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Opinion: Keeping Johnny Manziel on bench is a stupid decision by the Browns

Courtesy of USA Today Sports

The Cleveland Browns are not yet ready to commit to Johnny Manziel, since head coach Mike Pettine announced Austin Davis will start in Week 13 against the Cincinnati Bengals.

“Austin took advantage of his opportunity on Monday night. He was prepared, played well and put us in position to win,” Pettine said, per Andrew Gribble of the team’s official site. “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.”

With the 2-9 Browns going nowhere in the AFC North and only five regular-season games left to play, the team’s decision to let Manziel waste away on the bench when he could be getting more experience under center is stupid.

In Manziel’s three starts this season, he has achieved a 100.4 quarterback rating while completing 57.3 percent of his passes for a total of 711 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.

His last start, which came in Week 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, was by far his best, when Manziel threw for 372 yards on a 73.3 completion percentage. The team unfortunately lost, but Manziel’s excellent performance was enough to earn him the starting job.

That was, until the quarterback decided to get caught live on video partying it up for multiple nights during the team’s bye week, which earned him a spot in the Browns’ doghouse.

While the Browns feel like benching Manziel—for what might be the remainder of the season at this point—is the right thing to do, the organization is not benefiting from him standing on the sideline.

If Cleveland’s plans for the 2016 season include removing the training wheels and letting Manziel start, the team needs to give him more opportunity to perform this season.

Though at this point, if the Browns are not willing to just let him get out there and play for a solid stretch of games—an opportunity he hasn’t been afforded since getting drafted in 2014—they can’t expect his skills to develop or for him to flourish as a starter.

Unless Cleveland is planning on handing him the reins in 2016, the organization might as well rid themselves of Manziel and trade him during the offseason.