BEREA— After learning that he was going to be demoted to the bottom of the Browns quarterback depth chart, Johnny Manziel was upset.
“About how you would expect— disappointed,” head coach Mike Pettine said, when asked how Manziel took the news. “He is competitive. He wants to be out there.”
Though he was upset about losing his job, that disappointment didn’t show itself in the Browns facility on Wednesday afternoon— or so the Browns say.
“He came to work this morning and obviously with not the best circumstances and took notes and did everything he was supposed to do,” quarterback Josh McCown said. “Given everything that has happened, it was the right response and I just appreciate that from him.”
Receiver Brian Hartline too saw a focused Manziel on the practice field on Wednesday.
“Johnny had a great practice today,” Hartline said. “He’s not going to let it slow him down,”
As Hartline mentioned, there was a thought that Manziel could be so disappointed with the decision that he’d lose the focus and motivation he’d brought with him to the building all season long.
Having not seen that approach out of Manziel on Wednesday gives the Browns' veterans hope that this move is just a minor misstep amidst a great career for a quarterback.
“Sometimes, you gotta take one step backwards to go four or five steps forward,” Hartline said. “That can be the case.”
Thomas too views this as a small moment in reverse on the road for Manziel, rather than a complete and utter stop.
“It's not like we're ready to shut the door on Johnny. It's a step back on him,” Thomas said. “Hopefully, it will be a good learning experience and he'll come back better than ever from it.”
Pettine was the first to call Manziel’s demotion a speed bump rather than a stop sign, and said he’ll be more thrilled than anybody when the quarterback finally gets over the hill and onto the smooth road that he believes lies ahead.
“There is nobody that is going to be more proud when he does turn the corner and he is a success,” Pettine said. “I don’t think anyone will be more proud than I am.”
After he addressed his future pride in the quarterback, Pettine likened the relationship between he and Manziel to that of a parent and a child when it came to this specific form of punishment.
“There is no personal rift between he and I,” Pettine said. “Sometimes, when you are a parent, you know that the concept of tough love is usually the best.”
Though Pettine may ultimately hope that Manziel will turn it around, he knows too that it won’t be easy for the quarterback to regain the responsibility he lost over just a single weekend.
“It will be a process. There is no magical solution to that,” Pettine said. “We tell our players, ‘You lose trust in buckets and you regain it in drops.’ I think that certainly applies here.”
For all of your Browns news and updates from Berea, follow Hayden Grove on Twitter: @H_Grove.