Johnny Manziel’s punishment is over.
One day after saying that he wasn’t ready to name a starting quarterback, Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine issued a statement giving Manziel the nod over Austin Davis.
“Johnny will be our starting quarterback on Sunday,” Pettine said. “He’s been solid in the building over the last couple of weeks and we are hopeful he takes this opportunity to continue to build on the progress he’s made on the field throughout the season.
“The goal for every game is to go out and win, and Johnny needs to show that he can put us in position to do so during these last four weeks of the season.”
Manziel was originally scheduled to start the final six games of the season, but after spending much of the summer in rehab, he was benched when pictures of him drinking and partying in Texas surfaced over the team’s bye week. Josh McCown retained his starting job in Week 11 against Baltimore, but sustained a season-ending broken collarbone. Davis then took over for Week 12, but was ineffective in a blowout loss to the Bengals.
So now Manziel will get four games to show that he can be the Browns’ quarterback of the future. He has shown some bright spots, especially in avoiding interceptions and throwing deep balls, but he gets sacked too much and needs to improve his short-passing touch.
If Manziel doesn’t improve, the 2-10 Browns will have to consider taking a quarterback high in next spring’s draft, instead of filling another hole.