Manziel or McCown in Week 3?

Posted at 6:34 PM, Sep 20, 2015

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but it appears we have a quarterback controversy in Cleveland.

After leading the Browns to an impressive 28-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans in the home opener, Johnny Manziel is making a case for why he should start.

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Originally slated as the starter, Josh McCown sat out in Week 2 after suffering a concussion in Cleveland’s Week 1 loss to the New York Jets.'s Mike Cairns asked me in the newsroom who should start against the Oakland Raiders next week. 

My answer: Manziel.

Please, allow me to explain myself before the cyber-trolling begins. 

Let me start with a quote from Browns' veteran linebacker Paul Kruger following last week's loss.

"It boils down to having to deal with momentum," Kruger said.

Football is a game of skill, toughness, and speed, but let us not forget it's also a game of hot hands, momentum and lucky breaks (cue the Kit Kat song).

Manziel looked strong in Cleveland's home opener victory though his numbers weren't mind-blowing: 

  • Passing: 8 of 15 (53%)
  • Passing Yards: 172
  • TD Passes: 2
  • QB Rating 133.9
  • Fumbles: 2

And to be 100 percent honest, I believe McCown looked better in his opening drive against the Jets than Manziel has every drive since (besides the fumble at the goal line of course):

  • Passing: 5 of 8 (62 %)
  • Passing Yards: 49
  • Rushing Yards: 23 yards
  • Turnovers: 1 (fumble)

So if McCown is healthy, why shouldn't he start in Week 3?

Again: momentum. 

I believe head coach Mike Pettine made a big mistake last season by not starting Manziel over Hoyer against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 14. 

The week before, Hoyer struggled mightily against the Buffalo Bills, leading to Manziel taking over and throwing for 5 completions on 8 attempts and 63 yards; while rushing twice for 13 yards and a touchdown.

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Though the team lost 26-10, Manziel was playing with confidence and looked sharp.

But instead of starting the hot hand, Pettine went with Hoyer against the Colts. 

Hoyer ended up going 13 of 30 passing for 136 yards while throwing 2 interceptions and boasting a QB Rating of 29.3.

Though the performance was horrendous, the Browns only lost 25-24 on a last minute touchdown from Andrew Luck. 

Would Manziel have performed better against the Colts? I don't believe anyone can honestly answer that question, but I will say he would've had better momentum than Hoyer heading into that game.

After allowing Manziel to play in Buffalo, then deflating the rookie's confidence by starting Hoyer against Indianapolis, Pettine finally gave the starting nod to Manziel.

The former Heisman Trophy winner went on to fail miserably against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 15.

This brings me back to the 2015 season -- in particular Week 3 against the Raiders.

Manziel is playing with confidence, as seen in his 50-yard touchdown strike to Travis Benjamin during the fourth quarter in Sunday's victory.

The touchdown was a staple of the "Johnny Football Playbook."

The play broke down and the line started to collapse. Manziel spun, rolled left and bought some time, then found Benjamin open for the score.

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Pettine needs to realize Manziel is playing with confidence and should allow him to start against Oakland, who isn't the toughest of opponents.

The second-year coach shouldn't repeat last season's mistake and start McCown after Manziel played well and with confidence.

And furthermore, whether Cleveland likes it or not, it spent a first-round pick on Manziel.

He is the future of your franchise; not McCown.

Let Manziel string a body of work together and develop against the likes of Tennessee and Oakland.

If he can't lead you to victory against bottom dwellers in the league, McCown is there to step in and help. 

Pettine needs to let McCown play the role of veteran back-up to Manziel and help develop him.

So there it is, Tim's Take on why the Browns should start Manziel over McCown in Week 3.

Thanks for reading Dawg Pound faithful, 

- Tim


Do you agree or disagree with me? Join me on Dawgs On The Run this Monday at 7:30 a.m. where we'll discuss who should be starting. You don't have to hold back if you disagree - because there are no rules on the show. So let me have it Dawg Pound! You can join the conversation (or yelling) -- just call (216) 431-3820 or Skype DAWGSontherun. 


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