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Shouldn't Browns hire coach before deciding on Manziel?


Indications are the Cleveland Browns are very interested in drafting Johnny Manziel, which makes plenty of sense.

This situation isn't without its head-scratchers, though -- the Browns don't have a head coach at the moment.

Of course, Cleveland's reported interest in acquiring the Texas A&M QB could be a smokescreen, but what if it's real? Is it a wise strategy to make such a significant decision before sitting down with a head coach to get his feedback?

It wouldn't be uncharted territory for the Browns to explore, but it is territory that is rarely trodden. Typically you build a team to fit a coach's system. In this case, we don't know what the Browns' system is unless the team's management is dictating it and will pick a coach that it believes suits the personality and style of quarterback it would draft.

It's going to be interesting to see what the new coach brings in if the franchise is indeed wedded to Manziel. Is Manziel's imminent arrival something the new coach is going to be informed of going in? Will that change who wants the job in Cleveland? Will that change how the head coach runs his offense?

Whoever ends up coaching Manziel is about to embark on a heck of a journey. It will have to be someone willing to accept improv. It can't be a guy who goes by the book. If you approach the opportunity with trepidation, it's not going to go well. He's going to have to be willing to meet Manziel halfway on things.

Manziel is such a rare and tremendous talent. In the past year, he has improved his fundamentals, but everything from his footwork to how he holds the ball still needs coaching. He still has the best sense of the pocket that I've seen. He doesn't have a sixth sense in the pocket -- he has a seventh and eighth sense back there. Not many people have that. It's a precious commodity.

Manziel is used to playing quarterback a certain way, and he's going to have to go through some processes that tell him he can't do it certain ways anymore when he gets to the next level. The coach won't be able to tell him, "You can't do this anymore." Manziel is going to test him. He's like the kid that you tell not to touch the stove because it's hot. You can count to three and know he's still going to touch the stove.

Sure, a coach can harness and tweak Manziel's game a bit. Tom Landry never totally harnessed Roger Staubach, and that was a good thing. Fran Tarkenton was coached by Norm Van Brocklin, who used to go berserk every time Tarkenton stepped out of the pocket. He never truly harnessed him. That was a good thing. Brett Favre would drive Mike Holmgren crazy. Holmgren never truly harnessed him, and that turned out just fine.

Manziel's coach will have to have some structure, but he'll have to be able to allow that structure to be broken along the way, too, because otherwise there's no sense in putting the two together.

Genius comes with a little bit of a price. Manziel's next coach will have to be careful not to take the magic out of his game.

Who wouldn't want to take Manziel and work with him? "If you don't, I don't want you coaching my team anyway" -- that might be how the Browns are looking at this situation.

QBs impressing early at Shrine Game practice

They're not big names, but quarterbacks are generating plenty of buzz at practice this week for the East-West Shrine Game. I was on hand to watch Monday's session, and Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo, Cornell's Jeff Matthews and Ball State's Keith Wenning grabbed my attention in a hurry.

Some defensive backs caught my eye, too. Purdue CB Ricardo Allen is a ballhawk and had a really good first day of practice. Rice CB Phillip Gaines showed good speed and athletic ability, and Duke CB Ross Cockrell competed very well. Washington CB Sean Parker and Oklahoma State CB Daytawion Lowe will be fun to watch this week, as will underrated players like Arizona CB Shaquille Richardson, Oregon State CB Rashaad Reynolds and Minnesota safety Brock Vereen, the younger brother of Patriots RB Shane Vereen. A lesser-known name to remember is Lindenwood CB Pierre Desir.

Follow Charles Davis on Twitter @CFD22.



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