For those who didn't drop in on this series last year, we're going to use this space to highlight the top Aggie performers each NFL weekend. Because while The Shield can't touch college football in passion, game environment, and the overall fan experience... they do employ quite a few of our former players.
Let's get to it.
5) Josh Lambo (2/2 FG; 3/4 XP; 4 touchbacks)
Josh Lambo had a solid debut in the Chargers' Week 1 victory, falling one "oddly long 2015 XP" miss away from a perfect afternoon.
The Chargers moved the ball pretty efficiently on offense, which means Josh should continue to see plenty of action.
4) Martellus Bennett (5 receptions; 55 yards; TD)
Bennett had a decent enough stat line, but his touchdown came in garbage time. His 24-yard reception cut the deficit to 31-23 with just 34 seconds remaining in the game.
3) Michael Bennett (4 TFL; 1 sack; 2 offsides calls)
Older brother's day had a bit of everything. He was extremely disruptive and perhaps a bit undisciplined, and the end result was an 0-1 start for the back-to-back NFC Champions.
Kudos to Bennett for showing up, however. Unlike Kam Chancellor, Bennett (who is also unhappy with his contract situation) played through his frustrations on the field.
Good luck, and get paid.
2) Ryan Tannehill (22/34; 226 yards; 1 TD/0 INT; The Greatest Fumble Of All Time)
Tannehill wasn't great, but he was good enough to win a scrappy affair in Washington. And while the locals weren't exactly convinced that great strides had been made, I still maintain that we're going to see a huge leap this year.
But enough about all that. It's fumblin' time.
1) Johnny Manziel (13/24; 182 yards; 1 TD/1 INT; 35 yards rushing; 2 fumbles)
Okay, so those stats aren't perfect. But before we dive in to the full performance, let's appreciate the first NFL touchdown pass of Johnny's career.
Johnny Manziel dropping a DIME against the Jets for a TD https://t.co/Ik5pYKSCuO— Justin Kaspar (@Ranger222) September 13, 2015
Beautiful. He's gone through a lot in the past six months, and it's just great that he had this moment.
Now, a general word on Johnny's life in the NFL: Talking heads constantly wax poetic about the challenges of QB life at the next level. They talk about the increased speed on defense, the increased complexity of the offense, and the overall ruthlessness on the personnel side that can send you home for one bad move. Have these things affected Johnny? Sure. There's no doubt about it. He's rattled by the fact that he's no longer the fastest player on the field, and his fast/loose ball security has bit him repeatedly.
But there's a second part of life as an NFL QB.... the upgrade in WR personnel. Theoretically, the move to the next level should get you a stable of WR's with a more diverse route tree, better awareness when plays break down, and a wider "catch" range that can occasionally bail the Quarterback out.
Johnny isn't getting any of those things.
He's battling the increased difficulties of life in the NFL without the corresponding uptick on the receiving end. He went from Mike Evans (drafted), Malcome Kennedy (practice squad), and Ryan Swope (drafted, retired) to this current Browns crop.
Is that an upgrade? Is it the type of significant upgrade you typically see when you move up to the NFL? I'm not so sure that it is.
Hang in there, Johnny. Protect the ball, buy your guys some stick 'em, and maybe convince the coaches to run an extra scramble drill or two.