Johnny Manziel still hasn't proven he's better than Josh McCown
Cleveland Browns QB Josh McCown suffered a concussion early in Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, forcing Johnny Manziel into action much sooner than expected for head coach Mike Pettine.
In Manziel’s unexpected Week 1 outing, he looked solid on his first drive, completing a pair of pass attempts for 67 yards, the second being a 54-yard touchdown pass to WR Travis Benjamin. He also demonstrated the mobility that made him so popular in college on a third-down run that was nullified by a penalty.
The second half did not go well for Manziel, however, as he threw an interception and fumbled twice after holding on to the ball for too long. Those three turnovers led to 21 points for the Jets — which coincided with the final margin of the 31-10 game.
He finished with a disappointing -2.6 PFF game grade on his 52 snaps, including a -2.7 passing grade and +0.5 running grade.
Manziel graded terribly last year in his 79 snaps, but there was still a legitimate argument to give him a chance over McCown based on the fact that McCown had already proven to be a replacement-level starter. He also fared slightly better in the two 2015 preseason games he played in, and you could at least argue he offers higher upside on the basis of his not having played much to this point. That’s still true after Week 1, as he didn’t even see a full game’s worth of action in that one. And to be fair, McCown graded out at -1.3 in just 19 snaps — not exactly a resounding case that he should be starting, either.
It’s unlikely we’ll see Manziel be head coach Mike Pettine’s choice once McCown is ready to return healthy to the field, however — at least based on how he performed Sunday.