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Rufio's Film Room: Browns Read Option

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Rob Carr

In this edition of the film room I'm looking the one true difference we've seen in the Cleveland Brown's offense under Johnny Manziel vs. Brian Hoyer: read option plays. To this point in the preseason, Hoyer has run zero read option plays while Manziel has run a small handful. Manziel's athleticism opens up this play to the Browns if (or when) he sees the field this year.

Whether the Browns should be running these plays or not is an entirely different question. Manziel did not win his Heisman trophy by running a lot of read option in college, and his skills might not be best utilized on zone read plays. Others, like Smartfootball/Grantland's Chris Brown agree:

Personally, I would like to see us present the threat of designed QB runs, but only very rarely. Brown is right that Manziel isn't a power runner, and he isn't going to pull away from defenders. He's quick and shifty, but I don't think he can make a living in the NFL on these read option plays, and it will be interesting to see how Kyle Shannahan develops his playcalls if and when Manziel gets to play. Don't believe me (or Brown)? Here's Nick Saban, who was tasked with defending Johnny once a year:

He scrambles and makes plays throwing the ball down the field. He doesn’t remind me of [Cam Newton or Tim Tebow] who were bigger, more physical, very athletic guys; this guy really doesn’t run a lot of quarterback runs. He runs quarterback draws, and he runs when it’s a pass and everybody gets all spread-out and [he] scrambles.

-Nick Saban