Formula to stop Johnny Manziel; provided by LSU

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The Johnny Manziel hot takes are flying fast and furious right now, and some of them are truly SCORCHING HOT. And unless Manziel really takes a really long hard look at himself this offseason, his pro career will be over before you know it.

The blue print to stop Johnny Manziel is right there, hiding in plain sight. Les Miles and LSU figured it out in college, and the Cincinnati Bengals copied it. In his only NFL start, Manziel was atrocious, and it’s because the Bengals did their best impression of the Bayou Bengals, and it worked to a tee!

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SI’s Peter King on Bengals’ defensive approach to Johnny Manziel: “The Cincinnati Bengals did something really bright in the game against Johnny Manziel. They looked back at his college career and saw that the worst game he played in college was against LSU last year. The key in that game, don’t let Manziel go left. They forced him to the right. The biggest play in this game, he throws a terrible interception. Give credit to Bengals’ defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, for finding that.”

It makes sense because when you put Manziel in a box like that, he is prone to making throws against his body. That’s when bad things happen. Force Johnny Football to go right, he’ll throw back across the grain to his left, and it’s very often picked off.

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I brought this up today at the Music City Bowl press conference, a joint presser between LSU Coach Les Miles and Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly. I even mentioned the Bengals and Manziel in the question

I said, “without giving away the store or anything, what type of things does your defense do that can limit a dual threat QB? As you’ll face two dual threat QBs in Malik Zaire and Everett Golson”

Kelly joked: “tell the truth.”

“We really haven’t treated them any differently than any big tall slow guys,” Miles said. (laughter ensues)

“We’re putting our faster guys, more athletic personnel on the field, these quarterbacks are talented.”

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Added Miles: “Both these (Notre Dame) quarterbacks can do some things both scripted and unscripted to give you headaches.”

Manziel was 0-2 in his career against LSU. In 2012, Manziel was 29-of-56 passing, 3 interceptions, no touchdowns in a 24-19 loss. In 2013, he was just as bad 16-of-41 for 224 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in a 41-16 loss.

As polarizing as Manziel’s personality is, the views on his game heading into the NFL Draft was even more divided. We all talked about the “midget” comments this week, and it’s no secret that he’s very short by NFL quarterback standards. He can’t see over the linemen, that’s why his game involves so much scrambling. He needs to be very mobile all the time, in order to find and see into passing lanes.

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However, Russell Wilson is a shrimp by NFL signal caller standards, and look how successful he’s been. So the Seahawks have figured out how to get the most out of a very short QB. No doubt Manziel and the Brownies can as well. Early in his career, Michael Jordan could only go right; couldn’t go left. And yeah, he figured it out. Manziel’s performance versus Cincy was so bad, it led to FOX Announcer Joe Buck to make an inexplicable, random rant against Manziel while Buck was calling Seahawks versus Niners. 

Now Manziel knows what opponents will do to him. Let’s see how he adjusts.

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CBS Sports’ Trent Green and Steve Beuerlein had very sensible takes on Manziel.

“The most embarrassing thing – it is hard to come up with one thing – but the most embarrassing thing is when Johnny Manziel comes out and he admits, ‘I need to take this more seriously.’ What did you think this was? This is your job,” said Green.

“This is your chosen profession. This is your career… And then to follow that up two days later and throw a big party and cause yourself and your teammates to get into further trouble… It was all fun and games when you’re ‘Johnny TMZ’ and ‘Johnny Party,’ and everybody feels good that Johnny is the life of that party.”

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“The problem is your job is in the National Football League. Unless it is the ‘60’s or 70’s and you are ‘Broadway Joe’ (you can’t get away with this). Everybody has a camera phone. Everybody is watching everything you do. Johnny needs to re-image himself and it starts with the people around him telling him he needs to change.”

 Said Beuerlein: “The (Cleveland Browns) have got to sit this guy down and say, ‘Listen pal, you need to make a decision today, Monday. After the first football season you have endured. Let’s see how badly you want this. You are now officially notified. You are on a short leash…’ They need to tell him point blank, ‘You need to step up, or you’re not going to be here for a year three.”

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Paul M. Banks owns, operates and writes The Sports Bank.net ,which is partners with Fox Sports. Read his feature stories in the Chicago Tribune RedEye edition. Listen to him on KOZN 1620 The Zone. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks). His work has been featured in hundreds of media outlets including The Washington Post and ESPN 2

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