BEREA—Mike Pettine spoke candidly about Johnny Manziel, now that Manziel’s season is over.
When asked if he saw Manziel as a distraction and was tired of being asked questions about Manziel, Pettine had an interesting answer.
“I don’t look at it that way,” Pettine said. “It’s one of the challenges of coaching. Every year that I’ve been in the league, there’s drama on every football team. It varies in scope and the amount of it, but I don’t see it that way. I see it as it’s a challenge to us as coaches.
“Here is a guy that has an NFL skillset,” Pettine said. “He’s very talented. If you spend some time with him, he’s a likeable guy. You root for him, but there are problems there. We’ll talk as we’re headed to the offseason about getting addressed to make sure that, I said this before, we want to make sure that all of our players are grounded or in good shape as people first, players second. I don’t think you can be as effective as you can be as a player if things aren’t right off the field and he’s a good example of that.”
When asked if Manziel is the long-term answer at quarterback for the Browns, Pettine hedged on his answer.
“I think he’s shown on the field that he can be, but we always talk in terms of long-term sustained success and that’s what you want to strive for,” Pettine said. “If things aren’t right off the field, that’s very difficult to have that level of consistency, especially when you’re in a position of leadership.”
Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said a good deal of being an NFL quarterback is their lifestyle and he feels Manziel has improved in that capacity.
“It is tremendously important, not only for on the field but I think your teammates need to see you doing the right thing as well,” DeFilippo said. “That is part of the position. It is a lifestyle. I have talked about that a bunch. Playing quarterback in this league is a lifestyle.
“You need to eat, sleep and breathe football,” he said. “We have made strides in that department. I don’t want to say we are there all the way, but I think we could all agree in this room that we have made strides in that department with the young man and he will continue to get better.”
DeFilippo said he feels there is enough tape of Manziel playing to make a full evaluation.
“I think we have seen enough of what Johnny can do,” DeFilippo said. “I think we have seen the good and sometimes the not so good. To me, from where he was from a year ago, I think there was a lot more good than not good. To me, that is progress. I think he has bought in. Like I said, I think he has bought into what Kevin (O’Connell) and I are telling him. We are just going to keep working with him. I think we have seen enough form Johnny.”