It would not be unfair to say Bruce Arians has a quarterback type.
Peyton Manning is 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds. Ben Roethlisberger is is 6-foot-5 and 241 pounds. Andrew Luck stands in at 6-foot-4 and 239 pounds, while Carson Palmer is listed at 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds.
Arians likes them big, tall and strong-armed.
Everything Johnny Manziel is not.
The former Heisman Trophy winner measured in at 5-foot-11 3/4 and 207 pounds Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, and would not appear to be a good fit for Arians’ offense.
At the very least, the coach has some reservations about a quarterback of that size.
“When you start comparing quarterbacks, and (for) all of us it’s a comparison business when you start doing the draft and everything else, who has been successful with these measurables, what intangibles does he bring,” Arians said from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis Friday. “With those guys, I go back to Doug Flutie, and it took Doug a long time to become a very successful quarterback in the league at that size and that athletic ability.”
Looking at some of the successful short quarterbacks, Arians said Manziel’s style is different from that of Saints QB Drew Brees — who is also a little taller — but added that Seattle’s Russell Wilson, who just won a Super Bowl, is helping to show that short quarterbacks can get the job done.
“I think they are starting to see some guys they can compare him to, but there’s a bunch of 6-5 successful guys who are athletic,” he said. “The 5-11 guys, it has to throw a question mark out there.”
Then again, Manziel may not be your average short quarterback. He passed for 3,706 yards and 26 touchdowns while rushing for 1,410 and another 21 scores as a redshirt freshman in 2012, earning him the Heisman Trophy. The following season, he threw for another 3,732 yards and 33 touchdowns while rushing for 686 and eight scores.
Questions about maturity notwithstanding, it is obvious the quarterback has talent, with the ability to use both his arm and his legs.
Arians has often said he’d rather not see his quarterback run much, which would seem to make a player like Manziel a bad fit for the Cardinals. Granted, with the Cardinals picking 20th and Manziel rated as one of the top quarterbacks in the draft, there’s a strong chance he won’t be there for them anyway.
But wherever he goes — Cardinals or otherwise — the coach thinks it would be unwise to rein the player in.
“He’s very natural at what he does and you don’t want to take a guy’s insticts away because that’s what got him here,” Arians said. “I think the guys like Russell hurt you more when they drop back to pass, and Colin (Kaepernick)…they hurt you when they drop back.
“Now when you design runs for them you’re putting them in harm’s way because the guys chasing them are a lot bigger and faster than the ones chasing them in college. But to take the natural instinct away from drop back passing to scrambling and going, you never want to do that.”