For all the hype surrounding Johnny Manziel, there are still questions about him as both a player and person.
In an interview with a Denver radio station, Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach June Jones said that while Manziel’s talents are undeniable, there are other factors to consider.
Two months after Manziel signed with Hamilton, the Ticats traded the 25-year-old quarterback to the Montreal Alouettes in a blockbuster deal. While the Ticats organization and Manziel’s teammates were publicly effusive in their praise, there were rumbles that his commitment to the game wasn’t necessarily beyond reproach, that he had been late or missed meetings on more than one occasion.
“Johnny was a little behind in what we were doing. And I’m not going to take Jeremiah out he had a chance to break a 120-year-old CFL record of 10-straight 300-yard games, he’s played very, very well. We felt like Johnny’s situation he needed to play, he needed to get on the field,” Jones told Orange and Blue 760 in Denver.
“His football part of it is not the issue, it’s all the other stuff. I wanted him to get on the field and he wasn’t going to get on the field with us right away so we felt like we had an opportunity to make a really, really good trade which we did so you’ll probably be seeing him on ESPN pretty quick.”
Jones had high praise for Masoli, whose play as the team’s No. 1 quarterback kept Manziel off the field.
“I’m going to just be honest with you: Jeremiah Masoli is about as good as any quarterback I’ve had, so to make that statement that’s pretty large. Jeremiah is about a six-footer and so he didn’t get really a good chance in the National Football League, but I think if somebody had believed in him he would’ve,” Jones said.
But Jones did triple down on his belief of what Manziel can do in the CFL.
“I really think Johnny has a chance to be one of the best players ever up here,” Jones said. “Timing is everything.”
Manziel was chosen in the back part of the first round in the 2014 NFL Draft, but former NFL and current Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach June Jones feels Manziel should have been chosen No. 1 overall.
“I took all the throws that Johnny Manziel made in Cleveland that was from three wide receivers, four wide receivers and five wide receivers and he looked exactly like he did at Texas A&M. He had never been in another system, that’s all he did in high school, all he did in college and so when he gets to Cleveland all of a sudden now he’s in two backs, three tight ends, two backs, one tight end, he’s in all these different formations and guess what he becomes a rookie that doesn’t know what to do,” Jones said.
“But if you had just graded the plays that he was in things that he was comfortable with, he’s the No. 1 pick, he’s the best player in the league.”
Manziel played 14 games for the Browns, starting eight, completing 147-of-258 passes for 1,675 yards, seven touchdowns, seven interceptions while rushing 46 times for 259 yards and one touchdown posting a 2-6 record as the starting quarterback.
“If he had sat on the bench like Steve Young did for six or seven years, Aaron Rodgers four or five years and just watched the game that he would be one of those guys,” Jones said.
“But what happens now in the NFL when you draft a kid in the first round they force him in to play and they’re not ready to play, the same thing happened with Johnny Manziel. They put him in a different offence than he was used to.”