Couldn’t make it in Cleveland in the NFL, and in his recent CFL start with the Montreal Alouettes, he threw four interceptions in the first half and played only three series in the third quarter of the 40-11 rout.
By Arnie Leshin
Johnny be good? Well he was, now he isn’t.
Calm, cool, composed and overly confident in his Heisman Trophy days at Texas A &M, it has been only frustration for Johnny Manziel since he joined the professional football ranks in 2013.
He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns, but was just another disappointment for that hapless franchise. He made mistakes as a starter, he made mistakes as a back-up. His style of play at the collegiate level just wasn’t working, but he stuck with it.
At the NFL level after being a first-round pick of the Browns, he made his last start in December of 2015 with the Browns, who had gone through quarterbacks like no other team, and none of them remained, including last year’s winless campaign. It was one replacing another, then being waved, released or traded, and the losses kept piling up.
When he landed this year in the Canadian Football League with the contending Hamilton Tiger-Cats, he didn’t stay that long. The week of their game against Hamilton in Montreal, the quarterback hungry Alouettes made a deal for Manziel.
But he fizzled early in his new starting role with Montreal. In his second play in the CFL, he threw an interception and made a tackle. It didn’t get any better after three more interceptions in four of his six first-half series.
More frustration set in, when after being chased and tossed a five-yard loss, Manziel and his new team that he hardly know, trailed 14-0, to his old team from Hamilton, and then handed off twice before the Tiger-Cats blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown.
When the nightmare ended, Hamilton ran up a 50-11 victory, and the Alouettes dropped to 1-6 and had won just once in their last 18 starts going back a year. The Tiger-Cats were happy with starter Jeremiah Masoli and decided to agree to a trade involving Manziel.
But the former Aggie who was then the No. 1 college quarterback in the land, was not the same in Cleveland and now in Montreal. One of his picks came on a pass that deflected off running back Tyrell Sutton and into the hands of defender Jurnal Rolle for his second interception in the contest.
Rolle’s second pick came after Manziel led Montreal to a field goal. Two more followed, and once again the Alouettes tasted defeat, this time on their home field.
Manzel played only three series in the third quarter, all ending in punts, before giving way to Vernon Adams in the fourth.
In the college ranks, his style was faking a pass and running the ball. He also threw on the run, provided his leadership, gained the headlines, and even defeated Alabama in an SEC game on the road.
But that was then and this is now. What worked before has failed. Now it’s up to him as the frustrating years pass by.
He did impress when he tackled linebacker Larry Dean following an interception, but it didn’t offset the mistakes.