Johnny to start? Manziel may get the nod against Alouettes

Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Johnny Manziel could get the start in the team’s final pre-season game against Montreal Saturday, June 9.

Head coach June Jones said that the team’s No. 1 pivot, veteran Jeremiah Masoli, won’t see action versus the Alouettes but that Manziel and fellow quarterbacks Vernon Adams and Bryant Moniz will play.

“We’re going to play some of the backup players so that we can get a look at them and try to have everybody healthy for [Week 1 against] Calgary,” Jones said.

Manziel made his CFL debut last Friday in a 36-18 loss to the Toronto Argonauts. He went 9-of-11 for 80 yards – there was a string of five straight completions – and carried the ball two times for 10 yards in roughly a quarter of play. After watching the game film, Jones said Manziel was so-so.

“He graded out right in the middle. Average. It wasn’t great, it wasn’t bad. He did some good things. He ended up scrambling around and making some plays like he always does. He’s more confident you can already see it in practice [after the game] on where to go [with the football],” Jones said.

“I thought it was good. I thought I missed two or three things and need to do a better job staying in the pocket, I felt like I got out a little bit early. But other than that for an all-around grade on everything – getting the ball out, decision making – it was pretty good. There’s always room for improvement,” Manziel said.

All of Manziel’s completions against the Argos were under 15 yards or less at the catch point, but the downfield throws will come naturally, according to the Heisman Trophy winner.

“Everyday deeper downfield shots are opening up more and more. It’s Coach Jones calling the plays, me getting it to where I know that he wants the ball to go. We’ll take some shots. I missed one thing in this last game against Toronto to take a shot. I want to keep getting a lot more smooth on those downfield throws, dialling it in,” Manziel said.

Bre Tiesi, Manziel’s wife, was in attendance for his first CFL game.

“It was a last-minute decision for her to come up here for the first pre-season game, this all happened so quick. We were sitting there thinking we had a couple weeks left of being together and then I’m up here and it’s straight to work. She wanted to see the start of what we finally got to. It’s been a long couple years for both of us with uncertainty and a lot of heartache and a lot of struggles,” Manziel said.

“But to be where we’re at to finally have some clarity and have some peace with what’s going on in life and some happiness, for her to be supporting me has been above and beyond what I could even ask for.”

Manziel seems to be under the impression that he’ll start in La Belle Province versus the Als.

“I definitely want to play, I think that’s the plan.”

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