Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel says he is not ready to start the opener at Pittsburgh, not yet anyway.
BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has never lacked for confidence, but following Saturday's practice at team headquarters in Berea, he admitted he was not ready to start in the team's regular-season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday, Sept. 7.
At least, not yet anyway.
"I don't think I'm ready for Pittsburgh right now," Manziel said. "I've only played one game, but the more and more you see it, the more you get familiar with it, the better it will be.
"I think there's guys who have played in this league for a long time who can sit there after years and years of playing games and still don't have it all figured out. It's tricky stuff, but at the same time, we're doing stuff on offense to try and throw them off of their guard as well.
"That's not saying I'm not ready or I won't be ready. I don't want that taken out of context. It's just right now in my second preseason game, I'm not ready to go out and start week one because there's a lot of time left until that point."
Manziel did say, however, that with three more weeks of work, including three preseason games, he could be ready to lead the Browns into Pittsburgh, where they will attempt to win just their second regular-season opener since returning to the NFL in 1999.
"For me, there's plenty of weeks left to learn to get adapted to the speed and then, if I was the starter for Pittsburgh in week one, you have to be ready," Manziel said. "It's week one. It's the opening week of the season, and it's a big game."
On Friday, Browns coach Mike Pettine said this coming Tuesday would be "the target date" for selecting the starting quarterback for the regular-season opener, a decision in which he wanted to have in place heading into the third preseason game against the St. Louis Rams at FirstEnergy Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 23.
Although the starting quarterback decision is looming over Manziel -- and veteran Brian Hoyer -- the rookie signal-caller says that has not added any more pressure to him heading into Monday night's preseason game at the Washington Redskins.
"I don't think there's any pressure for me," Manziel said. "I'm still learning. I'm still growing. This is my second game. My expectations aren't through the roof. It's, 'Go out and compete extremely hard and be a leader for those guys,' whatever group I'm with, and we'll see what happens.
"I don't look at it as though I was drafted to come in day one and save the franchise. I think when I got drafted, from the top, from Ray Farmer to everybody that's involved in this organization, they had a plan for me, and they want me to be successful.
"Whenever that is, I feel like my future is here and they brought me in to hopefully be the future down the road one day, so for me, there's no pressure. There's no timetable. It's continue to develop as a football player, get smarter, get better and whenever that time is, then, I'll go out and play football like I've been doing for the past years of my life."
During that preseason game against Washington, Manziel hopes to lead the Browns' offense into the end zone for the first time in the preseason.
"It's a game where I need to go out and move the ball down the field," Manziel said. "I've had another week of practice, a lot of opportunities to get better and get more familiar with the playbook and certain plays, so (I'm) continuing to get better.
"We need to (score touchdowns). We haven't done it yet, so that's what we need to do. That's the goal for every group that's out there, score points."
And scoring points is something Manziel believes will happen as the team continues learning the offense coordinator Kyle Shanahan runs, which, he said has "a lot more structure in the reads" than what he ran at Texas A&M.
"It's not easy," Manziel said. "It's a process, and I've had to get used to the direction of going left and right and a keeper and to another guy coming across, so it's like learning Spanish really for the first few weeks, but now, getting in to it, I'm able to paint a picture of the play in my head and really progress and get better and that's really what Kyle and (quarterbacks) coach (Dowell) Loggains have said from the very beginning.
"'The more and more you do it, the more and more you get comfortable with it, and when you're in the break, keep saying it. Keep saying it. Keep telling it to yourself and you do it enough times, it will stick.'"