Punch Drunk Wonderland

Johnny Manziel to start for Cleveland, but he must be really bad.

At long last and after much deliberation Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine has announced that the move is finally being made to start Johnny Manziel in Week 15. For the record, I’ve never been on the Manziel bandwagon and I don’t expect much out of him. That said, you have to assume the high profile rookie would get a shot at some point on a team with such offensive struggles. I find it very telling that it took this long for Pettine to make the decision.

It would be an understatement to say that quarterback Brian Hoyer has struggled in recent weeks. He has thrown 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2014, and over the last five weeks he’s managed only 1 touchdown while chucking up 8 interceptions. That is beyond abysmal. The kicker, this team has been in the playoff hunt. Until the last few weeks Cleveland has had a piece of the number one spot in the AFC North, and they are still in the race despite their offensive (in more than one sense) woes. So, it begs the question…If you’re fighting for a playoff spot, how can you stick with a quarterback that is playing this terribly if you have another option?

The answer: The other option most not be a very good one. Mike Pettine and his coaching staff see these players every day and they know what they have. There is certainly something to be said about giving a rookie the chance to develop and making sure they aren’t thrown into the fire too soon. But, in the end it comes down to skill and whether or not a player has NFL talent. If, while in the middle of a playoff race, the Cleveland coaching staff can’t look at their struggling quarterback and feel certain about a switch to Manziel, then that says it all. They just aren’t sure. They aren’t certain Manziel can give them anything better, amidst a chase for a division title, than 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Than a 55% completion percentage. Than a 75 passer rating. They just aren’t certain fourteen games into the season that they have any quarterback talent on the team that can help them, so it took weeks upon weeks of struggling to finally make the switch.

Johnny Manziel must be really bad. That’s unfortunate for the Cleveland Browns. I think it makes one thing abundantly clear. We shouldn’t be expecting a playoff appearance from Cleveland any time soon. Sorry northern Ohio.

K. Smelser About K. Smelser
Kelly Smelser is Owner/Senior Writer for Punch Drunk Wonderland and PDFantasy Sports. Architect of the PDW fantasy football world and general spinster of NFL and Fantasy Football news and analysis. Long walks on the beach, sunsets, and other such niceties are also fine...