The moment has arrived. On Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, Cleveland Browns Head coach Mike Pettine announced that highly-touted rookie QB Johnny Manziel will get his first ever NFL start, on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014 against AFC North division rival Cincinnati Bengals. With a record of 7-6, the Cleveland Browns are on the fringes of the NFL Wild Card playoff race. The Browns beat the Bengals 24-3 in Week Nine. Sunday’s game will be played in Cleveland, in front of what will no doubt be a jam-packed stadium of Cleveland faithful. Indeed, the Dog pound will be barking loudly.
Browns QB Brian Hoyer started the first 13 games of the season for Cleveland, but had been getting progressively weaker as the season went on. The Browns have lost two in a row, and are just 1-3 in the last four games. Over that four game span, Hoyer had thrown one TD pass, and eight INT’s; while his QB rating went steadily down, from 61.3 in Week 11, to 31.7 in Week 14. The final straw was this past weekend, when the Browns did everything right, held a 14 point lead in the 3rd Quarter, and should have beaten the Indianapolis Colts, but Hoyer faltered badly.
The timing is perfect for this QB switch, and the Cleveland Browns’ fans have been screaming for it. Now it is going to happen.
Manziel, AKA “Johnny Football”, was the Brown’s 1st Rd Draft pick (22nd overall) in the 2014 NFL Draft. The pride of Tyler, TX, Manziel played his college ball at Texas A&M. He won the Heisman Trophy in 2012, along with virtually ever other significant College football award that year, including AP Player of the year. Manziel has a reputation for partying a little too hard, and his critics say that he does not have the mental discipline to play quarterback at the NFL level. We shall soon see. Let the Johnny Manziel era begin.
The Browns and Bengals are not just division rivals, but intrastate rivals as well. In this “battle of Ohio”, Cincinnati Head coach Marvin Lewis already fired a preemptive strike, when he referred to Manziel, as a “midget.” This game should be fun.