Montreal Alouettes head coach Mike Sherman – finally – named Johnny Manziel the starting quarterback.
“Yes, we have a starter. “I was hoping you guys would be smart enough to figure it out for yourself, I gave you that opportunity yesterday. I wondered if you watched practice sometimes if you don’t watch practice you couldn’t figure it out, but if you watched practice you could figure out who the starter is,” Sherman said.
“Johnny will start the game.”
Manziel will be the No. 1 QB against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday night. Just one day prior, Sherman refused to confirm Manziel would start even though he took first-team reps.
“We didn’t trade for Johnny to have him sit on the bench, so obviously, Johnny’s come over here to get reps and become the best player he can become, and we stated that process today,” said Sherman.
“You probably all figured it out yourself, but when you have two players you wait till game time to make that announcement. It doesn’t make sense to do it any sooner.”
Manziel will be the fourth starter and the fifth quarterback overall to play for the Als who are tied for the worst record in the league at 1-5. Both opening day starter Drew Willy and backup Jeff Mathews are injured. The Alouettes have scored a league-low 92 points through six games.
The Alouettes traded for Manziel in a blockbuster deal – he must realize his potential to be worth the investment – with the Ticats, but Sherman elected to leave Johnny Football on the bench for his first game in Montreal. Many people were unhappy with the decision to leave Manziel on the sidelines in a loss to Edmonton.
“I feel fortunate enough this week to be going against a defence that I’ve seen more than any other defence since I’ve been in the CFL. I feel like I really know this personnel well, I feel like I really know this team in and out because I was a part of it,” Manziel said.
Manziel will make his first CFL start. The 25-year-old quarterback played in two pre-season games completing 21-of-31 passes for 168 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and rushed six times for 29 yards. The second exhibition game was played in Montreal which allowed general manager Kavis Reed to see Manziel live.
“Very important to see that because you have to look at the fluidity of the athlete, the comfort of the athlete in game speed and how comfortable is he on the CFL field. We got to see that he was a tremendous athlete playing quarterback, the most important thing that I took out of it was when he was able to extend plays, he was extending plays with his eyes down the field to make a pass down the field instead of being a runner,” Reed said.
“Instinctively a lot of guys would just try to be a runner and get a lot of accolades for being a running quarterback, but sooner or later you’re going to have to pull the trigger as a quarterback and we felt that he showed that in the pre-season.”
-with CP files