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Kyle Shanahan: Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel are 'very similar'

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Pam Oliver caught a football to the face Sunday.
Johnny Manziel reminds Kyle Shanahan of Robert Griffin III. (USATSI)

More NFL offseason: League minicamp dates | Latest news, notes

Have you heard about Johnny Manziel? He's a little-known quarterback drafted by the Browns late in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft who might have a shot at starting this year.

Assuming he can beat out Brian Hoyer. Good news: his offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, likes him! Shanny even told Jim Corbett of USA Today he thinks Manziel is similar to Robert Griffin III.

"Johnny and Robert 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."

Like I've been saying since far before the draft: Manziel is a perfect fit for Shanahan's offense. He can get on the edge with his legs and take deep shots due to an underrated arm.

The question is whether or not Manziel can make an impact immediately. I mean, he can, but it's about the opportunity. Shanahan said Manziel "should be feeling comfortable" by training camp.

"If he keeps working like he has been, Johnny should be feeling comfortable by the time we get to training camp," Shanahan said.

Part and parcel of that is, unfortunately, changing the way Manziel plays.

"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.

"He's got the arm talent, and he ran around, made a ton of plays that won him the Heisman. You hope he can do that in the NFL. But you also know he won't be able to do it as much. ... Yet he still has to be him and make those plays."

He's gonna make them. It's all about managing him, really.

But the big question for Shanahan is how quickly he gets to manage him. Based on the way he talked Thursday night, it might not be as long as the Browns have indicated.

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