Johnny Manziel will start home opener against Titans

Johnny Manziel will start in place of Josh McCown on Sunday and face off against fellow Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota

BEREA—It’s official.

Johnny Manziel will start Sunday’s season opener against the Titans.

Josh McCown, who left last week’s season opener in the first quarter, remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol and did not practice Friday.

 In relief of McCown against the Jets, Manziel completed 13-of-24 passes for 182 yards with a touchdown, an interception and two fumbles. He also rushed for 35 yards.

 McCown opened the game on offense against the Jets with a 17 play, 90-yard drive that resulted in a fumble by McCown out of the end zone. McCown had to leave the game as he was taken to the locker room and placed in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

The earliest McCown could’ve been cleared was Friday. 

Manziel was 0-2 as a starter in his rookie season finishing 18-of-35 for 175 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions and a 42.0 rating. He also had 29 yards on nine rushing attempts.

Mike Pettine said Manziel had a good week of practice.

"Anytime you have a player that can't play, you're always going to be disappointed," Pettine said. "But Johnny's had a good week and it's not like Josh practiced and we found out late that he can't go. When a guy goes into the (concussion) protocol, you have to make the assumption that he's not going to be back and then react to the news when he is. We're prepared."

Pettine said last week's game experience against the Jets was invaluable to Manziel.

"The game reps are the most valuable to me, so playing three quarters against New York and then getting a full week (practicing with the first team) and the overlap of the Jets prep we were able to carry over from training camp and last week," he said. "It's all material he's very comfortable with."

Pettine said although they limited some of Manziel's throws this week, 

"Right now, I'm very comfortable with (where he's at in preparation)," Pettine said. "He's been very focused, very dialed in."

Manziel said he's excited for the opportunity.

“Obviously, looking forward to getting a chance, if that’s the case, being back under the center,” Manziel said on Wednesday. “Here at home, FirstEnergy (Stadium), that’s a great place to play early in the year, I think we’ll have a great crowd. I never even question that with the people here in Cleveland. If that is the case, I look forward to going out there and hopefully giving them something to cheer about. We want to put points on the board. We want to be solid all around offensively and make sure we come out there with the end result that everybody in this locker room wants.”

Manziel, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2012 will be paired up with last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota. 

Manziel said he’s trying to just continue to improve.

“I’m just trying to go out and play better football than I have in the past,” Manziel said. “I’ve been disappointed in the way I performed, especially ending the season last year. (It) didn’t end on a very good note. Was it better on Sunday? Sure, it was better. Did I feel more comfortable? Sure. But did I do some things looking back that I would like to have back? Absolutely. 

“Now moving forward it is don’t make those same mistakes again,” he said. “I need to learn from what I did, see the field and trust what’s gotten me to this level, and trust what’s gotten me in this locker room. For me, I want to continue to improve, go out and not care- not worry about what anyone else was saying. There was a time when I was talked about every single day, on every station around the entire country. There was days where I was talked about good. There was days I was talked about bad and now it’s for me, block all of that out, do what I need to do in this locker room, make sure I’m prepared and go out on Sunday and make sure I do better than I did last week.”



The OBR Top Stories