Can Manziel step up his game against undefeated Bengals?
With Josh McCown’s status uncertain, the Cleveland Browns may turn to Johnny Manziel to lead the team on their Thursday night road contest against Cincinnati. Neither quarterback has been great this year with McCown at an overall rating of 60.0, while Manziel is not far behind at 53.4.
Manziel has played a fourth of the snaps McCown has, with his only start coming in Week 2 against the Titans. The Browns won that game by 14 points despite Manziel only throwing 14 times. Both of his touchdowns came on 20+ yard throws down the middle. Unfortunately for Manziel, the Bengals haven’t allowed a single completion in that “zone” in seven attempts — two of which ended in interceptions.
Cleveland has one of the better offensive lines when it comes to PFF’s pass blocking efficiency metric. They’re currently fifth at 82.8, surrendering only nine sacks and 14 QB hits. A traditional dropback passer, McCown only saw pressure 35.3 percent of the time. Manziel has been pressured on 52.4 percent of his dropbacks this year, often undone by his own improvisation.
The Browns face a daunting task going on the road on a short week against a divisional opponent. We’ll see if Cleveland can build off what was a good start to the season before they crumbled and catch the Bengals off guard coming off their big road win at Pittsburgh.