Browns Thursday: Kyle Shanahan transcript

Browns Thursday: Kyle Shanahan transcript
On what he's thought about QB Johnny Manziel over the last couple of days:

"He's been locked in. I can tell he's been excited with this opportunity. You could tell right away just him coming in on Monday and Tuesday working and having that sense of urgency and knowing he's going. I think he's improved throughout the week."

On how you adjust a game plan going from an immobile quarterback to one who runs:

"The way our offense is built, it's not as hard as it would seem. No matter who the quarterback is, we use their mobility whether they have it or not. I've had a lot of slow quarterbacks a lot slower than (QB) Brian (Hoyer), and usually we move those guys a lot. Sometimes it's easier when you have slower guys because nobody's worried about it, so they let you run the keepers and stuff. Sometimes when you have fast guys it's a little bit harder because they're worried about it so they're playing it, so we have that stuff built into our offense. You try to give guys what they're good at and give them some confidence going into a game. I know it's something Johnny can do, so we'll see how much we're able to do it."

On if he knows him well enough at this point or if he goes back to his Texas A&M tape sometimes:

"That's something that I did a lot in the offseason. That's something that's been a part of it. Trying to use that exact playbook this week, so I'm getting used to it. We'll see how it goes."

On if he went back and saw any film this week:

"Yeah, I look at it here and there, try to revisit some plays and stuff."

On the things about Manziel that he liked in the first place:

"I think the same thing that everybody sees. He's one of the more exciting football players in college football history. That's why he got a Heisman and was close to getting two. Some of the plays he makes you don't see many people do. That's why they were able to win a lot of games there, and that's why everybody knows who he is. When you've got that ability to make plays, every coach is excited about guys who can make plays. Then when you have a skillset like he does, you feel he's got a chance to continue to get better in all other facets, and just working with the guy as a person, you can tell that he wants to. When you have that natural playmaking ability and the drive and the talent to do some other stuff, you feel like a guy like that has got a pretty big upside."

On what the degree of difficulty is on getting everybody on offense up to speed with some of the new things they might try to do:

"There's a very fine line. You only get three practices, and with the amount of players and stuff, it's not like you get a ton of reps. The NFL is about executing. There's really not any secret play. Sometimes there can be a good play where you get somebody really open, but it doesn't happen much. The league is about executing and detail and stuff and all 11 guys being on the same page. You want to put stuff in that gives a guy like Johnny a chance to be comfortable, a guy like Johnny a chance to make plays, but you've got to be real careful with it too because the play only works if the other 10 guys do their job also. The way guys do their job is by practicing it over and over again and when it is your first week, you don't get to practice it as much, but I try to be smart with that. The more reps you get, the more time that goes, the more you're able to do."

On how curious he is to see this play out or if he thinks he has a handle on what he's going to do:

"I've got an idea, but you never know. You never know until you get in a game. Everything out here is pretty much scripted and stuff. I'm waiting. I'm sure it's going to happen pretty fast. We call a pass play, and he's going to do six spins reversing back and forth outside the pocket. I'm going to hold my breath be yelling half the time, and then probably be running and jumping on top of him excited at the end of it. Who knows what will happen. I think that's why everyone enjoys watching him, and that's why I'm excited to see what he does. It'll be fun."

On how you find a balance between him using his instincts and not treating every drop back pass like a punt return:

"To me, that's what you practice for. We work on that stuff all the time. All I know how to do is to coach a guy how to be a good quarterback and so I do that over and over again, but the last thing I want to do is take away from who he is. Once that game starts and that ball snaps...I mean, we've coached him since we got him. He's worked at it since he's been here. He's tried to develop in every facet, but when that ball snaps, I don't want him thinking about coaching points. I don't want him thinking about how the play is supposed to be. I want him reacting, and hopefully when someone is open, he reacts and lets it rip. Hopefully when someone's not, he reacts and does his deal. You just don't want to take that away from him."

On why he might be more ready now than he was in September:

"I think for anybody, every single day you're a little bit more ready. As long as you're working to get better whether it's by yourself just looking at tape or studying over the game plan or reps whether it's on scout team or the few reps that he did get with the ones before this week - the more time on any job you get better and get more confidence. I think he's better than what he was yesterday, and I think he'll be better at the end of the year than he is right now."

