— You spoke of [Johnny] Manziel not getting the reps, the opportunities, is this a personal situation with [Mike] Pettine or is there something more to the decision?
“You have to consider everything, the body of work, state of the team, is there a player playing at a high level. Johnny Manziel has done numerous things (well reported) that has made the entire organization cringe, not just Pettine, not just members of staff and position coaches, but those guys that are also in this locker room. Based solely on what occurs on the practice field, how he (Manziel) sees the field, what goes on in the meeting rooms and his lack of experience for a team attempting to win now, there is a case for the head coach to start Josh McCown ahead of him.”
— It’s known that members of the front office, up to the team owner would like to see Manziel play, as well as others within the roster which aren’t, is there tension in this regard?
“Sure, there is always going to be questions, especially when a team underachieves to the level we have. You invest heavily in draft picks, especially those in the first round and at some point you must know what they can do — not assume due to what may have happened here and there on and off the practice field. We see young players getting reps on game-day, very meaningful reps, which proves all the nonsense that Pettine won’t play young players is garbage, he will, but the issue really is how as a staff does is determination, the decision on who plays is made.”
— How does the top of the organization view the head coach, the coaching staff in the regard off player development when we see young players such as Manziel, Justin Gilbert and Cameron Erving not gaining playing time, while other young players, some UFDA’s on the field in meaningful roles?
“It disturbs them in seeing players as an organization were rated highly not playing, producing and contributing, especially when it comes to Manziel and Gilbert. The pressure on getting Manziel on the field hasn’t been as heavy as it could have been as (Josh) McCown came in, exceeded expectations, played pretty well and was instrumental in the growth of the offense and its installs. He has been very strong in the QB room and deserves credit in where the offense is and how Manziel has come along. With Gilbert, he was a young guy that we knew had to be worked, brought along, but when you see the same on-field issues at the position, you begin to question ‘why’ others are ahead of him — he needs positive reinforcement, his confidence has taken a hit and when he has gained an opportunity, he has displayed potential.”
— How is the general manager viewed by the top of the organization?
“As is the situation of the head coach, the GM is being evaluated. The issues within aren’t solely a HC problem, a GM problem, both could have done better to this point and some of this stems from inexperience, some stubbornness. As I’ve said for weeks, the balance of the season will likely be the determining factor on each man and their respective staff. The team owner while being upset and questioning all the how’s and why’s getting us to this point, he hasn’t gone reactionary and made changes for the sake of change.”
— How does starting McCown, a 36-year old, journeyman quarterback in actuality improve this team, not now, but going forward?
“Playing McCown provides an element of professionalism, growing upon the installs of the offense, stability, getting players mixed into the scheme and vision of the offensive coordinator. But, at the end of the day, it comes down to winning football games and this has escaped us — when something isn’t working, you have to seriously entertain the notion of making changes. Here, making changes is slow to develop, from the roster to staff and so on. At the QB spot, if McCown had not suffered the injuries he has, Manziel would not have been on the playing field, much less starting games, Pettine simply isn’t there with Manziel.”
— Following Manziel’s performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in Pittsburgh, did the game open the eyes of those within the organization with a voice to insist on change?
“Manziel played pretty well in a tough environment against a division rival. He looked much better in the locker, running the offense and making plays to compete, but he also missed quite a bit on the field, which you expect to a degree to to the lack of actual playing experience. He may have said it best and accurately, the more he plays, the more the game slows down for him, which for a QB is telling — he’s getting it, the development process is taking hold.”
— With the team in its customary descent and Manziel’s play and possible potential, where is the organization with him under center?
“As it stands today going forward, Johnny Manziel will be the starting QB.”
— What led to the decision to start Manziel going forward?
“I wouldn’t necessarily say there was a demand to see more of him (Manziel) from the top, but the opinion coming from that end was fairly significant and in all reality coming off loss after loss, there is little to lose is getting him on the field, gaining those important reps — for us an organization there is an importance, an immediacy to know where we are as a group with the talent-base.”