BEREA, Ohio – Johnny Manziel’s NFL career is three plays old.
His next play — or set of plays — could come at anytime. Or, not for weeks.
Manziel remains football’s most famous backup quarterback and decoy, and the Cleveland Browns head into another game Sunday with the option of using Manziel. Nobody with the Browns is saying, obviously, and not even Manziel knew he’d get in last week’s game vs. New Orleans until he was called upon.
"I didn’t know specifcially when it was going to happen but we had been working those plays a little bit throughout the week," Manziel said. "Regardless…they factored into our gameplan. I was on the ready for sure.
"I think I need to do a good job (of being ready) on my own without any external motivation or without any plays or packages or anything to get motivated, keep me on top of my stuff. But definitely when I’m involved, naturally that gives you more of a mental focus and mental edge than if you go in and make yourself practice for it."
Manziel twice handed the ball off and threw one pass after bailing out of the pocket and rolling to his left. His pass hit fullback Ray Agnew in the hands along the sideline but Agnew was hit and didn’t make the catch.
At least a few plays for Manziel, probably out of a shotgun or pistol look, figure to remain a part of the plans for Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan moving forward.
"It’s something that’s always an option," Shanahan said. "It was an option in (the season opener in) Pittsburgh. It was an option vs. New Orleans. You go with your gut feeling. It has a lot to do with the fronts we’re getting. If I think we need to do it, I think it’s something that’s capable of changing defenses a little bit, and it’s not a big difference for the rest of our team."
Manziel was almost exclusively a shotgun quarterback in two record-setting seasons at Texas A&M. He didn’t run much read option in college but the Browns have incorporated the read option into their offense to take advantage of Manziel’s athleticism and give defenses a different look.
"It’s not something that’s out of my comfort zone but it’s not something I did a lot in college," Manziel said of the read option. "I’m very familiar with it now. I feel very good with it."
He’s getting used to life as a backup, too, though he said that hasn’t meant life away from the spotlight.
Hence, 15 questions from the media Friday on three plays last Sunday.
"I don’t think necessarily that I’m going to get a chance to slip between the cracks and really sit back and enjoy it all because you never know (when I’ll play)," Manziel said. "I have to be on the ready at all times. I think it’s very good for me to kind of ease in and learn, week by week and day by day, and take it one week at a time and get better.
"It’s different but (the attention) is still there in different parts of my life whether it’s going out in public or being here.
"Waiting comes with what I’m asked to do for this team, and that’s to be in this position that I’m in right now and that’s what’s best for all parties in this organization. That’s all I need to do is do my job and can’t worry about the rest. I’ve said from the beginning that week by week and every single instance — game, practice, scenario — I keep getting out there, I keep getting a little better and more comfortable every single week."