After Sunday’s 26-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills, the Cleveland Browns look set to make Johnny Manziel their 21st starting quarterback since the franchise’s return in 1999. Many including myself thought Manziel wouldn’t see the field until next season. But with Brian Hoyer’s struggling play the past several weeks, head coach Mike Pettine benched Hoyer and inserted Manziel into the game and Manziel didn’t disappoint leading the Browns on a 80 yard touchdown drive. Manziel finished the game 5 of 8 for 63 yards and also had 13 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
While Pettine didn’t name Manziel as the starter for next week’s matchup against the Colts in his postgame press conference with the media, he didn’t commit to Hoyer being the starter either. He said he’d watch the tape and likely make his decision by Wednesday. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, general manager Ray Farmer and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will likely be involved in some capacity during the decision making process.
Pettine did make some interesting comments to ESPN’s Sal Palantonio following the press conference:
Then the Orange and Brown Report’s Lane Adkins dropped some interesting info about the QB position:
There have been rumors that offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has been pushing for Manziel to take over but Pettine has liked what Hoyer has done and has helped the Browns to a 7-5 record and keeping them in the tight playoff race in the AFC. But Hoyer’s play since Cleveland’s win against Pittsburgh on October 12 hasn’t lit the world on fire. He’s been inaccurate, missing wide open recievers and taking sacks instead of throwing passes away, his nine interceptions since that win isn’t helping him out much either
Although I think Manziel is going to have his rookie growing pains throughout the last four weeks of the season, his mobility and improvising should open up the offense more than what Hoyer was able to do. With a struggling Indianapolis Colts defense coming to town next Sunday, Manziel and the Browns offense should be able to put some points on the board and hopefully spark the Browns for the stretch run to the playoffs . It’s still possible Coach Pettine sticks with Brian Hoyer but I along with the rest of the Browns fanbase fully expect to see the starting debut of Johnny Football.