Welcome To Canada Mr Manziel

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 5.22.2018

Johnny Football is back. This time Manziel will be donning a Hamilton Tiger-Cats jersey and doing his magic in the CFL. It’s a smart move and one that could potentially make Manziel the most exciting, undersized quarterback in the CFL since Doug Flutie.

First, let’s be real about the expectations here. The Canadian game is significantly different than the US game. While it’s a style that fits Manziel’s skill set, it is also one he’ll have to adjust to. From the motion rules to the routes the receivers run to the way the coverage develops. It’s going to be a whole new thing for the boy from Texas to take into account. With a limited amount of preseason games and his late signing, it’s going to take probably half a season before Manziel starts ‘getting it’ but he could also pick it up a lot quicker.

The excitement that fans should feel is two fold. First Manziel has a coach who has won at every level of football and is a direct disciple of Mouse Davis who is the Godfather of the Run ‘N’ Shoot offense. June Jones offense employs concepts that every team in football now uses and it’s the foundation for the offense Manziel ran at Texas A&M.

Second, look at the comparisons between Manziel and Doug Flutie. Flutie is in the CFL Hall of Fame, won the Most Outstanding Player 6 times in 8 years while up north and also won the Grey Cup 3 times. Flutie’s arm, scrambling, and ability to extend the play proved to be a lethal combination in the wide open CFL. Manziel has a lot of the same characteristics as you can see from the two quarterbacks highlights.

Some will just say that the CFL is Manziel’s chance to get back to the NFL. Maybe but if Manziel zeros in on being a CFL quarterback, he has the potential to be one of the all time greats. This can go a lot of ways for Manziel but the bottom line is that he is in a great spot in Hamilton with a coach with a proven track record. Things could get very interesting in the CFL come August and September.

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More Mouse Davis Than Bill Walsh

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 1.10.2017

Over the years we’ve written quite a bit about Chip Kelly. We’ve written how he wasn’t right for the NFL and we’ve written that he could be the next Bill Walsh. With many things, the truth falls somewhere in between.

Chip Kelly 49ersChip Kelly was fired from two NFL jobs in little over a year. The second wasn’t his fault as he was dealt an absolute oil spill but the first was his fault. More importantly there has been some talk out there that Kelly wasn’t able to adjust to the NFL. He didn’t disguise his looks and become, in a word, predictable.

NFL defenses may have figured out a way to stop Kelly’s ‘blur’ offense but the NFL also adopted some of his ideas and methods.

While at Oregon, Kelly made trips to New England to talk about the hurry-up offense with Bill Belichick and his staff. Belichick and Kelly have become good friends and there is a possibility, however remote, that Kelly could slide into the OC spot if current Patriots OC Josh McDaniels gets another head coaching gig with, ironically enough, the San Francisco 49ers.

The fact is that a lot of teams, college and pro, use some of Kelly’s principals in their offenses. It’s a lot like how every one criticized Mouse Davis’s Run’N’Shoot offense when it debuted in the NFL way back in 1989.

Many criticized the offense and in it’s purest form wasn’t very successful at the NFL level. However aspects of the offense have made it into just about every current NFL offense. Using the pass to set up the run, single back sets and having wide receivers read the coverage along with the quarterback.

Kelly’s offense and training methods are seeing a similar bubbling up across the league. Kelly embraced sports science and employed a ‘sport science coordinator’ while with the Eagles. Other NFL teams have begun to embrace the idea of maximizing athletes performance after Kelly blazed the way.

Teams have also incorporated some zone read plays, allowed their quarterback to run more often, and of course using the hurry-up or no huddle offense throughout the game instead of just at end of a half.

While Kelly may not have revolutionized the game like the late Bill Walsh did so many years ago, he did influence it significantly like Mouse Davis did back in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Kelly’s NFL career will be judged by wins and losses but he has contributed much more than that.