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Ex-Browns GM: Manziel wasted in traditional offense

The Cleveland Browns might have avoided a "dark cloud" by moving on from Kyle Shanahan, but their new offensive coordinator will put the team in a worse position if they don't employ the right scheme for Johnny Manziel.

That according to former Browns general manager Phil Savage, who says the Browns will be wasting the strengths of Manziel by putting him in the constraints of a traditional offense.

"I don't know all the intimate details of how it went down, but to me Manziel needed to go (to) a place where they would shape the offense around him and build elements into it that he could perform," Savage said, according to "If you were going to pour him into a more traditional style of offense then it was going to be a waste of his ability because his ability is to play backyard football.

"You have to create circumstances where almost artificially you give him those same sorts of pictures and same sorts of reads."

Savage served as Browns general manager for four seasons before being let go in December 2008. He's now the executive director of the Senior Bowl operation in Mobile, Ala.

New Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said during his introductory press conference he was unsure if Cleveland's starting quarterback is in the building. Manziel, the 22nd overall pick in last year's draft, struggled in two starts and was often in the news for his off-the-field exploits.

"He's a first-round pick so there was obvious ability there," Savage said. "I mean it's not over with yet, but wow. Based on how the season ended, there's more questions now than on the Thursday night they drafted him."

Browns fans might take what Savage (24-40 record during GM run) says with a grain of salt, but he's making sense. If the Browns really want to make their Manziel investment work, there can be no half measures.

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