The Cleveland Browns are sending mixed messages regarding Johnny Manziel. Talking about his development, adjustments and improvement, but also sticking to the original plan: If Josh McCown is healthy and ready to play, he’s the starting quarterback.
Manziel wasn’t too impressive but not terrible in the Browns 31-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, his second start this season. He complained after the game that his height was an issue, but he’s not the only small quarterback in the NFL. The coaching staff talked about how he needs to make adjustments in the pocket in order to overcome the height issue. Manziel did step out of the pocket quite a lot during the game, but the Bengals caught on to the trick, and didn’t really collapse defensively because of the unorthodox methods.
Manziel himself said after the game that he needs to learn how to recognize the moment when it’s beneficial to step outside and when it’s time to stay in the pocket and find a pass route that’s not going to be batted down by the defensive ends. The big question isn’t whether he knows what he needs to fix or the team having a clue about the problems with him at quarterback. The question is whether there’s the ability to develop and move past these repetitive mistakes.
The Browns, 2-7 so far, have a road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers (having quarterback problems of their own) before they finally hit the bye week, with the season practically lost and over. For some reason they keep sticking to McCown as their #1 guy even though there’s no future (and not much of a present with him). Maybe it’s a disciplinary/educational tool with Manziel, or maybe despite all the high talk about progress and work, they have no intention of even trying to find out more about what he can do for them in the future.