Coach Mike Tomlin said he expects the Cleveland Browns to use rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel in some capacity in Sunday’s season opener at Heinz Field, even though veteran Brian Hoyer has been named the starter.
“When you have a talent like Johnny Manziel, you try to get him on the field,” Tomlin said today during his weekly news conference.
Hoyer was 2-0 last season for the Browns before he was injured and missed the rest of the season.
Manziel, a first-round draft choice, is the most publicized rookie in the National Football League. Tomlin said he expects the Browns to use him and take advantage of some of Manziel’s unique athletic skills.
“They’re capable of highlighting that,” Tomlin said. “We’re proceeding to prepare for both of those guys. We’re anticipating them utilizing both, in some capacity. That’s the appropriate approach for us to take.”
The Steelers are coming off a 1-3 preseason in which they were shut out in their final outing by the Carolina Panthers, 10-0 – the first time they have been shut out at home in the preseason since 1976.
The Steelers have lost their past three season openers by a combined 92-35.
“The things that should stimulate us – it’s the Cleveland Browns, it’s an AFC North game, it’s at Heinz Field and it’s our opener,” Tomlin said. “If that doesn’t inspire you, you don’t have a pulse.”
Tomlin said he expects most of his injured players to be available for the game, including long-snapper Greg Warren, who had surgery to repair a torn meniscus and missed the past three preseason games.
That also includes slot receiver Lance Moore, who did not play in the last two preseason games.
Tomlin said the only question mark is rookie receiver Martavis Bryant, who sustained a dislocated shoulder against the Panthers and did not practice Monday.
Gerry Dulac: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @gerrydulac