Manziel Questions Single photo

Here’s what Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel had to say to the media today following the Wednesday morning practice.

On improving offensively and the mental component to it:

“Just get out there with a lot less clutter, we’re into a couple of weeks now. It just feels a lot more comfortable. There’s still a long way for me to go, obviously. Like I said a week ago, I felt like if I kept working on this stuff, getting 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. There’s still a lot left for me to go.”


On whether he expected the team playbook to be as much as it is:

“You don’t really have an idea. You can look back and see what (offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) had done in his past at Washington. It’s different once you get in there and you’re actually running it yourself. It’s just different than what it looks like on TV. I knew it would be different than what we ran at (Texas) A&M (University), obviously. That’s no slight to A&M or what they do. I think that they have an excellent offensive system that fit me great. Now, I’m here learning a new system and adapting. I didn’t have much of an idea of how it was going to be when I got here.”


On running plays with the first-string offense this week and the added value:

“I think it’s good for me to get in with guys like (OL) Joe (Thomas) and Alex (Mack) that have had experience and done a lot of great things. To run with the ones is a different pace. It’s a different regime really. Getting comfortable with them is just as important as any other group that’s out there. I think that it’s a great opportunity for me and one that I’m learning a lot from and having fun with.”


On how much he’s looking forward to facing another defense on Saturday:

“It’ll be fun. It’ll be fun to mix it back up. This will be the first game setting since my last college bowl game so it’ll be nice to get back on the field and play a game. Everybody’s happy when the season rolls back around, and you’re on the field actually having a live game going on.”


On if there will become a point where he feels the competition is him against QB Brian Hoyer, rather than the playbook:

“It’s hard for me to say because I’m not looking at it that way. Really, I just need to keep learning the playbook, and then hopefully, in due time, I’ll be able to be comfortable with a lot broader region of the playbook instead of the little area that I am now. It’s steadily growing every day. What I need to continue to do is expand my knowledge of the playbook and expand my knowledge of this game.”


On whether he would’ve done anything differently in studying the playbook since the day he was drafted:

“No because it’s a lot different than just sitting there [and studying]. I sat there during the break and went over my playbook and went over formations, but it’s a lot different when you’re out on the field executing it and certain releases of guys or certain things that happen on the field that aren’t the same as looking at it on an iPad. No, there’s nothing that I wish that I would have done differently. Even with my preparation before I got drafted, trying to learn to be more knowledgeable of coverages or fronts or whatever it was, I’ve still been trying to grow as a football player throughout this whole time. There’s really nothing that I would have changed.”


On close he is to feeling comfortable enough to ‘just go play’:

“I’m comfortable enough to go out. We’re doing a lot of unscripted stuff today where it’s just kind of free range or whatever you want to call it. I kind of get in those settings and don’t know what to expect, but at the same time, that makes me better, going out and not having it all scripted. While that’s good and I can look over it and all, it’s good to go out and have some off-the-cuff play calls, some different situations that put us into different scenarios. I think it’s good the more and more that we do that. It’s better for me. There are times where I have to take a step back and get the play in again or kind of think about it through my head a little bit, but I think that’s part of being a rookie and part of going through this process.”


On if he ever questions the need for long verbiage for describing a play, including plays with as many as 18 words:

“(Laughter) I know that we sit in the quarterback room and we kind of joke about some of the play calls being a little longer, but sometimes you just have to sit back and digest it all, and it can take time off of the play clock; but the thing that I have learned is that once you do that in the second week after you’ve done it in the opening day or the second day, once you do it again and again and again then you’re like ‘boom,’ you hear one thing and it kind of all flows together, which is nicer. Like I said, the more time I’m in this, the more time I take going through this stuff, the better it is for me.”


On not relying solely on his athletic ability in comparison to his college playing days:

“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’s 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 down field. I was able to get the ball to a receiver in the end zone. There’s times when 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. At the same time, being smart, not turning the ball over and staying healthy are all of the things that you have to do to continue to play.”


On how comfortable would he be at this point, knowing there’s a way to go, if he won the starting QB position and started Week 1:

“I have a long way to go. I have a lot to learn, a lot more to get comfortable with and I feel that I’m getting better. I definitely feel my comfort level on the field growing day-by-day. I think these coaches and the players that are around us are helping me get better, which I’m very, very thankful for. Really, right now, I’m not looking that far down the road. I’m just trying to keep it one day at a time this week, get better this day and as the weeks continue to unfold, hopefully, we have the better result by the end training camp.”


On his high football acumen and learning super quickly, as other Browns personnel has noted:

“I wouldn’t say super quickly. I’m picking things up at a quick pace but I wouldn’t say overly more than anybody else. Some older terminology from when I was there with (former Texas A&M Head) Coach (Mike) Sherman which has painted a picture in my head since I was a red-shirt freshman at A&M and there’s some stuff that’s new to me. But as I said, I just continue to get more comfortable with it and learn it.”


On pumping his fist on a handoff to RB Terrence West and his conversation with Shanahan following the final incompletion of practice:

“That irked me. That was more on me because as I stepped out, I kind of felt that he had him boxed out in the end zone. I kind of tried to force the issue a little bit. When we’re going for those orange jerseys, obviously, it’s extremely competitive and the defense has gotten the better of us the past week. When it’s on my shoulders and it’s on my unit that’s out on the field, I want to get that done. As I was going to let that ball go, I caught a flash in the back of the end zone and could’ve got that ball to him. That was more me going up to Kyle saying, ‘I messed that up. I missed that.’ I definitely want to go back in and look at that. I wasn’t late on it; we kind of had them boxed out in the end zone. I tried to force it in. It would’ve been a tough catch and throw, but the one in the back of the end zone was definitely easier. That’s another concept for me that I’ve ran three or four times, and now the next time that comes up, you learn from that, you suck that guy in and you throw it over in the back of the end zone and you score a touchdown, and you get the orange jerseys.”


On his ability to change arm angles in his throws and if it’s a trait he’s always had:

“It’s get the ball to the receivers at all costs and get the completion. You don’t want to have to get it around a defender, throw it side arm and leave it out too wide or throw it behind him and something bad happens. I think that playing baseball over the years and playing in some of those catch-it, get-the-ball-out-of-your-hands quick offenses allowed me to get better at throwing at some different angles.”


On if the Family Day scrimmage in Akron helped him gauge his progress:

“The first drive of the scrimmage is something that I’m still kind of mad at myself about just because I got a little clutter and there was a lot going on. As that day went on, I felt like we moved the ball better. Really throughout this week coming back on Monday and these past couple of days, I felt like I’ve had less clutter in the huddle, in my mind and been able to get the plays out and try and get everybody lined up and on the same page. More than anything, like I keep saying – I know that you guys are getting tired of hearing it – it’s a process.”


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