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Steelers are convinced they will see Johnny Manziel in a few plays Sunday

Even if the rookie won't start the game under center, the Steelers' defense is aware of what Johnny Manziel can do, even in a limited role. They expect to see him on the field Sunday.

Jason Miller

If rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel can't throw like appointed starter Brian Hoyer can, he certainly can run better than the pocket passer who will take the game's first snap.

Because of that, the Steelers aren't putting Manziel out of their minds.

"I think they've seen enough of him to know that he can do certain things maybe the other kid can't," Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel told Post Gazette reporter Ed Bouchette. "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."

Every team has seen the special packages created to stop certain athletic players not having solid and defined roles. It doesn't seem that long ago when Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor knocked Dolphins quarterback/running back/outfielder Pat White somewhere into the following year when Miami tried to get the ball to the athletic White.

Keisel speaks from a place of great experience, having seen every twist and variation of offense this league has come up with and put to rest since 2002. Ultimately, it comes down to ignoring the flashy gimmicks and maintaining a level of discipline.

"I know sometimes you see someone come in and you go 'ahhhhh' and freak out a little bit," He told Bouchette. "We need to just maintain our job, maintain the things we've got to do during that play call and execute."

Certainly, a player's ability to create based on spontaneity is a dangerous weapon, but neither Manziel nor the Browns offense created that style of play. The Steelers defensive coaches, as well as a few players, have been watching Ben Roethlisberger play that sandlot style for the last decade. He may not display it on the practice field, but they know very well Roethlisberger's ability to buy time and make plays on the move.

Good mental practice, if nothing else, against the gutsy, freestyling Manziel, should he come in for a play or two.

There's no sense not being prepared for it, and it's a good idea for the Browns to at least hint at the possibility of bringing Manziel onto the field (may as well make the Steelers prepare for both quarterbacks, even if they don't plan to use more than one).

As long as the Steelers don't freak out, they can maintain the sub-quarterback trend as well.