1. Johnny Manziel ready to embrace hostile environment in Seattle
Johnny Manziel silenced some of the SEC's largest and rowdiest crowds during his two years as Texas A&M's starting quarterback.
The hush that came over the 101,821 fans at Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium near the end of his first signature victory was fresh on Manziel's mind three years later Wednesday. As he went through his first, on-field practice leading into Sunday's game at Seattle, Manziel struck up a conversation with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo about that very game, wondering how the 12th Man at Seattle's CenturyLink Field would compare to what he experienced as a college star.
One thing was clear a couple of hours later as he stood before a group of reporters in the Browns locker room. Manziel is more than ready to find out.
"This place has a ton of hype and you hear it time and time again that people can't even hear themselves think," Manziel said. "I don't expect it to be anything other than full force when we come in there on Sunday.
"We've known since our schedule came out that when you look at Seattle and you have to go on the road, you know exactly what it's going to be … You're going into their home stadium where you know what it's like, so you might as well embrace it because shying away from it or trying to be scared of it's not going to do you any good."
A win Sunday would be Manziel's first on the road as an NFL starting quarterback. His career-high for passing yards (372) came last month away from FirstEnergy Stadium in Pittsburgh.
"I am confident in the plan we have and the guys that we have out there," Manziel said. "It is going to be loud. It is going to be hostile and they are going to be good. That is just the facts of what this game is going to be. For us, if we come out and don't turn the ball over and execute, I think it will be all right."
2. Injury update
The three Browns players in NFL concussion protocol -- DB Justin Gilbert, WR Andrew Hawkins and RB Glenn Winston -- did not practice Wednesday.
Left tackle Joe Thomas had his customary day off from practice Wednesday but was listed on the injury report with a knee injury. Browns coach Mike Pettine said he doesn't think that ailment will be enough to snap Thomas' league-best streak of 8,763 consecutive snaps played.
"We just might have to give him a second day (of rest). This is more precautionary," Pettine said. "There is nothing that we are looking at now that we say, 'Wow, it is going to be a struggle for him to play.'"
3. Faith in Winston
Winston's first career NFL carry ended with a fumble Sunday and, shortly thereafter, he sustained a concussion during a kickoff.
It was a rough debut for the young running back, but Pettine, who has lauded Winston's promise for more than a year, reaffirmed his belief in him.
"Nobody is as frustrated as he is," Pettine said. "It was his former team, captain for the game, gets a chance to get in there and try to make a play and gets the ball punched out ... It was a tough day, but Glenn is a tough kid and he'll fight back from this.
"Glenn is a guy that's given us good work, works hard in practice. It's just a shame that the one time he was in there, that's what happened."
Asked if Seattle's Russell Wilson is a quarterback he hopes to emulate during his NFL career, Manziel had an easy answer to provide.
"He is a guy that is playing better than or as good as anybody in the entire league right now," Manziel said. "Through the last four games you look at the stats and he has been pretty impressive. He has maintained his consistency for the last couple of years, so my answer would be yes."
Manziel and Wilson are often compared because of their similar height and escapability. Wilson, a third-round pick the year Manziel made his collegiate debut, has been one of the NFL's most productive quarterbacks over the past four seasons, won a Super Bowl and, over the past four weeks, thrown 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Manziel said he hadn't studied Wilson intently, but called him "a guy that is fun to watch."
"You can certainly see the similarities," Pettine said. "They've done a nice job up there kind of building the package around him. He's more of a runner than we see Johnny."
5. Next man up
Count Manziel among those sad to see Brian Hartline sidelined for the remainder of the season.
Manziel targeted Hartline a combined 19 times in his last two starts. Hartline had a season-high eight receptions for 107 yards before he went down with his season-ending collar bone injury Sunday.
The Browns, who waived rookie wide receiver Darius Jennings on Wednesday, expect to have Taylor Gabriel back in the lineup and in a spot to pick up some of Hartline's workload.
"Getting Gabe back helps that a little bit," Manziel said. "Those are the guys that came in since OTAs and who really know our stuff really well. You look at who is consistently going to be where he needs to be on every play and that is Hartline. It is tough to see him go down. I know he had surgery yesterday. I am hoping he is feeling better and I am looking forward to having him back next year."