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Mike Pettine says Browns not committed to Johnny Manziel package, but it may be used down the road

By Nate Ulrich Published: August 22, 2014

Browns coach Mike Pettine is not ruling out the possibility of eventually working backup rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel into games by using a special package of plays designed for him.

Last month, Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan also left the door open for such a scenario.

During an interview Friday morning with SiriusXM NFL Radio, Pettine was asked how he would keep Manziel ready to play despite sitting behind Brian Hoyer, whom the Browns named their starting quarterback over Johnny Football on Wednesday.

"I just think in the NFL, you do yourself a disservice if you don't have two quarterbacks ready," Pettine said. "People have asked me about potentially a two-quarterback system and having a package for [Manziel]. That is on the table. I don't know if that's anything that we want to commit to just now 'cause I think Brian because of the competition is a little bit behind with the chemistry and continuity in working with the first group. I think that's something that we could potentially look at down the road. But it's been a long time in Cleveland since two quarterbacks, for whatever reason, haven't had to play during the season."

The last time it happened was in 2001, when Tim Couch played all 16 regular-season games. So, yes, backups are vital in Cleveland.

"We feel that [Manziel] had a good offseason for us, a good training camp and that it was a tough decision [to name Hoyer the starter]," Pettine said. "We didn't really see [Manziel] as truly behind. But Brian had that slight edge. So we're confident if we do have to put Johnny in the game, he'll play well."

On Wednesday, Pettine basically ruled out using a package designed for Manziel early in the season.

"This is Brian’s job and I never think of it as a leash or we want a guy to be a game manager," Pettine said. "We want him to be confident and go out and play.

"I don’t foresee us now, especially early, being in a two-quarterback system."

Shanahan was asked July 31 if he would employ a Manziel package for the regular-season opener Sept. 7 at Pittsburgh if the rookie weren't the starter.

"I would do it if it looked like the right thing to do,'' Shanahan said. "That has to do all about studying Pittsburgh, what their schemes are, whether we think some things look good versus them that maybe Johnny could do that Brian couldn't, what the rest of our team's doing. I have no problem with that.

"I think that does present some issues [for the defense], but I don't like to ever do something just to do it. There's got to be a reason for it and we think something looks good and it can help our team move the chains and it can be successful, then I would never hesitate to do it."

Of course, it wouldn't make sense for the Browns to notify the world exactly when they plan to unleash a Manziel package because if they ever do it, they'll obviously hope to catch their opponent off guard.

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