The Cleveland Browns are having a disastrous season, and have gone back and forth between starting quarterbacks this year as both Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel have failed to find their footing throughout the campaign. Coach Mike Pettine has announced that Manziel will be the starting quarterback going forward. Can Johnny Manziel be the starting quarterback that the Browns want him to be?
First Round Expectations
For Johnny Manziel, the Cleveland Browns have enormous expectations, which are the product of their selection of Manziel in the first round of the NFL Draft. When a team spends a first round pick on a high profile position, the selection is magnified, as success or failure is more visible than an offensive lineman that does or does not work out.
However, the Browns have been reluctant to commit to Manziel until this point, as they have frequently turned to other quarterbacks to start games for them rather than letting Manziel learn and grow on a team that has no chance to make the playoffs this season. Now that the Browns have indeed committed to give Manziel a chance to sink or swim, the team will finally find out whether or not those expectations can be lived up to by Johnny Football.
Can Johnny Manziel Get The Job Done?
Johnny Manziel hasn’t had many opportunities to be the definitive starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns this season, but can more than hold his own when he is given the chance to prepare for an opponent for a full week. His start against the Pittsburgh Steelers is proof of that, as Manziel did a great job against one of the better defenses in the NFL.
Manziel threw for 372 yards, and completed 33 of his 45 passes against the Steelers. Despite the fact that the Cleveland Browns lost the game, Manziel was a very good passer and supplemented that with some solid running ability. This was a great step forward from previous starts, where he relied to heavily on his running, with his passing suffering as a result.
Compare this start by Manziel to the one he had against the Cincinnati Bengals earlier in the season, where Manziel was named the starter just a few days before the game, which was held on a Thursday night. It was clear that he was not on the same page as his receivers, and that the game plan wasn’t built to suit him specifically. The change from that start to the game against the Steelers was night and day, and very encouraging for the Browns.
The Cleveland Browns are on a bye week this week, but face the Baltimore Ravens in two weeks. The Ravens’ defense has been awful this year, and the game will give Johnny Manziel another great chance to succeed and cement himself as the starting quarterback for the team going forward. But, as they say, no game is won on paper, and Manziel will have to do a great job of executing again to continue to earn credit from his teammates.
By: Jason M. Sanin