Johnny Manziel looking to 'show up' doubters at the NFL Combine

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The former Heisman Trophy winner may not be throwing in Indianapolis, but he had plenty to say.

INDIANAPOLIS - Former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel made his anticipated appearance at the NFL Scouting Combine.

While Manziel may not be throwing in Indianapolis, he had plenty to say.

"I'm just looking forward to showing up all the people who say I'm just an improvisor," Manziel said. "I've worked really well to hone my game."

The greatest knock on Manziel has been his size. He officially measured in at the combine at 5-foot-11 3/4 and 207 pounds. That, combined with Manziel's penchant for taking off and running the ball, lead to concerns about staying healthy in the NFL.

Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said Friday that a 5-foot-11 quarterback can lead to questions.

"When you design runs for them, you're putting them in harm's way," Arians said. "Because the guys chasing them are a lot bigger and faster than they were chasing them in college. But to take their natural instinct away from them, the drop back passing and scrambling, you don't want to do that."

Manziel, who has been working in San Diego with quarterbacks coach George Whitfield, said he's not sure what the biggest question mark about his game. He also doesn't think being a mobile quarterback is a bad thing.

"For those guys, being able to evade a first wave of pass rush and move the pocket really opens the playbook a little more," Manziel said. "The young guys who are doing that are the guys I enjoy watching."

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll knows better than anyone about having a smaller quarterback. He found success, and a Super Bowl, with Russell Wilson.

"We've learned that Russell is a great football player and a great competitor," Carroll said. "It doesn't matter what package he goes in. It's not because he's 5-foot-11 1/2 that he's a great There are some notable players who are likewise, and I think it was Johnny who said that Russell has opened the door for guys like him. That's true.

"The last few years, the general thinking was that a guy like Russell couldn't play. That's obviously wrong. but not everybody that's 5-foot-11 1/2 can be a great football player. All of the elements that make up Russell make him very unique, no matter how tall he is."

Manziel does seem to know that because of his size, when he does break the pocket and make plays with his legs, he has to be safe and smart about it.

"A big thing I'm working on is taking care of myself. You have to be on the field, stay healthy, be able to slide or pick your poison when you need to get a first down."

In addition to knowing what he needs to fix about his on-field issues, Manziel knows he has to curb the off-field "Johnny Football" persona.

"I believe whenever I decided to make this decision to turn professional, it was time to put my college years in the past," Manziel said. "This is a job now. There are guys' jobs on the line. It's nothing that will be a hard thing to kick. I'm extremely focused on whatever organization I'll be at."

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