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Johnny Manziel 'very similar' to RGIII, Shanahan says

While the country's talking heads lost all perspective on Johnny Manziel's offseason vacation in Las Vegas this week, Around The League was concentrating on signs emanating from OTAs that Kyle Shanahan's offense is being tailored to the rookie's strengths.

Just weeks after insisting that Manziel won't be handed the job and relegating him to third-team reps, coach Mike Pettine was mixing the new face of the franchise in with the first-team offense.

Bolstering our already strong belief that Manziel will start the season opener, Shanahan told USA Today on Friday that he's sees a lot of comparisons between his new quarterback and the one who earned 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year honors under his tutelage.

"Johnny and (Robert Griffin III) are very similar," Shanahan said. "They're both talented guys who can make plays with their legs. But there comes a time in the NFL when they're going to keep you in the pocket, and you're going to have to have that ability to make the throws with your arm and mind.

"And Johnny, just like Robert, has that arm talent and intelligence to do that."

After slow-playing the rest of the NFL during the 2012 preseason, Shanahan unfurled a masterpiece scheme to take advantage of RGIII's special skill set.

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Can he pull off the same feat in Cleveland now that Manziel has shown signs of being a quick study?

On Thursday's edition of the "Around The League Podcast," we noted the shift in the Browns' public stance toward Manziel this week. Two days after Pettine defended the controversial rookie's commitment to football, Shanahan emphasized that Manziel has his priorities in order.

"Perception becomes everyone's reality, but Johnny has been here working his tail off day and night, doing everything we ask," Shanahan said. "He's really attacked it every day, done a good job even as each week gets harder as we throw a lot more at him.

"I've been very impressed."

Shanahan stressed that his starting quarterback decision will be "pretty simple." Whichever one moves the offense and puts points on the board in August will be under center when Week 1 rolls around.

If it's not Manziel, the Browns might just have a fan revolt on their hands.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" breaks down the news and examines developments from the first week of OTAs.

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