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Johnny Manziel press conference - 12/23


On the Chiefs defense:**
"Another challenge. It's another team that's been on streak of having a lot of takeaways. That's really what they thrive on. They're good in all phases. It's another solid test."

On importance of improved ball security, particularly given the Chiefs takeaway totals:
"It's super important. We were in a position to have a two-score game, a 10-point game last week because we didn't turn the ball over in the first half. The worst situation we want to come out of every drive, worst case, is going to be a punt. It's huge, and I've come a long way since fumbling three times or whatever against the Jets and a couple times versus Tennessee. After those guys, we said we would harp on it and work on it, and I think the results have paid off. A team like this thrives on that. They picked (Broncos QB) Peyton Manning off however many times they did, and that's the greatest quarterback to ever play. This is a defense that thrives on getting takeaways."

On improving awareness of traffic around him this season:
"It's gotten better. I think that was a trait that I had coming out of college was being able to kind of see out of my blind spots out of the side of my eyes and be able to dodge some of those guys. Having just a feel for it, a feel for the pocket has grown throughout the season. It is a big part of it. There are still times where guys are going to get on you quick and you don't always feel it, but for the most part, it has gotten better and developed and grown as the year has gone on."

On Head Coach Mike Pettine's comments that the two of them having a positive relationship and mutual respect, despite being benched:
"Absolutely, he's our head coach. I have a ton of respect for him. Like I said earlier in the year when everything happened, whether I like the situation or not and like the outcome of what happened, I had a part in that, too. I had to take responsibility and own up to that. It was on nobody else but me. It wasn't Coach Pettine's fault that I did what I did. It's just on my end taking responsibility. There are no grudges. There is no hate or anything like that. He's our head coach and our leader, and I definitely have a respect for him. That's not going to change no matter what."

On seeing progress in the Browns offense and if that plays a part in not wanting coaching changes:
"Yeah, to answer my question that was asked on Sunday, I think it's a luxury. I think I got to that eventually, but that's what it is. Having the same system and coming into the offseason and being able to focus on what the defense is doing instead of focusing on what you're trying to do and get guys lined up is a world of difference. Having that familiarity and that continuity would definitely be nice, but that's way, way above my pay grade, for sure."

On how long it takes to master an offense:
"Everyone has a different situation. Some guys pick it up in a couple years, but I know your first year, obviously, you're going to progress as the years go on. I definitely think it takes a couple. I don't have the right answer. I don't think there's a specific formula to it, but I know the more games you play, the more times you go through a walkthrough and having two years of that and an offseason, a year of that and then an offseason, whatever the case is, does make a lot of difference, I would think. I'm not able to sit on the other side and speak about that, but from the guys who have been in that situation, I think you see growth over the years."

On his growth, having to think less and playing naturally in the Browns offense:
"The majority of the mental stuff comes in during the week, during Monday through Saturday. Then, when you get to Sunday, you want to have that comfortability to where you can go out there and you have a good bead on what they're going to run, what guys to key on certain plays and then you can go out and play. If you're sitting there trying to decipher everything and get into the right play every time or the right read every time and don't just trust it, you'll play slow. I think that goes for anybody, whether you're a first-year guy or whether you've been in the league for 12 years. If you try to overthink things and really decipher the code of the defense every single time, you're not going to be playing as fast as you want. Really, the biggest thing about that is the preparation you put in through the week. You should feel very comfortable about the defense, about your scheme, about your plan by the time you go out on Sunday."

On what offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and quarterbacks coach Kevin O'Connell have meant to his development:
"Flip has done a really good job, obviously, being our leader on the offensive side. Kev has brought a really good dynamic to our room. Like I've said multiple times, it's fun come in that room everyday with those guys that are in there. There's never a dull moment, and at the same time, he knows a lot of the ins and outs and really has a good beat on these guys by the time we come in on Tuesday or we come in on Wednesday. He's really on top of everything. I think just the knowledge that we have, having (QB) Josh (McCown), too, who has played these teams or these D-coordinators, just having the collective wisdom that we have in there has been nice. It's definitely helped me elevate my knowledge of the game for sure."

On if it night and day between now and this point in the season last year:
"Yeah, night and day – it's not even close. Just being able to see the field, protections, progressions and everything, it's not even close. I think going out and playing these past couple weeks has shown that a little bit. It's a world of difference throwing for 70 yards in an entire game and like what happened last year against Cincinnati and that whole debacle. Just having a full offseason with the knowledge that I have last year and just knowing how to come in the building and do the right things and prepare, I think that's the biggest thing. Josh being here, (QB) Austin (Davis) being here, when we come in on Tuesdays, we like being here; we like breaking down the film; we like sitting in here and game-planning with each other. I think it's just a collective of everything of being a year wiser, having the room that we have and then finally getting a chance to be out there for a decent amount to have things slow down. It really is nice. Yeah, it's a world of difference."

On if people expected him to be great instantly:
"Maybe. I don't think it works that way. I think it's a process to be really good in this league. The thing about that is there are guys that come out and shine one week and disappear a little bit another. The biggest thing for this position is having consistency, whether it's not turning the ball over, whatever the case may be. Consistency week in and week out is the biggest thing you want to get to. Being a young guy, that doesn't always happen. That's a goal for me is to come out and be consistent."

On Chiefs QB Alex Smith experiencing six years before his first winning season and expecting both QBs to succeed early:
"Yeah, I obviously had a lot of expectations and a lot of hype coming in. That definitely made my situation a little bit different. He obviously being a first-round pick, too, but he did get some patience with the organization that he was with, and I think it's panned out for him because I think he's a good quarterback."

On him facing another challenging defense after the Seahawks game:
"The thing about that is you get asked so much about 'Personally, how do you feel about this?' I feel like a lot of it and some of it has just been all on me. The biggest thing about that is there are 10 other guys that are out there. For me to be successful, we have to play a good game up front. For me to be successful, we have to have a good run game. For me to be successful, we have to have guys be successful in the pass game and me getting it to them. It's a collective. As much as people can come out last game and say, 'He did this. He was impressive, whatever the case. He wasn't good, whatever,' we're a team. There are 10 other guys out there with me. I am just trying to go out and do my part, get these guys in the right play and get the ball where it needs to be in these guys' hands. Obviously, with this stretch – we talked about it a week ago: Seattle, Kansas City and Pittsburgh all fighting for playoff spots and all really solid teams with good defenses -- this is a test collectively for our offense to finish on a good note."

On coaching points of emphasis to improve ball security:
"Just two hands on the ball, for the most part. Stepping up in the pocket instead of always escaping on the outside. Just having a clock in my head, for the most part. I think some of the good guys can tell when that rush is closing in and when you are sitting there taking a couple hitches because in this league if you take two or three hitches, you're getting some really good protection. It's a collective of those things."

On a player of OL Joe Thomas' caliber vocally supporting his play and development:
"That's the leader on our entire team, on our offense. He's been the face of this franchise for nine years now. Nine Pro Bowls later, he's still doing his thing. It definitely means a lot to me. I think Joe is an incredible person, an incredible player. I truly believe that I am night and day from last year. I think those guys see it. Strung some good weeks together, and now, consistency and continuing to do that, I want some better results. As much as that means coming from Joe, me just as much as him and everybody else on this offense, we want to score more points than the other team. That's the goal at the end of the day. We can sit here and take little positives away and take little tidbits from every game and be like, 'Man, we were close. We are so close.' At the end of the day, we are all here to win. That's what it comes down to."

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