The latest to pile on the plaudits was offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.
“What he wants to talk about before he stepped foot back in this building is his business,” DeFilippo said at the team’s rookie minicamp on Saturday. “All I know is Johnny the football player. And he’s been awesome.”
The praise has reached the point that it almost seems the Browns are making a concerted effort to build Manziel’s psyche through the media. Whether they are or aren’t, it’s still better to have good news about Manziel than bad, and DeFilippo brought some serious glowing news.
He said Manziel has spent every hour he can in the building, and he has been detailed and precise with twice-weekly worksheets DeFilippo gives the quarterbacks.
“Like I said I can’t predict the future, but all I can tell you right now is Johnny Manziel is putting himself in a position to be a quarterback in the NFL,” DeFilippo said.
Manziel ended a rocky rookie season banished to the locker room for the team finale after he slept through the previous day’s walkthrough after a late night out. He then spent 72 days at a treatment facility for undisclosed rehab that ended a couple weeks before the Browns offseason program began.
“The moment he stepped in this building, the last [three] weeks I think it’s been, he’s been nothing but a consummate professional,” DeFilippo said.
Coach Mike Pettine said veteran Josh McCown would be the team’s starter in the offseason and entering training camp. DeFilippo said Manziel needs to work on being patient in the pocket (the opposite of read-option college reads) and on calling pre-snap protections.
Manziel had perhaps two protections per game at Texas A&M; he’ll have 10 to 15 with the Browns, DeFilippo said.
“Johnny’s game, it’s a little unorthodox,” DeFilippo said. “He likes to skip the pocket. He does a lot of impromptu stuff. The thing Johnny’s doing right now is he’s improving his game of being an NFL quarterback, and he’s making great strides in doing that.”
DeFilippo said his attitude is to take what Manziel does well, use it in the offense but at the same time develop the other skills to make Manziel a more complete quarterback.
He compared it to Terrelle Pryor when the former Ohio State quarterback was in Oakland. Pryor is out of the league now, but the point was made.
“If Johnny Manziel is our quarterback,” DeFilippo said, “ we’ll have an offense to fit his skill set.”
And DeFilippo is eager to See Manziel continue “with a new frame of mind, new mindset [and] new outlook.”