Is this the week to start Johnny Manziel?

With the Browns at 2-5, is it time for Johnny Manziel to take over for Josh McCown, even if he's able to play this week?

BEREA—As the Browns prepare to get themselves up off the mat and prepare for the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday, there could be a change at quarterback.

Josh McCown left the game and was taken to the locker room after being hit by Williams Hayes with 5:17 to play in the game. 

No specifics on McCown’s injury have been given, but Mike Pettine said he might not be able to practice when the team begins preparation on Wednesday.

“I won’t get into specifics on test results, but we’re listing him as day-to-day.”

Pettine was asked if McCown would start Sunday against the Cardinals if he’s able to and responded with a question.

 “If our starting quarterback is able to play, will he? Yes.”

McCown described how he was hurt.

“I was throwing the ball and I thought it was a pass, but the guy hit my elbow and I just felt it, felt something in the back of my shoulder,” McCown said after the game.

Pettine didn’t provide any more details on McCown’s injury, but did say Johnny Manziel will replace McCown, if he misses any time.

“Yes, it would be Johnny, he is our No. 2,” Pettine said. “If those are circumstances, we have been through this before. If those are the circumstances, we will deal with them.

“Anytime your quarterback is being evaluated for an injury you are always concerned,” Pettine. “Whatever the circumstances are we will deal with them appropriately.”

If Manziel replaces McCown, it won’t be due to poor play by McCown. He was 26-of-32 (81.3 percent) for 270 yards and a rating of 101.8 against the Rams. He was pressured and sacked four times and did lose two fumbles in the process.

On the season, McCown is 147-of-220 for 1,686 yards (66.8 pct.) with eight touchdowns and three interceptions. He has an overall rating of 96.1.

McCown leads the NFL in third down passing with a 128.4 rating and has the ninth-best quarterback rating in the NFL at 96.1.

McCown took a beating in the game against the Rams. In addition, to being sacked four times he was knocked down or hit at least seven other times.

“We have to protect this guy,” Pettine said. “I don’t care if he’s 36 or 23, you have to protect your quarterback.”

Manziel entered the game for the Browns final series, replacing McCown with the Browns trailing 24-6. He was 4-of-5 for 27 yards and a 89.2 rating in his one series. He also ran for five yards on 4th-and-6, but slid a yard before the first down marker ending the drive.

“I was pretty excited to get back in there,” Manziel told reporters after the game. “Obviously, it was late in the game, but nevertheless it felt good to get in.”

Manziel says he’s ready to pick up where he left off when he led the Browns to a win over the Titans in the second game while McCown sat out with a concussion.

“Obviously been continuing to shore up everything, continuing to learn,” Manziel said. “So if Josh goes out or he’s out for an extended period of time, I think I’ll be able to step in and try to make something happen.”

Manziel has been widely criticized for an incident involving his girlfriend on Oct. 12, which he wouldn’t comment on.

On the season, Manziel is 25-of-44 for 381 yards (56.8 percent) with three touchdowns and one interception and a rating of 98.8. 

He said he’s hoping to get back on the field and continue his growth process as an NFL quarterback.

“I hope I still have some love in the city of Cleveland,” he said. “I hope people haven’t given up on me.

“I’m trying to do the right things on the field, just trying to keep my head down and just keep plugging and keep pushing and keep trying to gain back what I felt I lost last year in a rough rookie season.”

Extra Points

Poyer Out: DB Jordan Poyer injured his shoulder in the loss to the Rams and Pettine said he expects him to miss “some time.” Poyer has started the last two games in place of DB Tashaun Gipson (ankle). Gipson is improving and Pettine hopes he and LB Craig Robertson (ankle) will be able to play this week. 

When asked if he thought Gipson would be able to start practicing on Wednesday, Pettine said:

“Not sure, it’s a possibility.”

Pettine said rookie DB Ibraheim Campbell, DB Johnson Bademosi or DB K’Waun Williams would play safety if Gipson and Poyer cannot play this week opposite DB Donte Whitner.

DB Joe Haden is still in the concussion protocol and he’s hopeful he will be cleared this week after missing the last two games. WR Andrew Hawkins was placed into the concussion protocol after suffering an injury to his head against the Rams. 

Miscues Galore: The Browns had four turnovers and 11 penalties that contributed greatly to the lopsided loss against the Rams. 

“We took a step backwards in (protecting the ball),” Pettine said. “In our team meeting, we talked about where we are and we talked about adversity and what it does for you. You find out a lot about yourselves when things aren’t going well.”


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