Dick LeBeau was wrong about his prediction when camp opened up that Johnny Manziel would be the Cleveland Browns starter in week 1, but it will be a surprise if the Steelers don’t see Manziel on the field for at least a couple packages Sunday afternoon.
Steelers coaches again today came off as thinking very highly of Manziel.
“We’ve got a great deal of respect for Johnny Manziel and his talents,” Mike Tomlin said at his weekly press conference. “They didn’t draft him in the first round to watch. We fully expect them to utilize him in some capacity in this football game.”
Manziel struggled early in the preseason but improved as the preseason went on, notably with his ability to make plays with his legs.
In the preseason Manziel rushed 12 times for 88 yards, with a long gain of 22 and had a 7 yard touchdown run vs the Rams. Manziel completed 30 of 59 passes for 296 yards and two touchdowns. Hoyer and the Browns first team offense scored just one touchdown all preseason.
Tomlin anticipates the Browns running the same type of offense schematically whether Manziel gets in there for a few series or not.
“Obviously Manziel has some unique run skills and capabilities,” Tomlin said. “I think they’re capable of highlighting that within the framework of their offense, and it’s not like Brian Hoyer is immobile. I don’t imagine they’re going to be drastically different with either guy in there.
“I think all of the things they ask Manziel to do Brian Hoyer is fully capable of doing it, and I’m sure they’re going to do it with him as well,” Tomlin said. “I just think when you’ve got a talent like Johnny Manziel, you’re going to get him on the field and help him grow and develop even as you get into the regular season. I don’t think necessarily his presence in the game is going to dictate a difference in schematics.”