North Notes: Browns, J. Thomas, Lions

With Josh McCown bothered by a painful rib injury, second-year quarterback Johnny Manziel got the nod for the Browns on Thursday night. The returns weren’t great, with Manziel struggling in the second half, completing less than 50% of his passes as the Browns fell 31-10 to the division-rival Bengals.

Still, there were some positive signs for the former 22nd overall pick, who threw for 128 yards and a touchdown in the first half. Was it enough for the Browns to give him another start? Head coach Mike Pettine wasn’t ready to commit to that following the game, as Pat McManamon of writes.

“When we get in and get back from this time off, we will assess what pool of players are available and go ahead and make those decisions from there,” Pettine said. “This will be a good time to step away and reassess where we are moving forward.”

As the Browns figure out who their starting quarterback will be the next time they take the field, let’s check in on some other items from out of the NFL’s North divisions….

  • All-Pro Browns left tackle Joe Thomas was nearly dealt to the Broncos at the trade deadline on Tuesday, and while he admitted he would have been “really crushed” to leave Cleveland, he added that he’s not upset the team considered moving him. “It doesn’t really bother me that they listened to people that offered things,” Thomas said, per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “It’s kind of like you’re walking down the street and somebody says, ‘Hey, nice watch. You want to sell it?’ You say, ‘Well, it’s not for sale.’ But then you think and go, ‘Well, what will you give me?’ It’s just a matter of what the price is. Obviously, from the sounds of it, it was close but no cigar.”
  • Having watched Dwayne Bowe outperform Taylor Gabriel in Thursday’s game, Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk wonders why the Browns have been playing Gabriel over Bowe for most of the season. In Smith’s view, the fact that Bowe hasn’t seen much playing time after Cleveland gave him $9MM in guaranteed money speaks to a possible disconnect between GM Ray Farmer and head coach Mike Pettine.
  • After seeing GM Martin Mayhew and president Tom Lewand get axed yesterday by the Lions, Detroit players acknowledged that major changes to the roster could be the next shoe to drop. “When new people come in, they obviously feel like the people who were here weren’t getting the job done, so they try to bring in their own guys,” safety Glover Quin said, according to Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. “Everybody, at least for me, I feel like everybody’s on the chopping block. Everybody’s job is on the line.”
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