Manziel: Maybe next time a yes

ByJeremy Fowler ESPN logo
Thursday, December 4, 2014

BEREA, Ohio -- Johnny Manziel's goal for the future: Turn a no into a yes.

Manziel understood Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine's decision to start veteran Brian Hoyer over him for Sunday's game against Indianapolis, but Manziel said he hopes he made the coaching call "very difficult" with his relief performance in Buffalo.

"[Pettine]'s answer is no," said Manziel, who completed 5 of 8 passes for 63 yards Sunday, about whether he's ready to be an NFL starter. "Hopefully moving forward, whatever transpires, maybe next time it will be a yes."

Many Browns players favored keeping Hoyer, left tackle Joe Thomas said, because he gives Cleveland the best chance to win. Hoyer is 7-5 in 12 starts this season. The Browns face a meaningful December schedule with playoff implications. The Hoyer vote was not unanimous; one Browns player told he was "all for" Manziel, in part because of his impressive 80-yard drive capped by a 10-yard touchdown run in last week's game.

On Sunday, the Browns could use Manziel as a red zone threat to complement Hoyer. Manziel said he has gotten "a little bit more" practice time this week. If Manziel was getting all the snaps, the implication would be clear to Thomas that 2015 is on the franchise's mind.

"Certainly when you start throwing guys in there trying to see what they can do, the message is, 'We're already playing for next year,'" Thomas said. "'We don't think necessarily that we can get to the playoffs this year anymore.'"

Manziel agrees that rookies learn by making mistakes, which speaks to Thomas' point. Manziel said he trusts Pettine's decision-making, but as he feels he is improving every week, he plans to build on that momentum.

"I want to show even through practice, even after this, that my mood hasn't changed," Manziel said. "I'm not taking this lightly. All this is going to do is motivate me to come in here to work every day, come to practice, continue to try and elevate my game to where next time in a situation like this maybe there's no doubt."

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