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Joe Thomas: Manziel proved he's ready to be a starter

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Johnny Manziel has a ways to go before snatching the starting gig away from Josh McCown, but Manziel has won over one large critic: Joe Thomas.

"He's really proved to a lot of people that this is important to him and he's ready to be an NFL starting quarterback,'' the offensive tackle said Friday, via the Northeast Ohio Media Group. "Playing well in the scrimmage tonight and looking like an NFL quarterback is another good step in the direction that he wants to go. He's just earning that trust of his teammates that he's going to need to do if he wants to be that starter. He impressed a lot of people out here tonight.''

Thomas' comments sit in stark contrast to his previous criticism of Manziel, including saying in April the quarterback "lost a lot of trust" by how he conducted himself after being named the starter last season.

Manziel played well in the Cleveland Browns scrimmage Friday night, completing 9-of-11 passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns. We won't get carried away about a game in which the quarterback can't get touched, but it was a positive step for the second-year passer.

"We always knew he had the talent,'' Thomas said. "So it was never a matter of the talent that he had. You're starting to see the work that he put in off the field, but the commitment that he's made in the meeting room. Studying film when he doesn't need to be. Doing the things that a starting quarterback has to do. I think you're seeing it now that he's in competitive situations he's able to let that talent go and play well. And that's what you saw today.''

However, one positive scrimmage does not a starter make. Thomas reiterated that McCown is still the Browns' starter, even if he's optimistic about Manziel's performance.

"Josh has done so many good things that to me it's not really a conversation about who should be the starter right now,'' said Thomas.

It's a baby-step process for Manziel to become the quarterback the Browns organization needs. Getting on the good side of a leader like Thomas is a positive stride forward.

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