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Johnny Manziel ready to move forward, build off offseason progress

Johnny Manziel left his rookie season and everything else that came with it behind him the moment he reported for the Browns' offseason workout program.

And even as he revisited some of the harder times of 2014 after Wednesday's practice, the second-year quarterback turned every one of his answers in the direction of the present or future.

"I'm eager to talk about the 2015 Cleveland Browns, what we have this year and what we have in this locker room moving forward and goals of what we want to do this season, That's really my focus," Manziel said. "Everything else, I'm trying to really close a chapter on my life and move forward and really continue to build on the things I've done throughout the offseason."

Since he returned to Berea from his stay in a treatment facility, Manziel has made an effort to keep a low profile off the field while bettering his stance on it. One of the main reasons why he's been able to accomplish that stems from all the extra hours he's spent inside the team's facility.

"If there's something that irritates me and leaves me a little sour after practice, I stay in here and figure out to where that doesn't happen again," Manziel said. "That's the biggest thing, not making the same mistake twice from a different look."

It hasn't been perfect, of course. That was expected, and Manziel's embraced it.

Manziel, dating back to his first year at Texas A&M, is working under his fifth offensive coordinator in as many seasons. The experience he gained in 2014, though, has been vital, making the transition from Kyle Shanahan's offense to DeFilippo's set-up nowhere near as daunting as his transition from college to the pros was last year.

"We're in a stage as a team, as an offense, where we have a new coaching staff coming in and we're eager to get these plays, get familiar with everything, get comfortable and really come out of this OTA session with a good base under us to where we can move it into training camp and toy with some things here and there," Manziel said. "Obviously, it's new. That's part of the game and that's part of how this league is. Come in and come out. Now you just have to adapt and try to get better."

Manziel, by nature, is a perfectionist, whether it's on the football field or the golf course. His frustration, at times, has been apparent during the trickier moments of installation. Going against a defense that is installing graduate-level concepts hasn't made it any easier.

Even if it came after a busted play, Browns coach Mike Pettine has liked seeing that fire in Manziel.

"Even when he makes a good play, he's sometimes talking under his breathe like he wants it to be perfect," Pettine said. "To me, that's an encouraging thing. If you're hardest on yourself, then I think you've got a chance to be successful. I know there are a bunch of plays that all the quarterbacks – whether it was a wrong route or they miss a throw or whatever it is – these guys are perfectionists, and they want it done right."

Pettine said he's "absolutely" seen strides from Manziel throughout the offseason workout program, particularly with the "little things" that come with being an NFL quarterback. Manziel's fast friendship with McCown has only helped elevate that area of his game, as the two Texans, separated by more than a decade in age, have bonded over their Lone Star State ties while working together learning a new offensive system.

After Manziel completed a 20-yard dart to running back Duke Johnson during an 11-on-11 drill Wednesday, McCown was the first to scream words of encouragement and slap him on the back.

"He's been able to help me with coverages, protections," Manziel said. "He's been through this quite a few times, new offense, new system. I think he's really helped me a lot and I think he's been great for not only me, but Thad (Lewis) being in there as well and Connor (Shaw), too."

There's competition at every position, and quarterback is no different, but Manziel's situation differs significantly from last year. McCown has been the Browns' first-team quarterback throughout the offseason workout program and will enter as such when Cleveland opens training camp in late July. Manziel has been with the second-team offense.

Though that presumably eases the pressure off him, Manziel's goals, even after a disappointing rookie season, remain crystal clear.

"I think I'm doing the right things and taking the right steps necessary for me to put myself in the best position possible to be exactly what this organization drafted me to be," Manziel said. "I'm not giving up on the fact they brought me in here as a first-round pick and want to see something out of me. That's not lost on me or the people in the locker room, either."

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