Manziel 'quietly' goes about his work

BEREA, Ohio -- Quietness and humility have not always been associated with quarterback Johnny Manziel, but that is the exact impression the Cleveland Browns have gotten from their newest signal-caller since they drafted him with the No. 22 overall pick two weeks ago.

According to his coach and teammates, Manziel left behind his "Johnny Football" persona in Texas when he reported for work.

"He's quiet actually," Browns coach Mike Pettine said. "He's a good guy to be around. I think the guys in the locker room will be able to tell you that he's a fun guy in the locker room. But you can tell, when it's time to work, he works and he's very serious about this. You can tell he's very competitive."

Seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas added, "I haven't been in the huddle with him, so I can't say, but he's just doing a good job of being a rookie, coming in, keeping his mouth shut. Rookies are supposed to be seen and not heard. If he follows that, he'll do well here.

"I've just been impressed with the way he's handled his business coming in as a rookie and understanding that he's got a lot of work to do and the things he did in college don't mean anything in the NFL."

Since being drafted, Manziel has gone through the Browns' rookie minicamp and a week of organized team activities with the veterans. During that three-day rookie camp and the three practices with the veterans this past week, Pettine was looking for Manziel to begin understanding what the Browns expect from him.

"You've got to build the foundation first," Pettine said. "I think you want him to learn the offense as it exists, and we know that there will be times when we do get into live situations that he's going to be able to make plays, but that's not something you want.

"We're not going to coach that out of him, but these are basic, basic installs. He's trying to learn formations. He's trying to learn basic plays. I think there will be a time down the road for the stuff that makes him special, the improv stuff."

Because it is tough to evaluate what Manziel can do in shorts and shell padding without going against a defense, Pettine expects him to focus on learning the offense, and playbook, by working with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains.

"It's just tough for him now being in, as we've already referred to it, his infant stages, where he's just trying to learn the book," Pettine said. "It was hard for him even to take reps with the ones, didn't get a ton of reps because they're so much more advanced playbook-wise than where he is.

"He's just coming off a rookie-camp install and just basically a week of meetings with Kyle and Dowell and the rest of the offense. I think it's tough for guys really to shine early when they have a lot on their plate. It's the old 'paralysis through analysis' saying that the guy's got too much to think about. It's hard for him to really go full speed."

One thing Pettine does not want to do is take away Manziel's play-making ability, which made him a Heisman Trophy winner in 2012 and helped Texas A&M to nine wins in the rugged Southeastern Conference last season.

"I don't think we've ever said that we don't want him running around," Pettine said. "We're going to put him in situations where he can execute an offense that'll give us the best chance to win. We're going to take advantage of his mobility.

"You don't take a guy that's made a living being a mobile quarterback and tell him, all of a sudden, that he has to be a statue. When he's in there and we actually have things set for him in a game plan there will be some things that take advantage of what he can do with his feet."


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