Johnny Manziel isn’t the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, but don’t tell the Pittsburgh Steelers that. Despite Brian Hoyer getting most of the snaps under center, Pittsburgh is fully under the assumption that the first round rookie quarterback will eventually see the field in some capacity when the two teams face on Sunday.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and others have already spoken on others and suggested it only makes sense for the Browns to switch things up a bit and get their elusive rookie on the field at some point in week one. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau would be surprised if they didn’t, saying,”I’ll be very surprised if we don’t see him. He was one of the top football players in the nation…It’s not a magic wand he waves out there. He’s creating situations, making plays”.
LeBeau, an aging but crafty defensive coordinator, even said he hoped the Browns wouldn’t use Manziel earlier in the off-season. Some have suggested that was LeBeau being playful and half tempting Cleveland to throw their young rookie to the wolves. Perhaps that’s the reality, too, considering LeBeau has instructed his defenses to carve up rookie passers when he’s game planned against them. In fact, LeBeau owns an impressive 18-2 mark against rookie quarterbacks, so it’s understandable if Manziel doesn’t want to rush onto the field.
It will surely be exciting when/if Manziel hits hits the field, regardless of the manner he’s used. However, the Steelers are a veteran unit with one of the best coordinators of all-time. Odds are anything Manziel and the Browns have up their sleeve – LeBeau is ready for it.