Mike Pettine hasn’t appeared to be Johnny Manziel’s greatest advocate this year on the Cleveland Browns, but the head coach tried to dispel the notion he’s not behind his quarterback on Thursday, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.
#Browns Pettine on the perception Manziel is not his guy: "It's simply not the case. We have a good relationship"
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) December 10, 2015
Most of us who’ve watched Pettine deal with Manziel since before the start of training camp have a hard time buying this statement. In fact, if you took a poll, it’s likely more NFL people would buy what Mike Silver of NFL.com wrote as an interpretation, rather than Pettine’s own words.
'I just have zero trust in him and will only play him if my starter is injured, my backup sucks & owner demands it' https://t.co/93Qz016MqO
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) December 10, 2015
It’s been clear all season long that Pettine isn’t keen on Manziel, at the very least from a football perspective. He seems far more comfortable trotting mediocre veterans onto the field than he does playing the young guys like Manziel and running back Duke Johnson, who has been underutilized this year.
But now that Josh McCown is no longer available the rest of the way, and after Manziel’s two-game benching, Pettine’s hands are tied. He has to start the second-year player the Browns drafted in Round 1 or potentially lose his job, if what Jason Cole of Bleacher Report is hearing is correct.
We all know Manziel isn’t going to somehow spark a four-game winning streak to end the season, all by himself. There is too much systemically wrong inside Cleveland’s inner mechanisms and too much missing roster-wise for this team to win consistently. However, Pettine hasn’t done himself any favors this year keeping the young quarterback on the bench.
But at least the two men have a good relationship, right?