Johnny Manziel was the Browns’ leading rusher in his preseason debut on Saturday night in Detroit, with 27 yards on six carries. But Manziel, who also completed seven of 11 passes for 63 yards, says he won’t be running that much every week when the real games start.
“Obviously, that’s not the plan for me to get that many carries every week,” Manziel said. “At the same time, the more and more I get better at progressions, the more and more I get comfortable with the play calls and the scheme and what we’re trying to do and pre-snap looks, the more and more I continue to get better over time. And less and less [running]. Hopefully that will weed out. The times I did take off, I felt I got out of bounds, slid and tried to protect myself the best way I could.”
Manziel made a couple of good plays with his feet, particularly a 16-yard run on third-and-8. But he also got stuffed for no gain when he tried to run on a third-and-1, and although he did pick up a first down on a fourth-and-1 scramble, he made it harder than it needed to be by choosing to run instead of tossing the ball to a wide-open fullback in front of him. Manziel was able to slide and get out of bounds at times, but he also took some hard hits. He didn’t sound overly concerned about that, though.
“It’s a football game. It’s physical,” Manziel said. “It’s part of the game, but I feel really good. I feel great.”
The Browns got two field goals out of three drives with starter Brian Hoyer, and one field goal out of four drives with Manziel. So neither quarterback did a lot to spark the Browns’ offense, and Manziel hasn’t done enough yet to unseat Hoyer as the starter. If Manziel is going to beat out Hoyer, he’s going to have to convince the Browns’ coaching staff that he can make plays with his arm, not his feet.