Digging himself a bigger hole than ever before, Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine is dragging out the inevitable.
After rumors came out that Johnny Manziel would start on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, Pettine once again proved his stubbornness knows no bounds. Per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, he reporters he was “not prepared to name a starting quarterback” for this weekend’s game. He added, “I haven’t spoken to the quarterbacks yet. That’s where we are with it.”
What’s becoming alarmingly clear about the Browns this year is that the quarterback situation is the least of the team’s problems.
Pettine and his staff have bungled the entire thing from the start. The defense, which has been among the league’s most stout the past few seasons and should have been again this year, has been abysmal. And the offense, despite featuring one of the NFL’s most impressive offensive lines, can’t run the ball to save its life (worst in the NFL).
This is all the more perplexing when you consider the Browns have one of the most dynamic rookie running backs in the league in Duke Johnson, who has been under-utilized from the get-go.
Instead of letting young players like Manziel and Johnson develop, Pettine and his staff have stuck with mediocre veterans all season long, and the results speak for themselves. The embarrassing 37-3 loss to Cincinnati on Thursday night was the pinnacle of sadness for this team, which is now 2-10 heading into the final four games of the season.
We all know Manziel is a punk kid sometimes who (gasp!) acts like a 22-year-old frat boy. Thanks to social media, his every move is cataloged by fans, but can you imagine what a guy like Ken Stabler would have been caught doing if he played in today’s NFL?
There is no reason for Pettine to drag this out any more. Manziel served his two-game faux suspension, and now it’s time to get him back into the game.