Home » Blog » McCown’s Night Proves Browns Can’t Give Up On Manziel Yet

McCown’s Night Proves Browns Can’t Give Up On Manziel Yet


Week 2 of the NFL preseason opened up with a mixed bag in Cleveland on Friday night, as the Browns and Bills took to the field for the culmination of their week-long joint practice sessions.

Despite the low score, the 11-10 victory by Buffalo made for a deceptively entertaining game of football. The extended presence of both teams’ starting quarterbacks felt more akin to a week 3 game – typically considered a “dress rehearsal” for opening day – as Josh McCown and Tyrod Taylor led their respective franchises in the first half, before Johnny Manziel and EJ Manuel played out the last two quarters.

But after an entire offseason of nothing but solidarity from the Browns regarding their quarterback situation, projected starter McCown struggled mightily against the Bills’ blitzing pass rush and swarming secondary. McCown ended the night 7/10 for 57 yards; his stat line somewhat salvaged by a moderately productive drive against the Bills second-team defense that resulted in a field goal before the half.

Included in his play were two interceptions. While the first was tipped off the hands of a receiver, the second was a misdirected deep ball snared by rookie corner Ronald Darby. Numbers aside, McCown frequently looked flustered and panicked behind an often-overwhelmed O-line.

Manziel, on the other hand, seemed to handle Rex Ryan’s exotic blitzes with a lot more comfort. Namely, by running away from them as quickly as possible. A conventional performance it was not, but his 10/18 completions for 118 yards and a touchdown – with a few smart runs to boot – showed promise and improvement in an offense he’s yet to fully take the reigns of.

It was only a couple of boneheaded penalties from his teammates that kept Manziel from breaking the game open. His throws on the run looked fluid, and he showed renewed commitment towards keeping his eyes downfield on broken plays.

Some of what transpired wasn’t directly McCown’s fault, but tonight, a national audience witnessed what could be in store for the Browns when they face pressure in the regular season. The 36-year-old McCown is no scrambler. He isn’t even a quarterback who can buy time in the pocket.

The sample size is still too small to make a final judgment, but Manziel did enough tonight to prove he at least deserves a shot at leading the starting offense. Should the Browns fail to give him that opportunity soon, they’ll have only themselves – not another “draft bust” – to blame.

  • 100%