Colin Kaepernick has learned to head for the sideline when he runs. Manziel must learn this. Even should Josh Gordon get to play, the Browns have a weak receiving corps. That will tempt Manziel to take off running. Or it may tempt Cleveland management to trade some of the team's stockpiled draft choices for receiving help now (Cleveland holds two choices in the 2015 first round, plus other extra selections).
The Browns used the eighth overall choice of the 2014 draft on corner Justin Gilbert, who is athletically gifted. A generation ago, scouts would have shied away from a corner from Oklahoma State, fearing all he'd know is run support. Today's Oklahoma and Texas college teams are as pass-wacky as they come. Last season against Texas Tech, the Cowboys defended 71 pass attempts.
In anticipation of new officiating emphasis on defensive holding, the Browns' secondary has been wearing boxing gloves in scrimmages, conditioning them not to grab. The Browns also should condition Manziel not to make the "money" gesture after a touchdown pass. If he does this any more than occasionally in the NFL, he'll be inviting a backlash from sportsyak radio and "First Take."
Denver: Now with five Super Bowl losses, the Broncos have taken the pressure off the Bills and Vikings (four losses apiece). And when Denver loses a Super Bowl, the Broncs really lose; their defeats are by 45, 35, 32, 19 and 17 points. Perhaps the altitude advantage that assists Denver during the regular season, and at home playoffs games, propels the Broncos to Super Bowls where they don't really belong.
With Peyton Manning, the Broncos have endured two consecutive awesome regular seasons followed by bummer endings. Denver's awesome 2012 regular season led to the team allowing a 70-yard touchdown pass in the final seconds of regulation of a home playoff game, then losing in overtime. Denver's awesome 2013 regular season led to a 43-8 crushing by Seattle in the Super Bowl. Will 2013 be another awesome regular season followed by a letdown?
Manning has thrown interceptions returned for touchdowns in his last two Super Bowl appearances, and teams that give up a pick-six are 0-12 in the ultimate contest. Manning used a bright green football in Broncos minicamps to help ball-security awareness. At least the old dog is willing to try to learn a new trick.
The Broncos' record-setting offense was a stat-a-matic in 2013. Here are leftover amazing stats from that season. What were the highest scoring teams per quarter in 2013? First quarter: Denver, 130 points. Second quarter: Denver, 158 points. Third quarter: Denver, 135 points. Fourth quarter: Denver, 183 points. But after leading the league in scoring in every quarter of the regular season, the Broncos failed to score in three of the four quarters of the Super Bowl.
As Denver's chief executive, former great John Elway is 37-17. As chief executive of the Wizards and Bobcats, former great Michael Jordan is 285-488.