It was another sad Sunday afternoon for the Cleveland Browns.
The Dawg Pound and faithful fans had to sit back and watch the Browns squander away a 20-7 lead, en route to dropping the third game in a row.
The game was in hand at one point.
However, the injury bug, poor play-calling, poor execution on both offense and defense, and good old Browns luck doomed the team.
Josh McCown has been battered and beaten all year.
The 36-year-old journeyman is tough as they come, taking shot after shot but refusing to come out.
For some, it is inspiring to see such heart out of such a well-traveled signal caller.
For others, it is insanity to think the coaching staff allowed McCown to endure the punishment.
As McCown crouched down in agony nearing the end of the third quarter, Manziel took 3 steps towards the field, but was immediately held back.
McCown took a few more hits before the game was lost, and Manziel entered.
Some fans are screaming to the coaching staff, demanding answers as to why Manziel hasn’t been put in yet.
Why McCown continues to lead the team, even though he has only led the team to one victory this year.
The other victory, of course, was the Tennessee game in which Manziel was at the helm.
It’s no secret that McCown is a quarterback with a poor track-record in the wins and losses columns.
But McCown has produced good numbers this season.
Regardless, fans want production from the team.
They want to be taking about meaningful games late in the season.
So why is Johnny Football being held back?
One likely reason is because Manziel has yet to prove he is mature enough to handle the job.
The latest off-the-field fiasco by Manziel involved a domestic dispute with his longtime girlfriend Colleen Crowley.
Manziel admitted to having a few drinks before the incident.
Although charges were never pressed and Manziel received no punishment from the NFL, coach Mike Pettine could be making a statement by not playing Manziel.
Pettine and the Browns may be trying to show Johnny that the job is partly about winning games, and partly about maturity and pride in the team you play for, and the sport you play.
Pettine might be trying to teach Manziel about conducting himself in a way that is conducive to winning.
Much to the contrary, the decision may be more about which player the organization feels gives them the best chance of winning.
It was only last season that Manziel debuted and fell on his face; badly.
Even with the win against the Titans this year, the coaches may still feel McCown is the better quarterback simply because he gives them the best chance of winning.
Which would be an interesting standpoint considering McCown has posted a record of 2-15 as a starter in the last two seasons combined.
Manziel has a limited sample size of his skill, and the team may be siding with the signal-caller with more experience, rather than hype.
Some speculation has been made that the choice may be more about keeping the trade value of Manziel high.
This would seem to be slightly contradictory, considering teams may not be willing to take a chance on a player with only a few games under his belt.
Regardless of the reasoning behind Pettine deciding to keep McCown in through excruciating pain, it would seem that Manziel still has yet to earn his way into the starting line-up.
Up next is a Thursday night showdown with the 7-0 Bengals.
McCown will start if healthy, with Manziel waiting on the sidelines to be given an opportunity.
Regardless of who is under center, the Browns fans will be begging for the team to finally show some signs of life.
And for now, they will have to wait and see if it is Manziel or not.
- Hiring of Hue Jackson Earns High Marks - 14 January 2016
- Romo Not the Only Issue In Dallas - 9 November 2015
- Why the Browns are unwilling to take a chance on Manziel - 3 November 2015