State of the Browns: Johnny Manziel, QBs

With Cleveland Browns fans feeling disappointed, our OBR staff came together to give our thoughts on the State of the Browns. We started with the head coach and general manager. Now we take a look at how Johnny Manziel and Josh McCown have been handled.

Browns fans seem to really want Johnny Manziel starting, and believe he should be. What do you think about how Pettine and the Browns have handled the QB situation?

Jared - I think the Browns have handled it the best they could. Whether Manziel plays should solely be about whether Manziel is ready to play. Just throwing him out there because Josh McCown is terrible isn’t a long term plan. Manziel only played 2 years in college (history says that is not a recipe for success) and wasted last year. He is a rookie with developmental needs. I’d play Austin Davis over Manziel if the latter isn’t ready. With Manziel it is about the long term. Don’t just throw him out there if it isn’t best for his development.

Barry - It’s not about Pettine, it’s about Haslam. Pettine right now is fighting for his job and his ability to establish himself as an NFL coach. He has no guarantee of employment next year, and is coaching like it. If Pettine were secure in his long-term future, he could afford riskier-but-necessary steps like seeing what Manziel can do (particularly with the likelihood of a high draft pick in 2016) Right now, however, Pettine is in “win-now” mode, and has to be. That infers a risk-averse strategy that relies more on proven commodities than venturing into the great unknown. If we’re going to see Manziel, it will come through Haslam demanding it, or giving Pettine greater security about his future. I don’t see either happening right now. Right now the only way you’ll see Manziel is if McCown falls completely on his face or gets injured.

  • Rick - Completely agree about Pettine being in “win-now” mode. His job is not to play a QB just to see what he has. He has to put together a game plan to win every game. It does fall on him ultimately to develop players, but did anyone expect him to develop a quarterback? Isn’t that what Shanahan and DeFillipo were brought in for?

Lane - As we have stated for months and especially when the Browns signed free agent Josh McCown, Pettine is in win-now mode, has openly stated you get paid to win games. The Browns handling of Manziel, Pettine’s handling of Manziel is what one should really expect considering everything involved. We’re talking about a young player of issue, a wasted season and a lengthy stent in a substance rehab facility -- trust issues reside, which take time to heal and the head coach isn’t ready to hand the keys to his future, the keys to the organization to a player such as Manziel so quickly.

Andrea - They’ve managed the circus as best as possible, but circuses like QB controversies cannot be wrangled easily. They can say all they want, in-house and in press conferences, but you look at the play on the field and it’s no wonder that fans and media (both locally and nationally) would like to see the switch to Manziel. Pettine spent a lot of time trying to minimize Manziel’s role but that doesn’t matter when McCown gets a concussion, Johnny goes in and everyone sees (or wants to see, so they do) a spark. But if Johnny is Tyrod Taylor, he should be out there. Josh McCown, at this point, is just… McCown.

  • Jared - I love the Taylor reference. He sat for 4 years and learned. Got his chance and has looked pretty good. Biggest difference between Taylor and Manziel is draft position and expectations, two things that should never impact how a player is treated.
           Andrea - Especially at quarterback. All positions should be viewed this way, yes, but especially QB.

Fred - They decided, right or wrong in March to spend a lot of money on Josh McCown. It would be foolish for them to throw that all out the window after 5 quarters. It will prove out in the next few weeks that either McCown can’t play or he will be injured and then it will be Manziel’s chance to play. Remember, In the one game Manziel started, he was 3-of-11 for 22 yards, two sacks, two fumbles from the 6 minute mark in the first quarter to the 3 minute mark in the game.

Hayden - As Fred said, the Browns signed Josh McCown to be the starter in March, so he should be the starter. They’ve handled it as such, which is absolutely the right way to go about it. That being said, the foolishness of that move to bring in McCown and declare him the starter from day one knows no bounds. The Browns should have brought in McCown to guide and potentially back up Johnny to see what they had in him this season. It’s beyond foolish that Farmer, Pettine and Co. thought they were going to have a good enough team to win games with Josh McCown at the helm, pushing the development of a young QB even more behind.

State of the Browns Series

Part 1: Mike Pettine     Part 2: Ray Farmer     Part 3: The QB Situation     Part 4: Changes Next Year?

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