Manziel set to face Seattle's 12th man, red-hot Wilson
BEREA, Ohio (AP) Johnny Manziel's taking a trip to an NFL stadium where quarterbacks are seen, not heard.
He's got a facemask-to-face meeting with Seattle's 12th Man.
Coming off maybe his finest performance as a pro, Manziel gets to measure his progress this week against the Seahawks, who are again playing at a Super Bowl level, and their super-sonically noisy fans.
''It's going to be loud, it's going to be hostile and they're going to be good,'' Manziel said Wednesday.
After ending a seven-game losing streak on Sunday against a San Francisco squad in slow motion, the Browns (3-10) are vowing that they won't be intimidated by the Seahawks (8-5), who have won four straight and six of seven.
''We're not going up there to curl up in a ball,'' Browns coach Mike Pettine said. ''We're going up there to compete.''
For Manziel, it will not only be a chance to test his skills against one of the league's top defenses, but one of the rare times he'll be facing a quarterback he can look in the eye.
Both listed at 5-foot-11, Manziel and Seattle's Russell Wilson share many physical attributes but are disparate in stature. They're two of the league's shortest QBs, two of the most mobile and the pair have overcome physical limitations to achieve success at football's most demanding position.
Although he hasn't specifically studied Wilson's game, Manziel has been impressed with the Seattle QB's consistency and a current four-game run unlike any seen in decades. Wilson is the first quarterback since the passer rating inception in 1973 to have at least a 138.5 rating in four consecutive games.
Because they're close in size and make plays outside the pocket, Manziel and Wilson are often compared. Obviously, Manziel has a long way to go to match Wilson's accomplishments, but he said the 27-year-old is one of the quarterback's he has admired.
''There are a lot of guys that I've looked up to for a long time,'' Manziel said. ''You look at (Aaron) Rodgers, you look at (Tom) Brady, you look at the way they've done this for years and years. Looking at mobile guys, there's nobody better right now than Russell and Cam (Newton) sitting up there, who are able to extend play with their legs.''
While Manziel was highly complementary of Wilson, Pettine wasn't ready to declare him one of the league's elite.
''Would you put him there with the guys that can transcend their supporting cast? The Bradys, whether it's Aaron Rodgers, (Drew) Brees, (Ben) Roethlisberger, the ones that you would consider the two, three, four elite guys? No. But he's certainly played himself into that next tier,'' Pettine said.
When asked about Pettine's comments, Wilson scrambled up the high road.
''I don't worry about all that,'' he told Cleveland reporters on a conference call. ''It comes down to winning a lot of football games. I think that's the ultimate measure of a quarterback.''
''When he's been forced to get out of the pocket, he's a threat to scramble for a first down,'' Pettine said. ''Where his game has really taken off is his eyes are down the field more so now. He's made a lot of big plays with throws on the run.''
Manziel hopes to make some big plays Sunday, but he'll have to contend with Seattle's jet-engine-loud crowd, which can unravel seasoned signal-callers. Manziel faced rowdy fans playing in the SEC, but maybe nothing like the racket inside CenturyLink Field.
''This place has a ton of hype,'' he said. ''You hear it time and time again, that people can't even hear themselves think, so I don't expect it to be anything other than full force when we come in there on Sunday.''
NOTES: Pettine made a curious comment about the 49ers, saying he didn't think they played hard last week. ''I thought you saw one team that wanted to be out there, wanted to compete and wanted to win a football game,'' he said. ''I don't know that I sensed that same attitude from the other side.''
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