Manziel improves with live game reps

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The good news for the Browns is that quarterback Johnny Manziel has shown improvement with live game reps.  The bad news is that he won’t get any more until starter Brian Hoyer gets injured or benched — or unless he’s used in a specialty role.

Perhaps the worst news is that, if the Browns had simply made Manziel the starter from the moment they drafted him, he’d be a lot closer to being ready to be the guy they expect him to be.

After Saturday night’s preseason game against the Rams, coach Mike Pettine acknowledged that Manziel has gotten better with game experience.

“He did, and I just think that just comes with playing,” Pettine told reporters.  “He needs to play, and as I’ve said a bunch of times, there’s no substitute for live game reps at NFL speed.  I think that was good work for him.  That’s why at the end still took the timeout, just wanted to get as many reps as we could get him in the two-minute [offense].  Then, after he got sacked we just went ahead and let [the clock] run out.”

Manziel agreed that he played better on Saturday night.

“I just felt more comfortable,” Manziel said.  “I am just going out and playing ball. I’m just going out, getting better and having fun.”

Since he won’t be playing as the starter (until he is the starter), Manziel seems to welcome the possibility of a two-quarterback system.

“I feel like any way I can help contribute to this team, whether it’s looking at a certain coverage, looking at something during the game, or getting in the game and having a certain package during the game, just anything that I can do to help this offense to win games that’s the position I’m in and that’s all I really want to do,” Manziel said.

A two-quarterback system will help both quarterbacks, in theory, because opposing defenses will have to spend time preparing for each of them.  And perhaps the Browns will be inclined not just to use a sprinkling of Manziel, but to deploy a true two-quarterback system that the NFL hasn’t seen since 2007, when former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt alternated Matt Leinart and Kurt Warner in the same game, until Leinart broke a collarbone.

Seven years ago, Leinart started and Warner entered when the offense needed a spark.  This time around, it could be the younger player periodically giving the offense a kick in the caboose.  And if Manziel does that well enough and keeps improving with live game reps, it’ll simply be a matter of time before he’s in the game form the opening kickoff.

21 responses to “Manziel improves with live game reps

  1. That rushing TD was a signature play, not many can do it quite like that. Just think if they switched reps in that game, then we never would have seen that one transpire and it would have been gone forever and we never would have known it.

  2. Dick LeBeau would have a field day against Manziel week one, and I’m not even a Steelers fan. Johnny simply isn’t ready, and why would it make sense to name him the starter when they drafted him? Do players not need to earn anything anymore?

  3. Honestly it doesn’t matter. If last night was a “dress rehearsal” for the season wer’re screwed.


  4. One problem, the coach is whimpy about not making a decision. He should have on day one said its Hoyer and Manziel is developmental. Why he didn’t. More than likely the owner said, play the kid, were paying him a ton of money and he will sell tickets. Its a money thing more than a football thing.

    Now there it talk of playing both? That never works. It also tells a Hoyer, your not thee guy.

  5. Still, he’s playing with the second team. He should be doing better than that. Makes you wonder how much he’s really trying, or if he even cares.

  6. He did look better, but I still don’t see why the Cleveland announcers gush over this guy. Getting all wound up because of a 2 yard pass and such.

    It was another so-so performance overall, albeit better than his last (admittedly poor) one. It won’t stop certain people from declaring him a bust already, and it won’t stop other certain people from making the performance sound a lot better than it actually was.


    I saw the game and there was NO improvement or difference in his game. It still looks like a little guy running around in sandlot.

  8. …as Johnny Football gets all of the splashy headlines and attention, a star is quietly emerging in Minnesota. The true talent of the draft. His name in case you never heard of him is Teddy Bridgewater.Over three preseason games, Bridgewater has completed 26 of 40 passes for 266 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. His exhibition passer rating is 117.3.

  9. They’re BOTH backups at best.

    And Manziel started his scoring “drive” already in the red zone. AND overlooked a wide open receiver AGAIN in order to look like a hero.

  10. Mike Pettine has a lot of work to do.
    After three preseason games the offense is no better than last years, and may be worse without Josh Gordon.
    Shockingly, the defense is far worse than last year. They could not get off the field, even when the 2nd and 3rd stringers were on the field for the Rams.
    Getting a QB ready is just one problem of many. Teaching the defense to tackle is now a bigger problem.

  11. 2 quarterback systems DO NOT WORK. Bill Walsh tried it with Steve Young and Joe Montana all the way back in the 1980s. The problem is that neither player gets enough reps in practice to be comfortable with the game plan. And the team doesn’t have confidence in either one because of the lack of confidence from the coach that one should be the starter.

  12. Don’t think he improved at all last night. His mouth and off field actions are still much bigger than his game.

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