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Johnny Manziel press conference - 9/16

QB Duke Johnson Jr.:

On the prospect of facing off against Titans QB Marcus Mariota:

"Obviously a guy I know a little bit, going back to be recruited to Oregon at the same time. He did a heck of a job last week. It will be cool."

On how he feels physically:


On if he has to find a balance between sliding and taking big hits trying to run for extra yards:

"In that situation with (QB) Josh (McCown) being down the next guy to come in (at quarterback) is a receiver, so obviously you have to. There is a fine line as you can see with Josh and I think that it is hard to toe the line of trying to get every ounce of it and trying to give yourself up when you feel like you can get more at times. Definitely something that didn't feel great, so try to stay away from that as much as possible."

On if he is more comfortable this year than last:

"A lot more. A lot more comfortable. Even as the game went on --- I think I started off a little nervous and shaky. As I made that pass to Trav (WR Travis Benjamin) and he goes and takes it into the end zone and as you continue to see some of the pressures, continue to see some of the things we saw throughout the week the game slowed down a little bit. The key thing there is having the guys we have up front and being able to rely on them and know that they have my back and know that they are going to work overtime with a guy that hasn't been in there a ton. I give those guys a lot of credit."

On how practice went today with the first-team offense:

"It was smooth. I think we had a good day. Obviously, Wednesday practice we were getting all of our stuff installed and looking ahead to Sunday. I think (that there wasn't any) communication problems. Really good gameplan for this week."

On how his elbow is feeling:

"Really good. It feels good."

On if he was on a 'pitch count' today:

"I think they are still monitoring me a little bit just to make sure that we don't push it into any excess or anything like that. I got every single throw that I needed to with the people that I needed to. I think they have done a really good job of handling it. There is no point in going out there and throwing any meaningless balls or anything that could potentially push it over the edge. My elbow feels really good."

On what it does to him mentally when he makes a positive play, but the play is called back due to a penalty:

"I think a couple times those were third downs. I think a couple times throughout that game we were 8-16 on third downs. To have a couple more of those wiped away I think we had a really good percentage there and something to build on. It is obviously a little bit frustrating, but at the same time I know those guys are trying to hold those big men up front and keep them away from me for even a split second to let me escape. I know they are working really hard and they are not holding guys on purpose or anything like that. It is tough, but at the same time we will clean it up and moving forward we won't have anything like that happen."

On how he works on securing the ball when he is under pressure:

"I can't be careless with it. The (first fumble) I stepped up and we were in third and forever. Get it out of your hands. Not looking like we are going to get a first down there anyway. Play for the punt a little bit. (The second fumble) it is hard to get a backside end that just rushes around to even feel that. That is tough, but at the same time get it out of my hands and move on and we won't have anything like that happen."

On if he is bracing himself to learn that McCown could possibly start even after he took all the first-team reps with the offense this week:

"That is part of it."

On if McCown was out at practice helping him at all today:

"I think he was out there midway towards the end of practice, but Josh is always helpful. That is not just today, that is every day."

On if he sees any resemblance to the Steelers defense in the Titans' defense because former Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is the defensive coordinator in Tennessee:

"Sure, looking at the film you see a lot of the blueprint of what the Steelers have run over the years. I think that is pretty much what you would expect with him going there and having those roots that he had in Pittsburgh."

On what he wants to show if he starts Sunday:

"Just improvement. I want to go out and get a win. That is the biggest thing – two disappointing starts last year that we didn't get the win. That is what we are going for every week. This game, this next game, is the most important for us. I know the rest of the guys in this locker room are going to play hard so I want to go out and play my part, turnover free. I feel with our defense and keeping the ball in our hands and not giving it to the other team gives a really good chance to win. At the end of day that is what we want to do and I don't expect anything less than that."

On thinking more critically when calling plays:

"I think throughout the game when things did break down there was time to be instinctive. I think some of those plays did go really well. Other times when I try to be instinctive and it's just not there, the plays over, move on to the next. Cover the ball, make sure it remains our ball whether we have to punt or whatever the case may be. Just know our defense has a really good chance of going out every drive and really putting it to the other team. As far as keeping the instincts but being smart while you're doing it, knowing the situation really well and protecting the ball, that's what it comes down to."

On spread offense becoming more common in the NFL:

"No, I don't think so. I think the NFL is a stubborn league. I think they've done what they've done from the beginning of time. I think they've evolved a little bit. I do think it's changed obviously with guys coming in like that for the most part, staples of the West Coast (offense) and staples of offenses that have been in the NFL are always going to be here. That's just my opinion."

On what he will do differently if he starts on Sunday:

"A big thing for us last week obviously is we need to run the ball a little bit better. We need to get our running backs a little more engrained and a little more downhill and really get some positive gains. That will put us in better situations where it's not a third and nine trying to scramble for the first down. It's a third and three and you only have to take off for five yards. It's not long runs down the field trying to make something happen. Keeping ourselves really in third and short with some of those early run downs will help us out there."

On Mariota's performance in his first game:

"I think he did really well. I think that game worked out for Tennessee at the beginning in a couple ways. Obviously them getting out to a touchdown on their first drive then having a pick six in the second. You're up 14 –nothing before you can even blink and then the next time you look up its 28-7 or something like that. Obviously he's doing things well and a lot of things went right there. Hopefully for us moving forward we'll go out 7-0 and put them in a bit of a hole."

On if lack of reps with the ones was the reason for some of his mistakes:

"I think on those, especially the third down (interception) that's got to be outside, regardless, no matter what. Our ball or nobody's. That was really on me. I wouldn't blame it on reps, that's the life of a backup. I need to stay mentally engrained, get the throws that I do and be happy about that. I wouldn't blame it on that but this week I'm making sure none of those balls are left inside, none of those balls are left where anybody else can get it."

On possibly starting the next game, his first since last year, at home:

"Obviously looking forward to getting a chance, if that's the case, being back under the center. Here at home, FirstEnergy (Stadium), that's a great place to play early in the year, I think we'll have a great crowd. I never even question that with the people here in Cleveland. If that is the case, I look forward to going out there and hopefully giving them something to cheer about. We want to put points on the board. We want to be solid all around offensively and make sure we come out there with the end result that everybody in this locker room wants."

On how much he hears his name back in the news again:


On if he has anything to prove:

"I'm just trying to go out and play better football than I have in the past. I've been disappointed in the way I performed, especially ending the season last year. (It) didn't end on a very good note. Was it better on Sunday? Sure, it was better. Did I feel more comfortable? Sure. But did I do some things looking back that I would like to have back? Absolutely. Now moving forward it is don't make those same mistakes again. I need to learn from what I did, see the field and trust what's gotten me to this level, and trust what's gotten me in this locker room. For me, I want to continue to improve, go out and not care- not worry about what anyone else was saying. There was a time when I was talked about every single day, on every station around the entire country. There was days where I was talked about good. There was days I was talked about bad and now it's for me, block all of that out, do what I need to do in this locker room, make sure I'm prepared and go out on Sunday and make sure I do better than I did last week."

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