Anyone who watched a snap of the Cleveland Browns' performance of sadness in a 30-0 shutdown by the Cincinnati Bengals knows it. Manziel took blame for a terrible 27.3 passer rating and historically low QBR rating.
However, former 13-year NFL cornerback Eric Davis placed the blame elsewhere Monday morning on NFL Network's NFL AM.
"Mike Pettine's decision to put him in is one of the worst coaching decisions of the last decade," Davis said. "You have a team that you said you put another guy, (Brian) Hoyer, in place because he was the guy that gave you the best chance to win. Your team is still in the hunt for a playoff spot, and you decide because of his play, that OK now as opposed to coaching this guy up who you said gave you the best chance, you're gonna blame it on him, pull him out and you put this guy in? Who you've been telling me all year long, you've been telling the press he's not ready, and you put him out there?
"That's why I said last week, if I were a veteran player on that team, I would have been upset, because you told me you quit on our season by putting him in. That's what you did. You quit on everything that we had done as a team, not Brian Hoyer, but what the team had done. That was a horrible coaching decision, so I can't blame it all on Johnny Manziel because Johnny Manziel wasn't ready to play. You know how I know? Mike Pettine told me so. That's how I know."
Manziel certainly didn't look ready Sunday, making too many college throws and pitiful reads.
However, Pettine's decision was made after weeks of watching Hoyer flounder. With a shot at the playoffs woefully hindered after a Week 14 loss, the coach -- who has overachieved this season -- gambled the rookie could push them to a winning streak. He lost.
Hindsight is biased. Had Pettine stuck with Hoyer and gotten blown out Sunday, the coach would have been blasted for not seeing what his rookie could offer.
Maybe Johnny Football isn't ready. But ready or not, he'll finish the last two games, as the Browns need to evaluate their first-round pick in real games.
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