Johnny Watch: Manziel has ‘firm understanding’ of Ticats concepts

Although Johnny Manziel will not start Saturday’s pre-season game in Montreal — that will be Bryant Moniz — he’ll get plenty of time under centre, head coach June Jones said.

Thursday was the final day of official training camp for the Tiger-Cats and Manziel reflected on his progress so far.

For one thing, he’s close to finding the right place to live during the season, but hasn’t finalized. For another, he can feel the grasp closer to the reach.

“The first couple days I thought it was overwhelming,” Manziel said, conceding that he had wondered then if he might not get up to speed with the CFL game as quickly as he’d anticipated.

“Now I’m sitting here two weeks later with what I feel is a firm understanding of the concepts we’re trying to do. That’s obviously refreshing.

“It’s similar to things I’ve done in the past so it’s just getting back into building habits around what we do here, not what I’ve been doing in the past. And letting some of those old things go.”

Despite what a legion of followers, particularly south of the border, might feel, Manziel is not nearly ready to challenge starter Jeremiah Masoli for No. 1 status.

He himself recognizes he hasn’t seen what regular-season CFL defences can really look like, and still won’t have even after his 20-or-so snaps in Montreal.

“You can’t come up here, and play one game and expect that you’ve seen every coverage, that you’ve seen everything,” he said. “It’s going to take a while. There are some things I’m going to see in this game that are different than what Toronto ran, that are different than what our defence runs (in practice), from a scheme aspect.”

Still, Manziel has demonstrated his sizeable football intellect, adjusting more quickly to some of the quirky challenges of three-down football than many other American newcomers do. And when he’s been befuddled, he’s usually run himself out of trouble and into an extended play.

Steve Milton

Steve Milton

Steve Milton is a long-time columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2012.
Steve Milton
Steve Milton
About Steve Milton (206 Articles)
Steve Milton is a long-time columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2012.

10 Comments on Johnny Watch: Manziel has ‘firm understanding’ of Ticats concepts

  1. I really wish Johnny a great season. That way Montreal can get their hands on Masoli LOL. Seriously hope he will garner much attention from south of the border and we will gain more viewers from the USA. Go Als Go!!!

    • Perhaps the best thing about American exposure is the increased awareness of good American college players about the CFL.

      • Ticats63 // June 9, 2018 at 11:04 am //

        FrankS: Excellent point!

        All the U.S. media hype over Johnny is fine, but it is not sustainable beyond Manziel’s tenure in the CFL (likely 2 years). However, this increased exposure to both college kids (who may not be good/big enough for the NFL) and their coaches, can only help improve the great quality of our game.

        I just hope the league decision-makers NEVER give in to pressures to reduce the Canadian content ratio.

        Increased media exposure to Canadian University sports, and football in particular, is something we need. Honestly, I’d much rather watch that, than some mid-level soccer or cricket match being replayed from 12 time zones away.

        Only 7 more days until Calgary!

  2. True Blue // June 9, 2018 at 10:57 am //

    As not just a Bomber fan but a CFL fan I have been following the Manziel situation with great interest. I think I can say with relative confidence that I have become a Johnny Manziel fan. I look forward to watching Hamilton games. I’d like to see him succeed (although not necessarily against us!). 😉

  3. The entire league is benefiting from Johnny in Hamilton. All teams will make money and more exposure for the cfl. Johnny here is getting more attention in the USA than the NHL Final!!

  4. Ticat Mike // June 9, 2018 at 11:38 am //

    Suggestion – in the name of journalism and to move away from the sensationalism of JM being here — will you, the Spectator PLEASE stop with the Johnny Watch Day 575….etc. It is tiresome and drawing unnecessary attention which adds nothing positive. If and when there is something to report then do so.

  5. The over hype of JM is heading to a quarterback issue. In Cleveland he was hyped and paid millions(10 I think) because of his success in Texas. The coaches started to feel a need to start him before he was ready with so much hype and money invested. That lead to an inevitable result. He is (a bit) older and seemingly wiser now but will Jones feel the need to give the fans and head office what they want? At this point Masoli is a better qb. If the admin is as smart as I hope they are……they will keep him in a backup role as long as Masoli is getting it done. let him get a few reps in games that are obviously done and bring him along slowly. I get the entertainment value….but let’s learn from history.

  6. Teebis good comment. However you can’t just wait for games that are obviously done. Manziel has to get game reps every game to get to his potential and understanding of defences. Otherwise if he isn’t and masoli gets hurt say game 5 Manziel with no game reps up to that point will not be what Hamilton fans will want.

    • Maybe he could come in with a “special package” occasionally that showcases his strength like Austin used to implement. A qb controversy can be avoided and both Masoli’s and Manziel ‘s stock will rise as the year goes on. Slow is the only way to go if we are to get to the “problem” of having 2 great qb’s that the fans love because they win games in a complimentary way. There are a few historical eg.s of that.

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