After watching Manziel struggle during his rookie season, Savage -- who is now the executive director of the Senior Bowl -- hasn't changed his opinion.
"I don't know all the intimate details of how it went down, but to me Manziel needed to go a place where they would shape the offense around him and build elements into it that he could perform," Savage said. "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."
Manziel started the season as the Browns backup quarterback in 2014 before starting two games late in the season. Unfortunately, he led the Browns to three points and seven first downs in six quarters as a starter before suffering a hamstring injury.
On Thursday, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam was non-committal about Manziel's future with the franchise. He said the team is on a mission to find a starter who can "make us a championship team." New Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo added he's not sure if the Browns' starting quarterback is on the roster.
"He's a first-round pick, so there was obvious ability there," Savage, who was the Browns general manager from 2005-08, said of Manziel. "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."
Manziel did not impress as a rookie. In five games, including two starts, he completed 18 of 35 throws for 175 yards and no touchdowns with two interceptions. Manziel ran nine times for 29 yards and a score.
The Browns own the 12th and 19th picks in the first round of this year's draft. They selected Manziel at No. 22 overall last year.
DeFilippo said he's looking forward to working with Manziel and that Manziel will have a "clean slate."
The team plans to sit down with potential coordinators, and go through footage of Manziel from all the way back in training camp. The coordinators will be tasked with figuring out what strategies can enhance Manziel's strengths, and how they would go about masking his weaknesses.
Manziel had a less than stellar rookie season, completing 51.4 percent of his passes and throwing zero touchdowns against two interceptions over 35 attempts. The club selected him with the 22nd pick in the draft, so there's an obvious interest in making sure he develops properly.
Cleveland has already interviewed former Bears coach Marc Trestman for the position. They could also look at Bills assistant Jim Hostler, though they haven't officially reached out for an interview yet.
The sources claimed Manziel was with a small party in a secluded area and sipped on vodka and champagne in piling up a bill of close to $1,000.
Manziel was fined for missing a treatment session that morning.
"There's nothing I can sit here and tell you [that will make this go away]," he said. "I can't sit here and talk to these mics or these cameras or anything that's going to do any good. It's about actions, it's about being accountable and doing what I'm going to say instead of looking like a jackass."
Browns coach Mike Pettine said "talk is cheap," regarding Manziel after a series of missteps and poor play and the club's QB picture is "muddy at best."
According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, the Browns had to send security personnel to Manziel's house on Saturday to try to locate him after he was not at the team facility to receive treatment for his injured hamstring. The team fined him an undisclosed amount for his tardiness. Manziel finished the turbulent rookie season with 175 passing yards and a 42.0 quarterback rating. He also had two interceptions and one fumble lost.
"Either I'm going to learn or I'm going to be finding something else to do," Manziel said.
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