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Manziel Earns Starting Job in Loss to Pittsburgh

Johnny Manziel has earned the starting quarterback job for the Cleveland Browns following his play against Pittsburgh. The Browns decision to stick with Manziel for the last six games of this season was not a decision of why not, as it is much more complicated than just, “why not.”

Manziel has earned his spot under center with his play against Pittsburgh. The Browns lost but Manziel did enough to show the coaches it was time to see what more he can do.

Mike Pettine the Cleveland head coach has made it very clear during the season that Manziel would not play just because – he was picked in the first round, the team was losing or because Cleveland needed to see what its first round pick has.

That is not what Pettine is all about. He needed to believe that Manziel deserved to play, a reason to believe Cleveland’s offense would not be as disappointing as it was November 5 in Cincinnati.

Manziel gave Pettine the reason Sunday against Pittsburgh, when he had 372 yards passing and ran his offense as an NFL quarterback should.

What is the strangest of things is that Cleveland did not want Manziel to play against Pittsburgh. Had their starter Josh McCown been healthy enough to play, he would have started.

If McCown would have kept the game competitive, he would likely be starting against Baltimore on Monday night. However, McCown was advised by doctors to not play and Manziel was given his chance to play.

Unlike the chance he fumbled away against Cincinnati, Manziel took it to Pittsburgh. He threw from the comfort of the pocket. He made third down throws. He was able to read the Steelers defense and take what it gave him. He likely could have had two additional touchdown passes but a receiver dropped on and one was called back on a penalty.

He ran the times he had to but was never at risk of running recklessly or too quickly.

As well as he played against Pittsburgh, he must sustain that against Baltimore. He must know the other 52 players on the Browns are relying on him to be the consummate professional in a bye week and into the week’s preparation for their next game.

He told his supporters he would not do anything that would distract the team or embarrass the organization while on a bye week.

He has finally received the chance that he and the many supporters that follow him have wanted.

He could prove he belongs as the starter the rest of the season and give the Browns a better feeling starting the off season.

However, lets not get ahead of ourselves as we learn from the past and that means anything could happen going forward.

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