INDIANAPOLIS – It is a hypothetical now given that Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly has his quarterback in highly-efficient Nick Foles.
But if Kelly were in the franchise quarterback business, former Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian has a good inkling of what 2014 top tier prospect would enchant him.
“If Chip Kelly didn’t have Nick Foles, would he be interested in Johnny Manziel? I bet he would be,’’ Polian told USA TODAY Sports Saturday morning at the NFL scouting combine.
The Super Bowl-winning architect who drafted Peyton Manning first overall in 1998 with the Colts did inject an interesting caveat in regards to the entertaining, improvisational former Texas A&M quarterback who measured in at 5-11 ¾, 207 pounds Friday, a quarter inch below the ideal 6-foot benchmark.
The six-time former executive of the year does subscribe to the theory that Manziel might be a better fit for a defensive-minded coach rather than say offensive minded Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien, the former New England Patriots offensive assistant who worked with Tom Brady before leaving to coach Penn State from 2002 to 2013.
“Johnny presents a problem for the defense that’s very difficult to deal with,’’ Polian says. “So do I take advantage of that as a defensive-minded head coach as opposed to doing something that’s conventional?’’
“I do think you have to have a capable backup with Johnny,’’ Polian said. “What history tells you with Robert Griffin III, is the more you run the ball, the more injury risk there is.
“It’s not denigrating the kid in any way, it’s just the more they run, the more chance they have for injury.’’
Polian said that beauty will be in the eye of the talent evaluator with Manziel since he is a new-age, out-of-pocket playmaker.
“You have to recognize what his skill set and here’s what he does best and we’re going to find ways to let him do it,’’ Polian said.
Manziel came across as poised and confident during his combine media session before a large throng. And even if he seemed coached up on saying he wants to show he’s more of a pocket passer than evaluators think, Polian has no issue with Johnny Football’s character.
“There’s no problem with Johnny Manziel off the field,’’ he said. “In the building, in terms of coaching, he’s all football. There’s no problem there.’’