Johnny Preseason: Manziel makes his debut

DETROIT — Johnny Manziel’s first professional game action had moments, but was uneventful for the most part.

[+] EnlargeManziel

Tim Fuller/USA TODAY SportsJohnny Manziel finished 7-for-11 for 63 yards with six rushes for 27 yards in his debut for the Browns.

Both Manziel and Brian Hoyer each enjoyed a bit of success, but very little was answered about who will eventually be the Cleveland Browns’ opening day starter.

“We kind of killed ourselves with some things,” Manziel said. “There are definitely a couple reads I would like to take back and a few throws, but for the most part it’s good to get out there and play against someone else.”

Hoyer played the first quarter and half the second and completed 6 of 14 passes for 92 yards with no touchdowns (with a few drops) and two missed third-down overthrows against the Detroit Lions.

Manziel played until the fourth quarter, started slow and gained a rhythm the more he played. He finished 7-for-11 for 63 yards with six rushes for 27 yards.

Neither quarterback could find the end zone as the Lions won 13-12 in a game that has come to be known as the Great Lakes Classic.

Manziel’s first night mirrored his training camp. He started slow, made some plays with his feet and grew more comfortable as the night went on.

His first drive started with a six-yard completion to Anthony Armstrong, but ended in an ugly way as Manziel was stuffed trying to run off a read-option call on third-and-1 from the Pistol formation.

“We kind of hurt ourselves,” Manziel said. “For me, I had a bad read on one third down. We just have to continue to improve when the live bullets are flying. We can’t settle for three, we’ve got to score touchdowns.”

The Lions held the ball much of the first half, leaving Manziel only to kneel to end the frame.

He spent another series in the Pistol, but started to complete throws when he moved under center. One of the rookie’s better throws was to Taylor Gabriel for 18 yards off play-action.

Manziel ran 16 yards for a first down, threw a nice crossing route to Charles Johnson and threw what could have been a third-down conversion to Willie Snead, but it went through the receiver’s hands.

Manziel was very quick in the pocket, and able to elude the rush. He took a couple shots and was briefly checked on the sideline, but kept coming back. The more he played the more comfortable he looked.

But neither Hoyernor Manziel did enough in this game to take firm hold of the starting job. Both seemed to finish the game where they started it.

The biggest question the Browns must now answer is whether they want Manziel to start the second preseason game against Washington, as it would give him an opportunity to play with and against the first units.

You may also like...