Pettine “Excited” to See Manziel

Browns head coach joins fans in eager anticipation of Johnny Football's performance in first start.

BEREA, Ohio—Besides many fans across the country, Mike Pettine admitted that he’s excited to see what Johnny Manziel can do on the football field in a live game.

“I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t excited about seeing him play because I’ve seen it in practice,” Pettine said. “Hopefully it can...then we got a small taste of it in Buffalo. You’d like to see it carry over when we build a game plan around it and how we go out and execute it. It’s just...I don’t think...I know that’s human nature, but I certainly don’t want the team to get caught up in that either.

“That’s what I talked about,” he said. “We want to make sure that everybody is elevating their play and playing well around him to minimize the number of plays that the quarterback position has to make.”

Pettine was asked what the biggest unknown about Manziel is.

“It’s hard to say because I’ve seen him handle it all in practice,” Pettine said. “I think just handling a game against an NFL defense that’s schemed up to defend him. It’s just hard to predict what’s going to happen when the ball gets kicked off. You can only see so much in practice. You can only see so much in a preseason game.

“There’s no substitute for live game reps,” he said. “We don’t know, but again, we want to minimize the times where he has to make plays for us. I think that’s when you get yourself in trouble.”

Pettine admitted the Browns can use these three games with Manziel to be a springboard to the future.

“I think that’s fair to say,” he said. “It’s a positive by-product of doing this. We made the decision because it’s what’s best for the Cleveland Browns this week, but at the same time, a positive result of it is we do get a chance to see him. You can’t hide from the facts. He was a first round draft pick.

“We all know the circumstances with Brian (Hoyer),” he said. “It gives us a chance, one, to win a football game this week - that’s our focus - but at the same time, to get a peek at potentially whether it’s a long-term solution.”

Notebook

Pettine said that Billy Cundiff will remain the Browns kicker…at least for now.

Pettine deferred to GM Ray Farmer regarding any moves regarding the kicker.

“It was discussed, but I have to follow up with Ray, he was out of town, so it’s something we’ll go ahead and look at,” Pettine said. “For now, it’s just like we talk about all of the other players. Billy knows. It’s important to him, but he’s got to pick it up.”

Cundiff has missed at least one field goal in the each of the past five games, including a 40-yard attempt last week in the 25-24 loss to the Colts.

On the season, Cundiff is just 22-of-29 for 75.9 percent accuracy. His longest field goal this season was from 53 yards. He had one field goal attempt blocked and is 28-of-28 on extra points.

Bryant Injured: DL Desmond Bryant (thigh), DB Robert Nelson (hamstring) and DB K’Waun Williams (hamstring) were on the side working with trainers during the open media session.

TE Gary Barnidge (ribs), DB Tashaun Gipson (knee), LB Jabaal Sheard (foot) and OL Joe Thomas (rest) did not practice.

LB Karlos Dansby (knee) and DL John Hughes (knee) were practicing on a limited basis.

Hughes has been on the injured reserve/ designated for return since Oct. 27 with a knee injury. He could play in the final regular season and beyond.

TE Jordan Cameron (shoulder, concussion) wasn’t on the injury report for the first time in close to two months.

OL Nick McDonald and RB Glenn Winston weren’t seen during the open session of practice.


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