Winston is no Manziel
I watched every minute of Monday night’s BCS championship game between Florida State and Auburn. I was impressed by Auburn and they way they commanded the game for three quarters of the time. I, like many fans, expected Florida State to dominate the game and control it. Sure, Auburn might put up a fight for a half but then the Seminoles would push them aside like a kid brother trying to get in your pick up basketball game in the driveway. What I saw was not only Auburn winning almost every battle but Florida State’s Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Jameis Winston, playing unlike a Heisman Trophy winner.
Winston was very pedestrian for the first half. He was held to no touchdowns. During the regular season Winston had 26 first half touchdowns and almost 70% of his passing yards this season were in the first half. Florida State, which hadn’t trailed in a game since September, was behind 21-10. Winston finally got his act together, but even after his final, dramatic winning drive to give FSU the national championship, his numbers were 20-33 for 237 yards (79 of them on that final drive) and 2 scores. Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall, hardly known as a great passing quarterback, had a higher QB rating. So, and not to take anything away from Winston, for my money Johnny Manziel was a much more dynamic player in his Heisman season of 2012 than Winston this season. Winston doesn’t make you HAVE to watch him the way Manziel does. When A&M had the ball this season and I was in front of a TV, I couldn’t leave the room. I had to see what might happen. I watched a number of Florida State games and I never had the same feeling about Winston. Without question Florida State has more talent around Winston than A&M surrounds Manziel with, so maybe Johnny Football has to do more, but isn’t that the definition of a great player? Making everyone around him better. Without Manziel, the Aggies are maybe a 7-5 team, with him they are in every game they play.
Manziel will head to the NFL now and it will be interesting to see how he fits. Some say his size will hold him back. Winston, on the other hand, is the ideal NFL-sized quarterback. Despite the success of Drew Brees or Russell Wilson or any other 6 foot signal caller, scouts and GM’s and the media will question if a guy can play at that size. All I know is Winston won this year’s Heisman and Manziel won the previous year, and if I had to say which meant more to his team, was more exciting, created something out of nothing, elevated his teammates and FORCES me to watch, Johnny Football gets my vote 10 out of 10 times.
If you surround Manziel with the right personnel, I think he will be an outstanding NFL player. If he ends up in Cleveland or Jacksonville….well hell Peyton Manning couldn’t survive there much less Manziel. Mark my words, if we revisit Manziel and Winston 5 years down the road, it will be Johnny Football who will be thriving and Winston will be just another decent NFL quarterback. Some players are just born to be great, they aren’t blessed with all the size and physical tools but they’re just blessed, and Manziel is one of those players. I can’t wait to watch him on Sundays.