Manziel finds comfort level with offense

BEREA, Ohio -- Now in his second week of a professional football training camp, Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel is starting to find a comfort level with the playbook, and that is resulting in him making plays.

Much like he did at Texas A&M, Manziel has displayed a penchant for extending plays with his feet and throwing accurate passes to wide receivers despite being out of the pocket and on the run.

"We're in a couple weeks now, and it feels a lot more comfortable for me," Manziel said. "There's still a long ways to go for me, obviously, and like I said a week ago, I felt like if I kept working on this stuff, got more and more familiar with a certain play call, a certain formation, a certain concept, then, in due time, I would get better at certain concepts, and there's still a lot more for me to go.

"I think that's still a process of being able to control that and make it a positive thing going forward, instead of a thing that is considered somewhat wild. I think today, in the end zone, I threw a touchdown stepping up, acting like I'm going to take off, keeping my eyes downfield and being able to get the ball to a receiver in the end zone.

"There are times where you have to get out and sometimes, the defense wins. Sometimes, they play the right coverage to our scheme and you have to make something happen when there's nothing there, but at the same time, being smart, not turning the ball over and staying healthy are all the things you have to do to continue to play."

After watching nine practices and one scrimmage, both in person and again on video, first-year Browns coach Mike Pettine has seen steady progress from Manziel, which includes him making quicker reads and throwing the ball to its intended targets on time.

"That comes with it," Pettine said. "That's also understanding the play, and then, who he's reading. Am I reading the weak safety? Am I reading the strong safety? Where am I looking to go with this ball? I think that's true of any rookie quarterback that most of the time, you're going to see they're much slower. They have to anticipate. Where you see where (Brian) Hoyer's ahead is his ability to throw a ball before a guy breaks open, but we certainly see Johnny making strides in that direction.

"He understands football, but when you switch offenses and you're going from just a completely different system, it's just like learning a foreign language. You know it in your own terms, but then, you have to find out, 'Okay, how do I translate? What I know was this is now this.' That's just part of the learning curve for everybody, especially rookie quarterbacks."

While veteran Brian Hoyer was named the starting quarterback for the Browns' preseason opener at the Detroit Lions this Saturday night, Manziel got an opportunity to play with the first-team offense during the early portion of the week.

Pettine said it remains a "possibility" Manziel could see first-team snaps against the Lions.

"I think it's good for me to get in with guys like Joe (Thomas) and like Alex (Mack) that have had experience and done a lot of great things and to run with the ones is a different pace, a different regime really, so getting comfortable is just as important as any group that's out there," Manziel said. "I think it's a great opportunity for me and one where I'm learning a lot from and having fun with.

"I think it will be fun (Saturday), and fun to mix it back up. It will be the first game setting since the last college bowl game, so it will be nice to get back on the field and play a game. Everybody is happy when the season rolls back around and you're out on the field having a live game going on."


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