BEREA, Ohio -- Every time Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel steps onto the field and runs plays with his teammates, the rookie signal-caller settles in and becomes more comfortable with playing at the NFL level.
And that has shown to be the case, as Manziel has completed 24 of 42 attempts for 213 yards and one touchdown, in addition to the 33 yards and one score on eight rushes during the preseason.
"I felt like I threw it with a lot more confidence," Manziel said of his performance in the team's 33-14 lot to the St. Louis Rams last Saturday. "I felt like I took a step forward. That's what I needed to do -- keep getting better, keep growing as a quarterback and play better than I did last week.
"I think I still have a ways to go. At the same time, I feel like I've definitely covered some ground on making up on some things that I didn't do very well during OTAs, and then, coming into August at the very beginning. I think I've honed in on some things and continued to get better, and I still think there's a ways for me to go.
"I'm excited to get into the season and see how the schedule is going to be week to week, how the work schedule is going to be, how the film and everything is going to go and how it is preparing for an opponent in the NFL. I'm pretty excited for that. I think it will be good to get a couple weeks under my belt and see how that goes."
With his increased level of comfort in offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's scheme, Manziel has begun to take a deeper look at his play on the field, and what he can improve on before the start of the regular season.
"I think I could have got a couple balls a little further outside, but when that happens, sometimes you're just a little bit off," Manziel said. "Maybe on a few of those, I could have been a lot more decisive with it, just on a couple throws. I don't think there's really a common pattern throughout those I was a little off on, but just the same thing for me is continue to trust what my eyes are showing me and commit to that and throw it.
"The windows, and the gaps, and the holes close a lot faster at this level, but I feel like I've done a good job of getting out of bounds, or not really taking too many solid hits to keep myself healthy first and foremost. At the same time, I feel like whenever I did step up, if we go all the way back to Detroit and had a 12 or 14-yard run, whatever it was, I feel like everything has been fine. It's not like it was in college. Obviously, you can't do the same things, but I feel like everybody knew that, and I knew that going into all this."
By having knowledge that he would have to adapt his game, Manziel took "a bigger picture look" at training camp and the preseason, and from that, he formed his expectations for the upcoming season.
"I think that our team has a lot of pieces to have a better year than what we're used to in the past," Manziel said. "Football is a game where a lot of weird things happen. You don't know why things happen. You can't ever plan for what goes on throughout an entire season, but I feel like from the top down, they've done a good job of putting pieces here to help us be competitive.
"That's the one thing I saw last year just casually seeing Browns games is that they were a lot more competitive than they've been in the past couple years before that. I felt like it was good to see that, and at the same time, these things don't happen overnight.
"You have to get the right pieces and the right people in here who really believe in the system, that we have going on and the coaching staff we have here, so we can do something special. I think it takes everybody buying in and continuing to build this into the program we need it to be, and then, slowly but surely. Hopefully, we piece together some good seasons."