not... and the NFL moves at a totally different speed than college. These are grown men coming off that line in a way he hasn't seen yet.. and THIS is when your maturity and mental aspect of the game have to come in and save your ***. I think some defenses are going to flat out punish manziel and expose him.

Not to turn this into a draft discussion but the Texans just need to grab the best player available to fill one of the holes they have... Johnny isn't going to live up to be a first overall pick..not to mention.. dudes like Watt and Andre Johnson are NOT going to put up with him and the Johnny Football train that comes with him. Those dudes are MEN.. Johnny is still a boy.
 

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