The Browns are not walking back on their punishment of Johnny Manziel.
The team announced it will start Austin Davis(Austin Davis Jersey) — not Manziel — against the Bengals this Sunday in a clear indication that at least some members of the Browns’ power structure are intent on teaching Manziel a lesson. NFL Media’s Rand Getlin was first to report the news.
The Browns confirmed Davis as the starter later in the morning.
“Austin took advantage of his opportunity on Monday night,” Pettine said in an article posted to the team’s web site. “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 expect him to play well.”
Pettine said that Manziel is not done for the season and could see the field at some point this year.
“We’ll revisit this,” he said, per The Plain Dealer. “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’s going to be here on out.’ These are two young quarterbacks that have upside and we want to see what that upside is. So Austin’s the guy for this week.”
While Manziel might get another chance, Pettine is willing to sacrifice what could be a crucial evaluation period at the end of this lost season to instead show Manziel that there are consequences for lying to the staff and jumping back into an old hard-partying lifestyle.
Photos and videos of Manziel partying emerged following the team’s bye week, just a short time after Pettine named him the starter for the remainder of the season. After researching the origin and timing of the photos and videos, Pettine made Manziel the team’s third-string quarterback against the Ravens on Monday. When Josh McCown was injured, he sent Davis into the game.
If nothing else, credit Pettine for sticking to his guns. This cannot be an easy — or remotely popular — decision in Cleveland. There’s a safe bet that even some of the major power players inside the building would prefer to see their first-round quarterback against the in-state rivals. Manziel was actually improving quite nicely despite the team’s dismal record.
Though Davis is just 26, and even drew some comparisons to a young Brett Favre, he was not billed as “the answer” to an endless timeline of quarterback woes in Cleveland. Perhaps he will play well to end the season, but will that solve anything?