Cleveland Browns' Week 14 Stock Report
The Cleveland Browns remain a two-win team after falling to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 13, 37-3. The loss has prompted the team to make a few changes to its starting lineup for Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers.
With that loss and those changes in mind, here is the Browns' stock report for Week 14.
Stock Up: QB Johnny Manziel
After a two-week benching, the Browns decided it was indeed time for Johnny Manziel to get back on the football field, with head coach Mike Pettine naming him the team's starting quarterback for Week 14 against the San Francisco 49ers.
It will be Manziel's fourth start of the season and his eighth game appearance this year. So far, he has completed 76 of his 128 pass attempts for 933 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. He's been sacked 14 times and has rushed 17 times for 90 yards.
On Wednesday, Pettine discussed the Manziel situation: “We have a guy that we've invested a lot in. We have four games left, and this will give us a good sense of where we are with that room moving forward."
But, according to Pettine, Manziel's leash is short: "It would be hard for me to sit here and say we have a zero-tolerance policy, but if something [off-the-field] were to occur, I could imagine that the repercussions would be harsh.”
Manziel will at least get another chance to prove himself as a quarterback and teammate this week, and if things go well on and off the field, he should maintain that starting job for the remainder of the season.
Stock Down: QB Austin Davis
Quarterback Austin Davis made his Cleveland debut in Week 13, and his performance simply was not good enough to warrant the Browns giving him another start.
Against the Cincinnati Bengals, Davis completed 25 of his 38 pass attempts for 230 yards and no touchdowns. He was picked off once, sacked three times and lost a fumble. The only points Davis led the Browns to was via a field goal, and the team never reached the red zone on his watch.
Davis will likely serve as the backup quarterback for the rest of the season. But he could have an opportunity to get back in the starting mix in 2016, provided the Browns choose to honor his contract for another year.
Stock Up: OL Austin Pasztor
Offensive lineman Austin Pasztor has played only 11 snaps for the Browns this year, according to Pro Football Focus, including nine in Week 13. But he's now the team's new starting left guard after the team placed Joel Bitonio on injured reserve this week and determined that rookie Cameron Erving is not suited for the job.
Last week, Pasztor gave up two quarterback hurries but no sacks or hits in his limited playing time. But the Browns are hopeful that he can do even better with a full game's worth of work. Coach Mike Pettine said, "Austin is a guy here on campus that we also want to see play, and he has been great since he has been here. He works his tail off and he knows what to do."
We'll see if that's the case on Sunday.
Stock Down: OL Cameron Erving
The Browns have turned to rookie offensive lineman Cameron Erving in Joel Bitonio's absence with an ankle injury. But the experiment with the one-time center being moved out of position is over, as Austin Pasztor has been given the start at left guard this week.
Head coach Mike Pettine said that Erving "has made critical mistakes and ones that have had a big effect, whether it is giving up a quarterback hit or a sack." However, he added, "We have not lost confidence or faith in Cam."
Still, Erving has allowed one sack, three quarterback hits and 11 hurries in four games at left guard and has also struggled as a run-blocker. He'll have to wait until 2016 to play again, and likely at center, given that Alex Mack can opt out of his contract with the Browns in the offseason.
Stock Up: WR Darius Jennings
Browns wide receiver Darius Jennings was called up from the practice squad last week, mostly in response to the myriad injuries suffered by the team's receiving corps. Taylor Gabriel and Andrew Hawkins were out with concussions, and Dwayne Bowe and Terrelle Pryor were healthy scratches for Week 13.
It was good that the Browns called Jennings up. Travis Benjamin suffered a shoulder injury early in the game and did not return, Brian Hartline suffered a bruised thigh that slowed him in the contest and Marlon Moore also suffered rib injuries.
Jennings had a good performance, with five catches on seven targets for 35 yards, including a long reception of 16 yards. And with Gabriel and Hawkins not practicing on Wednesday and Hartline and Moore both limited, he could be seeing more playing time this week.