The Cleveland Browns announced that Austin Davis would get the nod at the starting quarterback position in Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, effectively signaling that barring any unforeseen development, Johnny Manziel would not be seeing the field again this season.
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But Browns head coach Mike Pettine said Manziel could in fact be called upon to start in a few of the Browns’ final five games, highlighting the fluidity at the starting quarterback position by indicating who is starting and who is not will be determined on a game-by-game basis.
“I talked to the quarterbacks this morning and I said given where we are, what our circumstances are, it’s safe to say now that this is a weekly thing,” he said, via Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Mary Kay Cabot. “The decision was made, it’s Austin for this week and I’m not going to go beyond that.”
Given how Manziel was relegated to third-string quarterback status after the controversies stemming from video footage purportedly showing him partying during the Browns’ bye week, it was all but assumed the move was effectively a benching for the balance of the season.
But with Josh McCown lost for the final five games with a broken collarbone, Manziel has now been upgraded to backup status for Sunday’s game. As Pettine indicated himself, that could be short-lived and the second-year quarterback could be starting as soon as next week.
Perhaps even more so than in Davis’ case, the Browns finally need to see what they have in Manziel and make a final determination regarding his future before making some difficult decisions how to address the overall quarterback position for the organization going forward.
When asked what Manziel has to do to get back in his good graces, Pettine, who expressed hope for the quarterback after his latest off-the-field controversy, simply replied, “Just continue to work.”