The 2012 AT&T Cotton Bowl wasn’t exactly the game of the year.
However, in the third quarter, the Aggies completely ran away with the game winning 41-13.
So what can we learn from this game? Well, just in case you haven’t had heard “Johnny Football” enough tonight, Johnny Manziel is a lot better than I had given him credit for.
I’m personally not a fan of what I like to call “desperation quarterbacking”, where the quarterback leaves the pocket, scrambles around for about 10 seconds before breaking a tackle and running for 40 yards. It just feels different than a natural scrambling quarterback because of the side to side running. Most quarterbacks who scramble run around the pocket and straight up field. What makes Manziel different is his ability to run laterally and cut, much like a running back.
Sure it works, but it gives the game a sort of chaotic and crazy feel. It’s a bit unorthodox.
However unnatural it may be, it works, and I don’t really have a problem with it when Manziel does it. Plus, he’s proven he can throw the ball as well. Usually with this type of quarterback there is a significant decrease in passing ability when compared to running ability.
Don’t get me wrong, Manziel overthrew a few receivers, but he also made a great number of impressive throws. I would like to see Manziel become more comfortable in the pocket. I think he will be able to do this as he grows, considering he’s only a freshman. He has a lot of time to improve on his decision making and accuracy.
This will also prepare him for his future in the NFL, since he’ll most likely be there in a few years. In the NFL, this crazy style of “desperation quarterbacking” doesn’t really work. Scrambling in the NFL works, but quarterbacks can’t run laterally for as long as they can in college, because NFL defensive linemen are much stronger and faster, which doesn’t allow quarterbacks to buy as much time.
I like to look at former Jets quarterback Tim Tebow as an example. Now I understand Manziel is much faster than Tebow, and by no means am I comparing the two.
Tebow was wildly successful in college. He could run straight up the middle, or scramble around until someone got open or he found a place to scramble.
When he went to the NFL, it didn’t work. He quickly found himself causing holding penalties and throwing interceptions because coverages don’t break down as quickly as in college.
As long as Manziel is in college, he will get away with this style of quarterbacking, but if he hopes to have a pro career, I’d like to see him look for pass options first, then if nothing is there scramble.