This may have been an easier question to answer if Johnny Manziel was not seen roaming Texas A&M's campus this past weekend -- a near bye week given that the Browns played in Cincinnati that Thursday. There has always been a desire within the facility to see Manziel fully commit himself to the game and to not pop up on game-day Instagram posts or weekend Twitter pictures.
Although this is part of what makes Manziel great -- the general fearlessness, the self determination and the penchant for risk taking -- it's also probably a great source of frustration. As Cleveland.com noted this week once the pictures surfaced, everyone in the building was likely holding their breath and hoping that nothing salacious surfaced on the internet, especially since a separate Oct. 12 incident in which Manziel admitted he was drinking is still under league review.
McCown sat out of Tuesday's practice but Mike Pettine will likely face the same double-edged sword he's been running from all season long if McCown is cleared for Sunday.
Josh McCown is clearly the better option on the field, but he's 36. Manziel has shown moments of greatness, but he's very much 22.
The Browns are 2-7 and still have two games against the Steelers remaining, another contest against the Bengals, and a December date with the Seahawks in Seattle. Sure, it would make sense for Manziel to play out the string, but what if it's worse than we expected? Owner Jimmy Haslam as all but promised to bring the same cast and crew back for the 2016 season, and what type of message would a floundering Manziel send to end 2015?
"As I've said all along, we'll make the decision each week based on who gives us the best opportunity to win," Pettine told reporters on Friday, his last comments on the situation.
Whatever Pettine decides on Tuesday will certainly be telling.