Despite leading Cleveland to a win over the Titans this past weekend, Johnny Manziel has been relegated to backup for this Sunday’s game against Oakland. Josh McCown, who missed last week with a concussion, is once again the starter.
What’s the reaction in Cleveland right now?
“I would say it was 60/40 that is behind (Mike) Pettine today,” Cleveland’s 92.3 The Fan host Andy Baskin said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “The 40 percent who like Manziel were unbelievably loud today. I will say that. They want him to start this weekend, and I said myself, ‘Why not stay with Johnny?’ He did something last week that we haven’t seen the Browns really do since ’99. They had a game that was going down their leg. It was 21-0, then it was 21-7, then it was 21-14 and everybody knew the story. We all know what happens to the Browns when they get in this situation.”
They usually lose. This time, though, they didn’t.
Manziel threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin with less than three minutes to go to make it 28-14 and seal the win.
“Somehow, some magical way, Johnny Manziel was able to roll out on a missed coverage and ended up throwing the touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin and they win 28-14,” Baskin said. “Just totally unusual. It just doesn’t happen. So why not roll the dice on this kid and keep going? Especially with McCown missing? Now I understand why Mike Pettine is doing it. I get it. The offense was set up for him. He was the guy that won the job in camp and he wants to go back to him. I think the biggest shocker of last week is that McCown didn’t pass the concussion protocol because I think everyone in Berea thought McCown was going to start last week and then Johnny just beat the odds. They had a great game plan for Johnny last week and it worked. He only had 63 yards in between the second touchdown and the last touchdown, so I don’t know if they were just holding back the offense because they had the big lead, but Johnny didn’t do a whole lot in the second and third quarters.”
Does that mean Manziel was more or less awful between his two bombs to Benjamin?
Well, not quite.
“The play-calling wasn’t exactly, ‘Let’s let Johnny go crazy here and throw the ball,’” Baskin said. “They weren’t happy that he fumbled the ball twice. They were pretty peeved about it. The thing that I worry about for Johnny is if you throw Johnny out there this week and he stinks, then where do you go? And then the other problem I have with the whole Johnny situation is he’s a year behind. He didn’t care about football last year. Now I know he had demons and I know he had to take care of those. I wish the league would have figured that out. I wish the Browns would have figured that out like the 21 other teams that had a choice to pick him before the Browns did. But that said, they went out and picked him even though he had demons and so now you’ve lost a complete year. If Manziel was the guy that we all wanted him to be, I think maybe he would have beat out Brian Hoyer last year to have the job and he definitely would have been the starting quarterback going into this season – if he would have dedicated himself to football. I know he had to find himself in the offseason, but the reason Johnny Manziel is struggling right now is because of Johnny.”