Montreal Alouettes Head Coach Mike Sherman Calls Johnny Manziel’s CFL Debut "Humbling"

"He needs to just focus on the best that he can be in the CFL, and we’ll see how the cards play out from there," Mike Sherman says

Taz and the Moose
October 30, 2018 - 9:15 am
CFL: Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Montreal Alouettes

USA Today Images

Johnny Manziel’s return to the gridiron has been quite the spectacle to follow for the past few months, but it’s safe to say that his debut in the Canadian Football League wasn’t exactly the spectacular outing that many people might have been expecting.

It was a rough night for Manziel last Friday. He completed 11-of-20 passes for 104 yards and four interceptions.

Reflecting on last week’s humbling defeat was Montreal Alouettes head coach Mike Sherman, who spoke with CBS Sports Radio about Manziel’s performance. Sherman said Manziel was nervous before the game but that his supporting cast didn’t do him any favors.

“I think he was nervous,” Sherman said on Taz & The Moose. “The eyes of the world were upon him. Half of the world wanted to see him succeed, the other half wanted to see him fail. He didn’t want to disappoint anybody, and I think he put too much pressure on himself, and he didn’t play the game as loosely as he normally would have played. But it wasn’t just him. We were terrible. It was a team effort. I think I would give him a pass on the first one because the supporting cast didn’t support him. It was his first time and I think he was pressing a little too hard. I talked to him at the end of the game and I asked, ‘How you doing?’ He said, ‘I’m fine. It’s humbling, but I’m fine. It was just what I needed, and we need to get back to work and start getting ready for next week.’ He has the right attitude. It was humbling for him. I mean, he’s never really been on a football field like that and have had that happen to him, so he’ll be working twice as hard this week to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Sherman and Manziel have quite a history together, as Sherman recruited the former Heisman Trophy winner to Texas A&M.

“He had quite a bit of magic back then (at Texas A&M), which we hope we can replicate to some degree here in Montreal,” Sherman said. “The guy just loved football — couldn’t wait to get on the field and do things. His ability to escape and make plays on his feet with his eyes down field looking for receivers – that’s certainly a skill set he’s used in the past and hopefully can replicate here. Along with that skill set, we have to make sure the decision making is right and we’re not taking too high risk throws, but he has that ability with a strong arm. He can make any throw on the field. He’s a leader. I mean, the minute he came on the field, it kind of elevated our practice. He’s very vocal as a quarterback to his receivers and offensive linemen and presents himself as someone that can be a leader — something that we need here.”

Sherman’s advice to Manziel is simple — just be the best CFL quarterback that you can be, and things will ultimately work out in the end.

“I think the most important focus for him right now is to be a successful CFL quarterback,” Sherman said. “If he’s focusing on the aspect of getting back into the NFL, he’s probably not going to be as good as he should be here. So he needs to just focus on the best that he can be in the CFL, and we’ll see how the cards play out from there.