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Then And Now: The Transformation Of Johnny Football

manziel-no-sweat-deodorantThis past offseason — in between concerts, parties and autograph sessions — Johnny Manziel said that he wanted to improve as a pocket passer.  His legs had helped him win a Heisman Trophy in December 2012, but the Texas A&M gunslinger knew it would be his arm that would improve his draft stock, not just his legs.

With the 2013 regular season just two weeks away from the curtain falling, we wanted to compare Johnny Football Then to Johnny Football Now.  As a passer, a runner, and as a crunchtime leader, just how exactly has Manziel’s second year held up to his amazing introductory season?

Pretty darn well.

Below we look at four different areas and compare Manziel’s 2013 game to his 2012 play…


Johnny Manziel Passing Comparison

  Season   Comp. %   Yds/Game   Yds/Att.   TD-INT   QB Rating
  2012   68.0%   285.1   8.5   26-9   155.32
  2013   73.0%   331.3   10.5   31-11   186.86


Johnny Manziel Passing Comparison Vs BCS Foes

  Season   Comp. %   Yds/Game   Yds/Att.   TD-INT   QB Rating
  2012 (9)   69.8%   286.2   8.1   13-7   146.95
  2013 (7)   74.3%   360.0   10.5   21-10   182.56


Johnny Manziel Clutch Passing Comparison

  Season   4th Qtr Comp. %   4th Qtr QB Rating   3rd Down Comp. %   3rd Down QB Rating
  2012   59.7%   150.01   67.9%   182.81
  2013   83.0%   226.45   75.0%   219.00


Johnny Manziel Rushing Comparison

  Season   Att./Game   Yds/Game  Yds/Att.   TD
  2012   15.4   108.4   7.01   21
  2013   11.0   61.1   5.55   8


As you can see, Manziel’s passing numbers have improved across the board.  He’s been more accurate, more productive and more clutch in 2013 than he was in 2012.  The only decline we see is in Manziel’s rushing profile.  And once again, running less was part of the plan.

While Manziel’s improvements in the passing game should aid him when the NFL draft rolls around, the decline in his rushing numbers might cost him a second Heisman Trophy.  Last year he rushed for 1,410 yards and 21 touchdowns.  Through 10 games this season he’s tallied 611 rushing yards and just eight scores.  That’s the kind of thing that Heisman voters might notice.

For those of you wondering if A&M’s offense has been hurt by Kevin Sumlin’s decision to run Manziel less, the answer appears to be no.  Last season the Aggies averaged 39.1 points per SEC contest.  This year that number has jumped to 46.0 points per league game.

Manziel has become a much better passer in 2013.  His rushing numbers are down and that could hurt his Heisman chances.  But he still has Texas A&M ranked in the top 12 of the BCS standings and vying for a BCS bowl game.  Therefore, taken as a whole, the changes to Johnny Football’s game have been a net positive for the player, his draft stock and the Aggie football team.




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