Mike Pettine on QB decision: "That is a weekly thing"

Mike Pettine said the Browns want to see both Austin Davis and Johnny Manziel play and said the decision to start Davis was for this week and then he'll re-evaluate the decision

BEREA—The Browns could give Cedar Point a run for their money when it comes to roller coasters.

The twists and turns and ups and downs of the Browns quarterback situation could be compared to one of the rides at the roller coaster capital of the world.

For the fourth-straight season and fifth out of six, the Browns will start their third different quarterback in a season as Austin Davis will get the nod this week against the Bengals.

When asked about the lack of stability at the game’s most important position, Mike Pettine cut off the questioner before he finished asking the question.

“It’s less than ideal, is that what you’re trying to say,” Pettine said. “It’s part of the job.”

In explaining why Davis will get the start this week against the Bengals, Pettine said that as being the backup, he took advantage of his opportunity.

"Austin took advantage of his opportunity on Monday night,” Pettine said. “ He was prepared, played well and put us in position to win.

“He’s been great in the quarterback room all season and he has earned the right to start on Sunday. We feel he deserves this opportunity and expect good things from him Sunday.”

Pettine said that the plan is that the Browns would like to see both Davis and Johnny Manziel play before the season is out. He wouldn’t declare Davis the starter beyond this week’s game. 

“I talked to the quarterbacks this morning, and I said given where we are and what our circumstances are that it is safe to say now that is a weekly thing. The decision was made – it is Austin for this week, and I am not going to go beyond that.”

Davis said he's excited for the opportunity.

"It's always great to get an opportunity to play," he said. "I have to be prepared and it helps to get my mind ready to play (knowing I'm starting)."

Pettine said he will re-visit the quarterback decision after this week's game. 

“These are two players that we both want to see play is the bottom line. I don’t want to declare, ‘Hey, this is what it is going to be from here on out.’ These are two young quarterbacks that have upside, and we want to see what that upside is. Austin is the guy for this week.”

Davis was asked if he felt he was auditioning to be the long-term starter for the Browns.

"Not really," he said. "I'm focused on trying to beat the Cincinnati Bengals. That's how I'm approaching this week."

Pettine was asked if Manziel was still being punished for his lying and trying to cover up his incident during the bye week.

“I don’t want to get into punishment and length of it," Pettine said. "Just felt given the circumstances of where we had placed him and what we had done as a result of what had happened that Austin was above him and went out and played well. He deserves this opportunity. To me, it is more about Austin and seeing what he can do than it is necessarily about length of punishment.”

Pettine was asked what Manziel has to do to get back on the field.

“Continue to work ,” he said. “Continue to work and do his job.”

The start will be Davis’ first since he joined the Browns in September and ninth of his NFL career.

"My time in St. Louis helped me learn what I did well and what I did not do as well," he said. "I feel I can only get better the more I play."

Manziel will serve as his backup and Pettine indicated that newly signed wide receiver, Terrelle Pryor would likely be the emergency quarterback.

“We prefer to see Brian Hartline playing wide receiver, not quarterback,” Pettine joked when asked if Pryor would be used as the third quarterback, if needed.

Davis, in relief of an injured Josh McCown, made his Browns debut in Monday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Entering in the fourth quarter with the Browns trailing by a touchdown, Davis completed 7-of-10 passes for 77 yards, including a 42-yard, game-tying touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin.

 In eight starts and 10 overall appearances with the Rams last season, Davis completed 180-of-284 passes for 2,001 yards, 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

McCown was ruled out for the season Tuesday with a broken clavicle and was placed on injured reserve Wednesday.

Extra Points

Four with concussions still out: As the Browns prepare for the Bengals, four players are still out in the concussion protocol: DB Joe Haden, WR Taylor Gabriel, WR Andrew Hawkins are joined by DB Justin Gilbert. In addition, to the four, OL Joel Bitonio (ankle), DL Randy Starks (knee), LB Armonty Bryant (elbow) and LB Nate Orchard (groin) were limited at practice.  

Bitonio Close: Bitonio has missed the last two games with an ankle injury, as has DL Randy Starks. Pettine indicated that Bitonio is close to playing.

“We’re hopeful (about Bitonio playing),” Pettine said. “We’ll get him practicing (this week). Ii don’t know if Randy is as close as Joel is (to playing).”

Pryor Official: The Browns officially placed QB Josh McCown on season-ending injured reserve with a broken clavicle. WR Terrelle Pryor was signed to take his roster spot. Pryor is wearing No. 17 after wearing No. 87 in training camp.McCown finished his season 186-of-292 for 2,109 yards (63.7 pct.) with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions and a rating of 93.3. McCown started eight games and was just 1-7 in those starts.

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