On what his take is on where WR Josh Gordon is right now mentally and physically:

"I think Josh has been working. He's still trying to get back. I think it's real tough with how long he was away from us. You throw a lot at him in a whole offense, and it's tough to be out there and be detailed in the whole offense. I know Josh knows the stuff as far as on the board and just understanding what he's supposed to do, but in the heat of battle and the detail of routes and the detail of coverages, it takes a lot of work and a lot of reps. In fairness to Josh, he hasn't had those, and I think he's working at it. There's not a day that he takes off. I expect him...just like I said with Johnny, I think he'll be better this week, and I expect him to be better in Week 16 than he will be Sunday."

On if he has to keep Manziel from getting too amped up for this game:

"He naturally gets pretty amped up. You try to calm him down. You want him to relax, but he's going to be who he is. I'm not going to sit there and tell him how to be. I want him to be himself. It's got him a lot of success in the past, and I definitely don't want to be the one who tries to take that away from him."

On how they found OL Ryan Seymour to play center and if it was out of necessity:

"Yeah, you don't always have a ton of options at center. He hadn't done it much in his career, at least in games, but he had practiced it before. As soon as (Browns OL Alex) Mack went down, we started working a lot of guys at it. He showed some potential. We know physically he's capable of being pretty good with the blocks and everything. It's taken him some time to get used to making the calls and everything because we put a lot of pressure on our center, as far as directing everybody. He's really worked at it and got better at it each week. I think he's got a big upside for us."

On how Manziel has been getting to his second and third reads before getting out of the pocket:

"He's good. All that you find out in the game, but everyone's capable of doing it. In practice it's a little bit easier because you're trying to execute stuff. You're not as amped up. You know the guys aren't coming to hit you and stuff. Johnny's very capable of going through the progressions and everything, but you don't want him to just sit there and be a robot. You want him to do what's made him successful and that's make plays, also. I keep saying it, but there's a fine line between both. That's something he's got to figure out, and I've got to help him work on. I hope he can be able to use both types of his game."

On if his experience with Redskins QB Robert Griffin III has helped him with Manziel:

"Yeah, I think any experience you get you feel more confident going into something. I had to do this with (Redskins QB) Kirk (Cousins) our first year. Robert playing that whole year, then Kirk coming in. I forget what week it was. It was like Week 13 or something. He came in and did good. I feel like the main thing you want to do is make him feel confident. Try to give him stuff that he knows, stuff that he can execute and allow the guy to just play. You still want to make sure that you're trying to attack the defense and call plays that work and call plays because everything's easier if you can help get people more open. It's only going to be easy if their comfortable with it. You try to really work with the player and make sure that anything you're asking them to do they can do it."

On what he does about defenders trying to target Manziel:

"I think not just Johnny, I think every quarterback has a target on him. People want to hit quarterbacks when they get the opportunity to, and when a guy like Johnny who's very mobile and stuff he gives them a little bit more opportunities than other quarterbacks do. I think one thing I've enjoyed about Johnny throughout the preseason and stuff is Johnny does a pretty good job of protecting himself. He's got a pretty good knack for when to slide. He can run full speed, get down at the last second. He's very capable of doing it and just got to constantly remind him to don't get too competitive and decide that you don't have to do it. Don't take those hits. Get down. Protect yourself because we need you for the whole game."

On how he deals with rookie mistakes:

"I expect them. First of all, any player you expect some mistakes, and I definitely have my fair share of mistakes in a game. You know you'll get them with a rookie. When you expect it, the main thing with him is you don't want him to freak out too much. Don't be scared to make a mistake. If you make a mistake come back and make the next play. If you make a few mistakes in the game that hurt us hopefully you come back and make a play that helps us. There's definitely a fine line, but you don't want to scare a guy into playing like a robot. He is a talented guy, and you want him to make sure that he can go out there and just let it go and play freely. We'll work on that each play throughout the game, and I think I'll get better at working with him as my experience working with him in games goes. I think he'll do the same."