Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel demonstrated an ability to make plays out of the pocket Saturday.
AKRON, Ohio -- When Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns' second-team offensive unit took the field during Saturday's Family Day Scrimmage at The University of Akron's InfoCision Stadium, the rookie quarterback consistently found a way to extend plays.
Although neither he nor first-team signal-caller Brian Hoyer led their respective lineup into the end zone for a touchdown during the scrimmage, Manziel was able to extend plays with his feet and create throwing lanes where they did not seem to be.
"It was nice," Manziel said of the ability to run. "Third down, (I) just try to get us into a little better situation. We punted the first time after some miscommunication and then, (offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) I think calls the plays to try to get on the edge and take those second-and-shorts and just try to move the chains. It felt good to run, and I think the plays we executed on those worked really well.
"I thought we moved the ball after the first drive pretty well and then, I was told we had a 16-play drive on the second drive, which is good. We're keeping the chains moving, but the first drive came out a little sloppy. From there, I thought I was proud of my group, proud of the way that the O-line and the receivers and the running backs played. It was nice."
One area Manziel really wants to clean up is getting the play call from the headset in his helmet back to the huddle in quicker fashion than he did Saturday.
"I had a little slip-up, but that's going to happen," Manziel said. "So now, it's just eliminate those and not have one of them moving forward, but getting better with the terminology. I think Kyle's helping me out a lot and some of the play calls, he's also repeating them and helping me get used to it because it is unfamiliar territory for me using a headset and doing things like that.
"We're going quicker, making sure we have the right personnel, making sure we have the right amount of men in the huddle and just running my team, running the guys that are out there on the field with me. That's what I have to continue to get better at."
While Manziel is not yet running with the first team offense, first-year Browns coach Mike Pettine was excited to see him execute the plays that were called for him.
"It's clear to see we had some runs in for him and you could see that's going to be a strength of his and some completions on the run," Pettine said. "That's certainly playing to his skill set. He made a couple nice runs, made some nice throws. Where most quarterbacks would step out of bounds, he got two completions there.
"We talked about this before, even back when we drafted him. I think we will have to pick and choose those times and maybe not as frequently because the defenders at the NFL level, they are faster, better short-area quickness than maybe the guys he went up against in college. (He'll) probably have to learn it as he is going, but he has a knack as a lot of good quarterbacks do, to avoid taking the full-on shot, and I think that is one of the reasons why he has been able to stay healthy."
Following Saturday's scrimmage, Manziel said "practice days have really been helping me a lot," but does not know when, or if, he will get repetitions with the first-team offense in the preseason.
"It's been, 'Get through our installs and try to learn as much of it and comprehend as much of it as we can the first go round,'" Manziel said. "From there, plays will get back in as the practices continue to go on and then, preseason games come along, and I think the coaching staff will do a job of assessing who's going to go with who or how it's going to go down, but for me, right now, I'm fine with how things are going and I'm learning. That's really the only thing I need to be worried about right now."
Following the scrimmage, Pettine provided updates on tight end Jordan Cameron and safety Tashaun Gipson, who was injured during Friday's practice in Berea.
"Jordan Cameron hurt his shoulder. He should be fine," Pettine said. "It was more precautionary than anything else. Gipson did not go today, but we're expecting him back, hopefully by mid-week. It was relatively minor."
Although the quarterbacks were able to move the ball at times, the defense clamped down and kept the offense out of the end zone. In fact, the only touchdowns scored in the scrimmage were on interception returns.
"I thought we competed," Pettine said. "I thought that's the one thing the offense has to learn. We have to convert when we get into the red zone. The field gets tight there. The defense can take some chances, and they did, and that's something we're going to get a lot of work on.
"That's a four-point swing. We can't get in the business of just settling. It's something we'll probably put an added emphasis on and we'll get some more work. We really only had one day, so I didn't expect the red-zone work to be sharp to begin with. We just put it in and installed it yesterday, but other than that, I think we got a good rack of plays to watch, some good coaching moments. I thought our guys competed and still, they took care of each other, and hopefully, we'll be better coming out."
Heavy rains swept through Northeast Ohio on Saturday morning, and when the sun did poke through the clouds, the Browns decided to start the Family Day Scrimmage early. When Pettine learned of another line of storms coming through the area, he cut short the practice, which gave the players additional time to sign autographs for fans.
"I was getting consistently updated, so we started early with the skill, but the team work probably started a little bit early," Pettine said. "I wanted to keep the reps under 80, and I think we were right around that as far as the team work.
"(I) was consistently getting updated that there was a chance of lightning coming in. That cleared and then, there was chance of rain which is still supposed to hit. I was glad we were able to get it all in."