Although the Cleveland Browns lost starting quarterback Josh McCown for the season, the team isn’t backing down from Mike Pettine’s decision to demote Johnny Manziel after an off-field incident.
Via the franchise’s Twitter account, Cleveland announced Austin Davis will be the starter for the Week 13 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. Pettine said of the decision:
“Austin took advantage of his opportunity on Monday night. He was prepared, played well and put us in position to win. He’s been great in the quarterback room all season and he has earned the right to start on Sunday. We expect him to play well.”
It wasn’t the popular choice, but Pettine is sticking to his word after finally surrendering and attempting to give Manziel a chance.
Early in the team’s bye week, the second-year coach announced Manziel would be the starter for the remainder of the 2015 season. However, the young quarterback spent the weekend partying and lied to the team when reports emerged about his liquid-infused escapades.
Pettine turned back to McCown, who sustained a collarbone injury during Monday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Davis stepped in, completing 7-of-10 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. Despite a last-minute time-management breakdown, Cleveland was in position to kick a game-winning field goal.
Even though that didn’t go as planned, either, Davis at least gave the Browns a chance to win.
The Browns are in a bad spot, but Pettine and his coaching staff deserve some credit for not giving into pressure after a week of strong statements that Manziel had lost their trust—even if it’s not the popular or forward-thinking choice.