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Johnny Manziel press conference - 11/17

On what is new in his life:

"I think you guys are pretty aware of that."

On how he feels about the decision to be named the starting QB:

"It is a great opportunity for me. I was caught off guard. I was watching film this morning and (Head) Coach (Mike) Pett(ine) came in and grabbed me. I am very excited. I think it is a great opportunity for me. I am looking forward to coming out and trying to continue to add a little bit of a spark. More than anything we need to get some wins. That is what I told Coach Pett when I was in there with him. No matter what happens, whatever you think, if this may be for next year or whatever the case is, we are going to win some of these games down the road."

On if he has earned the trust of his teammates:

"You talk to all these guys in the locker room too. I get a good sense that they have my back and I have there's. They see a different look in my eye this year. I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned a lot about football this year. I think I got a chance to go out on Sunday to show the next step of my progression and where I want to continue to try to be and be able to play at this level."

On what he needs to show the final six weeks:

"I just need to continue to show progress. Coach Pettine said that was a big step for me last week and to continue to play at a high level and anybody in this position I don't want to be able to take us any games down the road. That is the big thing. Make sure our position is filling up our grade sheet with pluses and doing the right thing and getting these guys rallied around. I think that is the biggest thing over the course of the season."

On if the final six games are an audition for next season:

"I think all that factors in. I am more close-minded right now and taking it one week at a time. Right now, take a couple days off after the practice tomorrow. Get a little bit of rest and get ready to get refueled for the end of the season. From there it is Baltimore to the next game to the next game, one at a time."

On what he plans to do on his time off during the bye:


On where he will go during the bye:

"I don't know what my plans are going to be yet. I talked to Coach Pett and he wanted to reiterate and say, 'Hey this is the time where everyone in the locker room is going to get a chance to go shut it down for a couple days.' I definitely will be back earlier than some people. I will be back at some point over the week and if I do decide to leave get a chance to go see some family or just get a chance to really shut it down. That is what this week is for. Then come back in on Sunday and Monday and be ready to go."

On how much QB Josh McCown has helped him get to this point:

"Josh has helped a lot. You saw Josh on the sideline this past week. He was dialing up plays, giving up ideas and helping Flip (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) with all the input. That whole room in general is the reason why I feel like our quarterback play has exceeded what people thought at the beginning of the year. From having (quarterbacks coach) Kevin O'Connell come in and be in that room every day. To have an (QB) Austin Davis come in and then Josh – I have learned an incredible amount and a lot of the success I have had in these games is because of that room in itself."

On the importance to show he can be trusted off the field now that he is the starting QB:

"Coach Pettine came in and said he didn't want to micro-manage me or any of the other guys on our time off, but at the same time I let him know that I am not going to do anything that is going to be a distraction to this team or be an embarrassment to the organization. That was the thing he stressed to me as well. He stressed that back. I am going to get a chance to go and relax like everyone else in this locker room is. I think it is a point in the season where it is a bye and it is well deserved. We can come back and gear up for these last set of games that we have. Come in fresh-minded, ready to go and excited to be back on the football field. I don't think you have to worry about me this week."

On if he will be more scrutinized now that he is the starting QB:

"It has been pretty constant fire since the day I got here. I am sure it will be amped up a little bit. Off the field, I am not really worried about anything. I am in a good place and I am going to continue to try and relax. That is what a couple of these days are for. Not all five. I definitely won't take all five, but two or three days and get a chance to shut it down."

On if there have been any instances this season where he was down on himself and McCown helped pick his spirits back up:

"I think that is the thing in our room. We stay pretty even keel. We let Flip do the up and down a little bit. We stay right on the midline. I was probably a little bit down after Cinciannti, but I think we did some good things in the first half and we just didn't play two-half football. You can't beat yourself up too much about it. All those guys in the room, Josh in particular, have helped make this position what it has been this year."

On if a light went on for him or if it was gradual:

"I think it was gradual. It has been a progression. There have been times throughout the season where protection wise I was like, 'Man, this really makes sense what I didn't understand in the preseason and here is how we handle it.' I didn't have to learn anything like this or know any of these types of protections and schemes. Now, being a second year into it and knowing a little bit more about defenses and fronts it has been a gradual progression to get to where I am at today. It is not even close to where I want to be."

On why he was caught off guard when Pettine told him he was the starter:

"Because he said earlier in the week that he was going to take time throughout the bye, didn't really know. I thought I played well enough to be in the position to be the starter for the rest of the year but I didn't know and I just didn't expect it to be today I guess is what I'm trying to say."

On if he has had to overcome self-doubt to get to this point:

"Obviously last year towards the end of the year. That year didn't go the way that I wanted it to so I was probably down on myself doubting my abilities a little bit then. Coming back to OTA's it was just first day back I wasn't where I wanted to be but it's been a progress getting to where the result was on Sunday. There probably was a little doubt towards the end of last season and then shaking that off, getting my head in the right place and being able to come back."

On if he has any reason to believe there will be no discipline from the NFL:

"Still nothing."

On if the league has given him a timeline on their decision:

"No. I think we heard someone, just as far as after the interview, that it would try to be wrapped up swiftly and I don't think this is swiftly, but I don't know. I don't know anything else new on that front."

On if this situation is hanging over his head:

"No. I'm just able to continue to push forward. Like I said I don't expect anything from it so I'm just plugging forward."

On if becoming starting QB was a goal of his when he came back in April:

"I wanted to start. I wanted to get the chance to be the guy. That was always my goal. Now, obviously with Coach Pett coming out and saying it today it's big news for me. I'm excited, I think, as I should be. This is a great opportunity with a great group of guys that are going to go out and fight with me every week. I couldn't be more excited."

On what he liked from his performance against Pittsburgh:

"I think I cleaned up the area in the pocket and I think what we talked about from Cincinnati to this week was knowing when to get out and when to run. I think the second drive of the game was a perfect example. Got a holding penalty, defensive holding trying to step up and go through one, two in the progression, got a chance to step up and get out of the pocket and throw to (WR) Travis (Benjamin) for a 40, 50-yard gain. Just that fine line of 'Hey when something's not here go and make a play and when it's not go and make a progression and get the ball out of your hand.' I think that was a big improvement for me as far as pocket presence, not getting spooked by a whole lot."

On his first game as full time starter being Monday Night Football:

"Coach Pett said you couldn't ask for a better stage so I guess he said it pretty well."

On Merril Hoge's comments that Manziel has not used the drop back in any of his starts:

"I guess Merrill's like the critic of our offense now (laughter). I think we did some run actions stuff last game and did some play action things. Am I going to be the guy that's going to be straight in the center (doing a) seven-step drop-back pass? We can do that from the gun. It's what I'm comfortable with and what Flip (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) and them want me to do is exactly what I'm doing. What's on the call sheet and what this staff asked me to do is what I'm doing."

On an update on his elbow:

"Really well. I think last week was probably the best I've thrown the ball in a while. I feel like I really had a lot of zip on it and being able to put it all around the yard like I wanted to for the most point. I'm continuing to – as you guys see I'm probably on the injury report every week but that's just me maintaining and maintenance and doing treatment to make sure it doesn't flare up and get to where it was."

On if his role in the locker room will change with his new role on the field:

"I think guys are going to be looking to me probably a little bit more. I'm obviously the starter. I think even through the past couple weeks that I have been. We do our Saturday blitz meeting, me and (C) Alex (Mack) are sitting up there making the calls doing what we need to do. I think these guys know I'm dialed in, I'm focused on this stuff and I'm ready to try and put us in the best position to win on Sundays."

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