Troy Polamalu, Steelers are preparing for Johnny Manziel (updated)

September 2, 2014

Troy Palumalu is anticipating an encounter with Johnny Football. (Vincent Pugliese / AP)

Updated at 2:30 p.m. with Mike Tomlin’s take

The Cleveland Browns have announced that Brian Hoyer and not Johnny Manziel will be the starter Sunday, but the Pittsburgh Steelers are taking no chances.

The Steelers defense will spend time preparing for Johnny Football this week because, as Troy Polamalu said, “it would be a change of pace, a different package.”

“The thing about it, New York tried to do that with Tim Tebow a little bit. But Tebow’s a guy you have to just play and play and grind out the entire game,” Polamalu told Ed Bouchette of Post-Gazette.com. “I don’t think Johnny is that type of guy. I think if Johnny came into the game, he would make some splashes, he doesn’t need to get into a rhythm.”

Last month, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said the team would prepare for Manziel and the subsequent decision by Browns Coach Mike Pettine evidently hasn’t changed things.

“I think they’ve seen enough of him to know that he can do certain things maybe the other kid [Hoyer] can’t,” defensive end Brett Keisel said. “I think there will be certain packages. We’ve had to deal with that before. We’ll prepare to see him at one point or another. … We’ll look at him, we’ll look at some of the stuff they do differently with him in there. With a guy like that, you need to. He’s got a lot of ability, a lot of hype.”

Last week, Pettine said that he might consider a package of plays for Manziel. “We’ve got a great deal of respect for Johnny Manziel and his talents,” Coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday. “They didn’t draft him in the first round to watch. We fully expect them to utilize him in some capacity in this football game.”

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren · September 2, 2014

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