A division rival coach believes that Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has the opportunity to become one of the reliable starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Paul Guenther, defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals, opined that Manziel just needs more time to develop.
"Honestly, I think the kid needs more time," Guenther told ESPN.com. "Drew Brees did it. I know Drew is a little bit thicker than Johnny, but about the same height. ... I don't see any reason why he can't do it up there.” [Brees, drafted out of Purdue University in 2001 by the San Diego Chargers, eventually became a star with the New Orleans Saints.]
Guenther admitted that there was pressure for Manziel to make an immediate impact on the Browns because he was a popular and successful player in college football, and the Browns' fans have been hungry for a winning team.
“[Manziel] was such a high-profile guy out of college and everyone expected what he did at Texas A&M, but it's a man's game, it's a lot different, and it takes time. You have to take your lumps a little bit," Guenther added.
The 22-year-old Manziel, who was the No. 22 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, had a subpar rookie year in Cleveland, playing in just five games, with a passer rating of 42. In a December game against Guenther’s Bengals, Manziel passed for 80 yards on 10 of 18 completions and had two interceptions.