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Manziel shows improvement in Browns scrimmage

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Don't look now, but Johnny Manziel is starting to string together some positive outings for the Cleveland Browns.

Manziel completed 9-of-11 passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns during the Browns' scrimmage on Friday night, including a pretty 18-yard back shoulder toss to Josh Lenz. The performance builds on a few straight good practices for Manziel. We're not going to get carried away by one scrimmage, but we're also not going to ignore that Manziel is showing some tangible improvement.

Mike Mayock of NFL Network, who broadcasted the scrimmage, said Manziel was undeniably an "improved version" from a year ago. He talked up Manziel's calmness in the pocket. NFL Network's Solomon Wilcots said Manziel showed a great understanding of where to go with the football.

"I thought (Manziel) played well," Browns coach Mike Pettine told Mayock. "Obviously he was very productive. I thought he was very calm in the pocket. One thing you noticed was that his feet were very settled. He did not have happy feet moving around. He could set his feet and make his reads, trust his arm and I thought he made some throws into tight coverage. He let his receivers make a play."

We've made it 200 words into this post without mentioning the Browns starting quarterback Josh McCown, who also had a strong showing with 76 yards and a touchdown on six attempts.

But August isn't about McCown. He's got the starting job locked down and took all the snaps with the starters. August is Manziel's time to show that he's improved and an option to take over for McCown if the Browns struggle during the regular season. Manziel mentioned stringing together "three or four good days in a row together" after the game, which helped him feel comfortable.

"I wouldn't make a huge deal about it, but it's progress for me," Manziel said via the Akron Beacon-Journal. "It's better than I played last year in the scrimmage. I'm happy about it and happy about stringing some good days together. That's what I wanted to do."

Yes, it was only one scrimmage. But it makes us more interested to see what Manziel can accomplish when he starts facing other teams in the preseason next week.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast covers the latest on Aldon Smith's release and breaks down the training camp stories flying under the radar.

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