As Duke Johnson Jr. looked toward the sideline in Thursday's second quarter for the play call from offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, nothing came out on the other end. His headset had malfunctioned.
A season ago as a rookie, Manziel probably would've called a timeout. He would've jogged over to the sideline. He might not have thought anything of it.
But now? Manziel grasps the offense tightly with both fists.
On the play, Manziel sorted through the playbook in the back of mind, called a play himself and executed the first down.
"That was credit to him that he just had the wherewithal to understand 'Hey, play clock's running and I'm not getting it, I gotta call something here.' He went out and executed," coach Mike Pettine said.
"We were having problems there for a few minutes," Manziel said. "Just kind of got us in a good formation and a base play, and got a completion there. That's going to happen sometimes. It's not always perfect. You've got to think on your feet a little bit. I'm glad all of us were on the same page."
On the night, Cleveland's backup quarterback went 7-for-11 for 42 yards and a 12-yard rushing touchdown. By no means did Manziel play a perfect game and his completions went for an average of 3.8 yards – many of them check downs. The Redskins flushed Manziel from the pocket on a few occasions to fluster the 22-year-old.
But while his statistics may not jump off the page, Manziel did what Cleveland asked of him. And he looked much more at ease on the field.
"This isn't my first rodeo like it was last year. It was a little bit of a whirlwind last year," Manziel. "I don't want to forget about the first game against Detroit (last year), but it felt a little slower, I felt a little more comfortable and I did some good things.
"I want to improve and make some more out of those drives. I don't think we were very good on third down. It was the first one and we have got a lot of ground to build on from here. I think it was good."