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Manziel: It's a 'great opportunity' to start for Browns

It came as a surprise to Johnny Manziel.

"I was a little caught off guard, watching film this morning, coach (Mike Pettine) came and grabbed me," Manziel told reporters Tuesday after being named Cleveland's starting quarterback going forward, per The Plain Dealer.

Calling it a "great opportunity," Manziel acknowledged that he's "learned a lot this year" and wants to show more progress for a team that made him the No. 22 overall pick in last year's draft.

For Johnny, the job starts off the field, where he promised that nobody "has to worry about me" during the bye week, saying: "I let (Pettine) know I'm not going to do anything to be an embarrassment to the organization."

He was anything but embarrassing during Sunday's 30-9 loss to the Steelers. He still needs work, but Manziel looked decisive in throwing the ball for 372 yards with a 73 percent completion rate. Getting zero help from a dismal ground game and a gaggle of teammates who piled up 12 penalties for 188 yards, Johnny showed a live arm in spreading the ball to seven separate targets. His chemistry with deep threat Travis Benjamin bubbled up again as the duo connected for 113 yards off seven targets.

"He deserves this opportunity," Pettine said Tuesday, acknowledging the team has "invested a lot in" Manziel, who will make his next appearance in Week 12 against the Ravens on Monday Night Football.

That investment alone is reason to roll with Johnny. Sitting on a potential top-three draft pick, the logical course for Cleveland is to find out everything they can about Manziel and the quarterback position before next year's selection process.

Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are starting weekly and playing through the growing pains every young passer endures before finding out what exists on the other side. 

Churning through endless young quarterbacks and coaches, the Browns are in desperate need of stability. At best, Cleveland's coaching staff discovers that Manziel can start and produce and be counted on, changing the entire complexion of the upcoming offseason and likely saving many jobs in the process. At worst, your top draft need is crystal clear.

Either way, it's time for Johnny to go through the fire.

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