One day after he named Johnny Manziel the Browns' starting quarterback for a second time in the last month, Mike Pettine laid out his reasoning for the decision in simple terms.
"We want to see him play," the Browns coach said. "We want to see him build off the improvements that he made on the field."
Pettine's had numerous conversations with Manziel over the past few weeks, a stretch that saw the second-year quarterback lose his starting job to Josh McCown for the Nov. 30 game against the Ravens and serve as a backup behind Austin Davis this past Sunday against the Bengals. Everything Pettine has seen from Manziel in the wake of his demotion has been "solid" and he saw the second-year quarterback support McCown and Davis during their respective starts.
Asked about his conversation with Manziel to name him the starter, Pettine described it as "full steam ahead."
"To be a starting quarterback in this league, it is so much more than what's done on the field. There's an added responsibility," Pettine said. "There's the responsibility that you have when you're an NFL football player then you add to it when you're an NFL quarterback, that's a big part of it. Earning respect of teammates and trust of coaches is just as important as what you're doing on the field. He understands it. He's working hard and I'll be surprised if he goes out there and he's not dialed in and prepared for this defense.
"He understands it and he knows this is an opportunity for him and we all want him to take full advantage of it."
When Manziel last saw the field, he did just that, albeit in a losing effort.
One game removed from an up and down start at Cincinnati, Manziel threw for a career-best 372 yards and a touchdown in a 30-9 loss to the Steelers. Afterward, he was lauded for his improved pocket presence and handling of the overall offense.
Pettine described it Wednesday as "the graduate-level details." An example includes Manziel's improvement in everything he does before the snap, such as locating the opponent's MIKE linebacker and redirecting him in protection. His ability to process what the defense is showing and what that means for the throw he's about to make is much faster than it was as a rookie, when Manziel experienced some well-documented adversity.
"You don't throw for (372) yards on the road in Pittsburgh by accident," Pettine said. "He went out there and executed the plan, did a lot of good things in the pocket and then when the play broke down, he made some plays out of the pocket. He isn't batting a thousand. He has made mistakes. He has had issues with turning the ball over. That is stuff we are working on.
"We just feel from the overall sense of all the details that are involved in quarterback play that he has covered a lot of distance and the eagerness and desire is there for him to continue to head down that right path."
Asked what Manziel needs to show over the next four weeks in order to establish trust he can be this team's starter beyond 2015, Pettine made it simple once again.
""Do his job. Do his job and understand that it's not just about on the field," Pettine said. "The field is part of it and off the field is another part of it. What does he have to do? It's day-to-day and work … For all of our players, what you strive for is respect of your teammates and trust of your coaches. It's even more so when you're a starting quarterback and we feel he's capable of getting there, but it's a process."