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Browns mum on whether Manziel will play

9/4/2014

The Pittsburgh Steelers expect it.

The Cleveland Browns aren't talking much about it.

But the questions keeps being asked ... over and over and over. Will the Browns give backup quarterback Johnny Manziel a series or a set of plays to run in Sunday's season opener in Pittsburgh?

Kyle Shanahan said he's never done it with a backup quarterback he's had. But he'd consider it. Brian Hoyer's stance throughout preseason has been consistent: If it helps the Browns win, he's all for it.

Were it not Manziel, the questions probably would not come up. Hoyer would be the starter, and the backup would be the backup. But Manziel is also a backup who filed to trademark the name "Johnny Cleveland" so his every move is monitored. And his every possible move is discussed.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau both said they expect and are preparing to see Manziel at some point. In some ways it makes sense; Manziel can do things with his feet that Hoyer cannot, so a down-and-distance or field-position situation might warrant giving him a play or a few.

But don't compare it to the Wildcat that Josh Cribbs ran.

"The Wildcat is a guy who can't play quarterback playing quarterback," offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. "Johnny's a quarterback."

The risk with giving Manziel time is it might disrupt the starter. The benefit is a change of pace might help. The Browns aren't going to reveal their plans.

"We have our game plan set for this game," Pettine said ."And we'll see how it plays out."