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Dan Reeves: ‘College Football Has Gotten So Exciting To Watch’

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Cleveland Browns draft picks Justin Gilbert (L) and Johnny Manziel (R) (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Cleveland Browns draft picks Justin Gilbert (L) and Johnny Manziel (R) (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

It’s hard to believe, but Dan Reeves – who won two Super bowls, six NFC championships and three AFC championships – turned 70 this past January. He recently had hip-replacement surgery and will celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary next month. These days, he spends a lot of time not in dark film rooms, but at a lake house with his grandchildren.

“Life is good,” Reeves said on The MoJo Show.

Indeed it is. But if you think Reeves has stopped following football, you had better think again. He follows the NFL, the college game and the draft – with gusto.

“College football has gotten so exciting to watch,” he said. “It really has. I’ve had a lot of time to look at college football as well as pro football. There are a lot of great players out there, and that’s what you have to do. There are 32 teams out there, and you just got to make sure that you’re doing your job year-in and year-out of evaluating the talent and bringing in some players that are going to help you become better. Because if you look at it, each division is so competitive and so difficult.”

None more so than the NFC West, which had three teams finish with double-digit wins last season, including the Seattle Seahawks, who won the Super Bowl. And the team that finished last in the division, the St. Louis Rams, may have had the best draft in all of football.

“That’s the key,” Reeves said. “You got to be able to compete in your division and make sure the teams in your division don’t do a better job than you do of evaluating talent.”

While he can talk shop about every position, Reeves has coached some of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, including Roger Staubach and John Elway. He also coached Michael Vick.

What do those quarterbacks have in common? They all scrambled in college, and they all scrambled in the pros. The difference, though, is that they learned to anticipate throws in the NFL.

“The reason they scrambled a lot is that they’d wait until the receiver breaks open and (didn’t) anticipate the throw – and (they had) such great arms (that) they (could) do that in college,” Reeves said. “But in the pros, you’ve got to anticipate the throw. That’s something that they all learned to do. It helps them as they get older. They don’t have to run as much.”

That’s something that Johnny Manziel is going to have to learn, especially against the blitz. At Texas A&M, when pressured, he would often just take off and run.

“You can’t do that in pro football,” Reeves said. “You’ve got to know where to go with the ball to get rid of (it). It’s going to take some time for Cleveland to work with him, (but) he does throw the ball extremely well on those short outs.”

But according to Reeves, those are Manziel’s two biggest weaknesses: not anticipating throws, and relying too much on his legs against blitzes.

“Those are the only two things that I saw looking at him on film that I thought (really needed improvement),” Reeves said. “(Luckily), both of those things can very easily (get better).”

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