Fresh of a their disgusting road loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers will look to get back on track Sunday with a win over the Cleveland Browns, who look poised to start Johnny Manziel at quarterback once again.
During his Tuesday press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin talked about the challenges involved in playing against Manziel and what his defense needs to do on Sunday in Cleveland in order to prevent a second consecutive loss to close out the 2015 season against another team with a sub-.500 record.
“His ability to extend plays and create as plays break down is an area of the game that we need to focus on,” said Tomlin of Manziel. “We have to put pressure on him. I didn’t think we put enough consistent pressure on [Ryan] Mallett a week ago, we’ve got to do that. But it doesn’t necessarily mean blitzing. We’ve got to rush and rush with four. I thought our four-man rush was not up to snuff last week. This week it’s an element of the package that needs to continue to develop, particularly when you face a guy that has the type of mobility and the ability to create like Johnny Manziel has. We’ve got to rush hard and we’ve got to rush smart. We’ve got to minimize vertical holes in terms of escape lanes.”
In order to prepare for Manziel this week in practice, Tomlin said the team will utilize their third-string veteran quarterback on the scout team. That of course means Mike Vick will be emulating Manziel during the team’s three practices.
“I would imagine that Michael Vick is going to be an extremely critical element of preparation for us in terms of the looks that he’s providing us in that area,” Tomlin said.
Tomlin was quick to point out that Manziel rushed for over 100 yards this past Sunday in the Browns loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. So far this season, Manziel has averaged 6.2 yards per rush in the games that he has appeared in.
In the Steelers Week 10 win over the Browns, Manziel had success throwing the football as he completed 33 of the 45 passes that he attempted in that game for 372 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The Browns, however, only managed to score 9 points in that game and the Steelers defense will again look to hold the Browns offense to that many points, or less, Sunday in Cleveland.