SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — On Monday night, Cleveland’s Johnny Manziel flipped his middle finger toward the Washington Redskins bench as he returned to the huddle late in the third quarter. The gesture did him no good because, in the end, the Browns lost 24-23.
Manziel said his bringing up the bird was a response to some trash talk from Washington’s Ryan Clark, who gave him an unwanted reminder that this wasn’t college and the players in the NFL are faster.
Madden thinks that Manziel overreacted and said he should be used to that sort of thin by now.
“When you’re called Johnny Football and stuff, you know what comes next,” Madden said.
Cleveland quarterback Brian Hoyer’s performance was also less then impressive.
“When you take Johnny Manziel, or any quarterback number one, your plan is that he’s going to be your starter, so then your next plan has to be when and that’s the important thing and the answer to when is when he’s ready,” Madden said.
The dilemma, Madden said, is that Manziel isn’t ready and neither is Hoyer.
“They making a big deal about who should be the starter and after watching them both, my answer would be neither.”
Hoyer’s ACL surgery from last season may still be a factor and while Ryan Clark was obviously trying to get Manziel’s goat by saying that he’s not NFL fast, the the speed of the game is not something to overlook..
Many players do have trouble transitioning from into a game that is bigger, faster than anything they’ve experienced before. Madden said that some don’t learn quickly enough, and mention RG3.
“He has the same thing that he takes too many hits and he says that he knows that but it’s an instinct to run and in college, where that was real effective, that got him in a lot of trouble,” Madden said. “In the pros, they run and they run them down and when the run them down at the end of the play, they hit the heck out of them.”
Madden said Washington has a good offense but that the defense is the questionable variable as well as RG3’s health.
The relative weakness of the NFC also gives them the better hand.
“We used to think the NFC was the strongest division but you got the Giants, the Dallas Cowboys—those aren’t real good teams anymore. I think the Philadelphia Eagles with Chip Kelly are a little better and then you have the Redskins,” he said.
“So to jump to the top of the division is not real difficult thing.”
There were 21 penalties in the game last night and currently, for this season, there have been 18 per game on average compared to the 12-13 several years ago.
“There’s a new emphasis on two areas and it’s defensive holding,” Madden said.
“If you contact someone after five yards, before the balls in the air, it’s defensive holding. If you contact someone after five yards, when the balls in the air, it’s pass interference. So they were letting defensive players get away with hitting guys after five yards—hitting and holding guys after five yards. And they put a pointed emphasis they’re not going to do it anymore. So every time that someone hits a receiver, after five yards, that’s going to be a penalty.”