On the heels of a 372-yard passing performance in Week 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Johnny Manziel will reportedly be the Cleveland Browns' starting quarterback for the remainder of the 2015 season.
"I was a little caught off guard, watching film this morning, coach came and grabbed me," said Manziel on how he heard the news, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com
Manziel started in place of injured veteran Josh McCown (ribs) the past two games. The Browns lost to the Cincinnati Bengals and Steelers by a combined score of 61-19 over the last two weeks, but Manziel showed signs of life.
"I've learned a lot this year," Manziel said, per Cabot. "Pett said big step last week. Want to continue to show progress."
"I let (Pett) know I'm not going to do anything to be an embarrassment to the organization," Manziel added, per Cabot.
Head coach Mike Pettine liked what he saw out of Manziel against Pittsburgh as he completed 33 of 45 passes for one touchdown and one interception, resulting in a 95.8 quarterback rating.
"We've invested a lot in [him]," Pettine said, per Cabot.
Even McCown complimented Manziel's performance, per Andrew Gribble of ClevelandBrowns.com:
For him to be effective from the pocket first—you just look at it and look at our league, and the guys that are successful, they are successful from the pocket—I was proud of him because he was so effective from the pocket. Then when all the other stuff happens, it is icing on the cake. Yesterday, I thought he captured that and had a great balance of those things. I think that is why he was so effective.
Cleveland selected Manziel with the No. 22 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft out of Texas A&M. The Browns signed 36-year-old McCown during the offseason, and while he has turned in a couple of strong performances, he's obviously just a short-term option.
With Cleveland struggling to a 2-8 record and having essentially no chance of qualifying for a playoff spot, it makes sense for Pettine to see what he has in his 22-year-old signal-caller rather than close the book on him without giving him a fair shake.
Manziel detailed how he has become more comfortable running the offense this season, via Gribble:
There have been times throughout the season where protection wise I was like, ‘Man, this really makes sense what I didn’t understand in the preseason and here is how we handle it.’ I didn’t have to learn anything like this or know any of these types of protections and schemes. Now, being a second year into it and knowing a little bit more about defenses and fronts, it has been a gradual progression to get to where I am at today.
The Browns will next take on the Ravens in Week 12 on Monday Night Football.
"Coach Pett said I couldn't ask for a better stage," Manziel noted on his debut as full-time starter, per Cabot.
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