TUESDAY, 1:13pm: The Browns have made it official, announcing in a press release that Manziel will start this week.
MONDAY, 10:22am: Another week, another new starting quarterback for the Browns. According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Cleveland will turn back to Johnny Manziel as its starting quarterback in Week 14, two weeks after benching the second-year signal-caller as discipline for his off-field behavior.
While the Browns have yet to confirm that decision, Mortensen reports that Manziel will get the call next week unless he does something to jeopardize his status. Since Manziel’s last start for the Browns, the team has gone through two other starters, with Josh McCown getting the nod in Week 12 and Austin Davis being called upon for Week 13 after McCown landed on IR with a broken collarbone.
As I noted last week when the Browns announced Davis as their starter, it makes sense for the team to get another look at Manziel before the end of the season to get a better idea of where all their quarterbacks stand heading into 2016. Still, a source tells Mortensen that the organization is uncertain whether the 2014 first-round pick “can re-establish the hope” the Browns had in him when they drafted him.
Manziel, who turned 23 on Sunday, was initially removed from the starting job after photos surfaced of him partying at a nightclub in Austin during the team’s bye week. Reports indicated that the Texas A&M product lied to the Browns about the photos, though the club never confirmed that.
Assuming Manziel hangs onto the job the rest of the way, he’ll have some tough challenges ahead in the next four weeks. The Browns finish the season by playing the 49ers, Seahawks, Chiefs, and Steelers. Besides San Francisco, each of those teams ranks in the top half of the league in defensive DVOA, and all four clubs are coming off Week 13 wins.
Davis, whose offense could muster three points in Sunday’s blowout loss to the Bengals, will return to the No. 2 role behind Manziel.