Manziel knows why he’s the backup
CLEVELAND – In a way, Johnny Manziel showed a sense of relief when addressing the media after being informed that Brian Hoyer had been named the Browns starting quarterback.
Manziel admitted that he didn’t perform well enough to earn the job. He then cautioned critics who wonder if he can make the adjustment from the college game to the NFL.
“If people would have seen me my first year and a half at (Texas) A&M, they would have said there’s no way this kid could get to where I am today,” Manziel said. “People don’t understand that my first year and a half at A&M I was terrible. I would never have gotten to this point if I played the way I did at A&M the first year and a half.
“I just tried to get better. I learned the playbook, got more comfortable around everybody, and then good things happened for me.”
The biggest adjustment for Manziel as a backup might be in dealing with the smaller spotlight that will be on him, on and off the field. He laughed when contemplating a diminished stature on social media websites.
“I’m the backup quarterback. I shouldn’t be in the spotlight,” Manziel said. “Who knows if that will actually be the case, but it would be nice. I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
FIRST CALL: Hoyer never had a chance to make a quick phone call to a family member after being informed of coach Mike Pettine’s decision because he had to go straight to a team meeting.
“By the time that meeting was done I had like 37 text messages,” Hoyer said. “I think the media broke it before I could break it to anyone else.”
OTHER CALLS: The quarterback decision wasn’t the only starting call made by Pettine. Rookie cornerback Justin Gilbert had a strong showing against the Redskins and will likely be the starter while Buster Skrine recovers from thumb surgery. Craig Robertson and Chris Kirksey will share time at inside linebacker, and John Greco will start at right guard ahead of Garrett Gilkey.
“He had a great look about him,” Pettine said of Gilbert. “A lot of rookies have that deer-in-the-headlights look. He didn’t have that at all.”
UNDER THE KNIFE: Defensive end Desmond Bryant had surgery on a wrist injury and will be out for the remainder of the preseason. Pettine said the surgery went well and that putting Bryant on injured reserve was never a consideration.
ADVERSITY ISSUES: Hoyer overcame several obstacles in being named the starter. None was greater than bouncing back from reconstructive knee surgery.
“Did I believe that could happen after I got hurt? There was no doubt in my mind,” Hoyer said. “But obviously there were days when rehab sucked and I hated what I was doing, but I knew the feeling I had running off the field when we beat Cincinnati, and it’s all worth it. It’s amazing how much you appreciate the game when it’s taken away from you.”
INJURY REPORT: Receiver Nate Burleson, defensive back Isaiah Trufant, defensive back Pierre Desir, defensive back T.J. Heath and defensive back K’Waun Williams worked out on stationary bikes. Bryant and Skrine didn’t participate in practice.
Receiver Travis Benjamin (ribs) was on the field.
FAMILIAR FACE: Former Browns fullback/tight end Brad Smelley is listed deep on the Rams’ depth chart at tight end. Smelley was a seventh-round draft pick in 2012. He appeared in two games with the Browns.