When Kyle Shanahan looks at Johnny Manziel, he gets a sense of deja vu.
In a good way.
His new rookie quarterback reminds him of his old rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin III.
“Johnny and Robert are very similar,” Shanahan told USA Today. “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.”
Manziel, the Browns’ 22nd pick in the NFL draft, has to earn the starting job, even as he fends off criticism about a Memorial weekend trip to Las Vegas.
“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.”
The similarity may end there because of Manziel’s bravado (among other things), but Shanahan is unconcerned.
“You have to have some special magic, swagger to you that you can get the job done,” Shanahan said, “and Johnny demonstrated that as good as anyone who’s ever played college football. And we think he’ll be able to carry it over.”