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Manziel calls preseason debut ‘nothing special, nothing terrible’

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel found “nothing special, nothing terrible” in Thursday night’s preseason debut against the Washington Redskins.

“I thought I was pretty good,” Manziel said after the Browns lost 20-17 to the Redskins in the preseason opener. “Nothing special, nothing terrible. Right there in middle. We’ll go back and look at the film. It’s never as bad, never as good. For the first game, learn and move on.”

Manziel, in his second season, completed 7 of 11 attempts for 42 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions in five series of work after replacing starter Josh McCown. Manziel was sacked once and ran twice for 14 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown. McCown was 5-of-5 with a 2-yard touchdown pass.

“It’s way different (from last year),” Manziel said. “This isn’t my first rodeo like it was last year. It was a little bit of a whirlwind last year. I wanted to forget about the first game against Detroit (last year), but (Thursday night) felt a little slower, I felt a little more comfortable and I did some good things.

“I want to improve and make some more out of those drives. I don’t think we were very good on third down. It was the first one and we have got a lot of ground to build on from here. I think it was good.”

Manziel was limited in Tuesday’s training camp practice in what head coach Mike Pettine said was a “little elbow soreness.”

“It feels fine,” Manziel said of his elbow. “That’s just coach Pettine and Flip (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) giving me a little bit of a day off, a little bit of a break. Throw a lot, got a lot of receivers in there for the first couple weeks of camp. Just a little bit of camp arm, giving me the day off. It feels fine. It’s nothing for me to be worried about or anybody else on the staff. I ice every day after the games, practice, taking care of your body, trying to be a pro.”

Pettine liked what he saw from Manziel’s performance.

“Obviously, he did some good things,” Pettine said. “There was one play where our headsets were down and he very calmly called a play. That was a credit to him that he just had the wherewithal to understand ‘Hey, play clocks running, and I’m not getting it, I’ve got to call something here.’ He went out and executed.

“For the most part just looking at it, he did some good things. The scramble for a touchdown was a nice run. Again, there will be some good coaching moments for him, as well as all our guys on the tape.”

Meanwhile, Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer said the Ray Rice talk is premature after Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said he thinks the running back deserves another shot in the NFL.

Haslam told his football staff that he would be OK with bringing in Rice as long as there is a need.

“I think it is premature to talk about that,” Pettine said after the preseason game. “We are comfortable with where our room is. We just want to get those guys back and see what we have. I know a lot of people have ‘connected the dots’ given his circumstances and ours, but it is too early to talk about it.”

Rice’s last game action came during the 2013 season with the Baltimore Ravens when he rushed for 660 yards on 214 carries in 15 games. The 28-year-old did not play last year after his suspension for striking his then-fiancee and now-wife, Janay, and subsequent release by the Ravens.

“Right now I’d say it’s all premature in my mind,” Farmer said. “We’re interested in seeing what our young guys can do. Focused on them. Giving them the opportunity to demonstrate whether they can or they can’t. I think we’ve got some talented young guys. Ray’s had his career. We kind of know what he is. We think we know. There’s a lot of tape.”


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