Is Johnny Manziel the answer in Cleveland? Rich Gannon, B/R Radio debate

Sunday may have marked the beginning of an era for the Cleveland Browns.

With 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter, trailing 20-3 to the Buffalo Bills, head coach Mike Pettine benched Brian Hoyer, who had quarterbacked the team to a 7-4 record heading into the week, for rookie Johnny Manziel.

Manziel didn’t disappoint on his opening drive, guiding the Browns on an eight-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in a 10-yard rushing touchdown for Johnny Football. He didn’t have any additional magic up his sleeve, though, as the Browns failed to score again, and fell, 26-10. The loss dropped the Browns to 7-5, 1-1/2 games behind the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North, and by virtue of tiebreakers, 10th place in the AFC playoff race.

Monday on SiriusXM Sports, SiriusXM NFL Radio’s Rich Gannon and SiriusXM Bleacher Report Radio’s Josh Zerkle weighed in on the quarterback situation in Cleveland, which remains unresolved as Pettine has yet to name a Week 14 starter.

Gannon: A risky move

I think it does complicate their playoff run. The thing about Hoyer was, he’s a smart guy, maybe not the most talented, but he kind of puts you in a position most of the time to have a chance to win games. He had done some good things, and the players respect his leadership and his command of the offense. And now, when you play Manziel, if you decide to go that way the rest of the way, it’s on-the-job training. He’s gonna make some mistakes. He’s gonna bring some creativity and excitement to the offense, he’s a different type of player than Brian Hoyer, but I think it’s a risky move on the part of Mike Pettine to make that change at this point.

Zerkle: Hoyer always looking over his shoulder

I don’t know if it’s Brian Hoyer [who gives the Browns the best chance to win], which is something it kind of pains me to say. I think if Johnny Manziel wasn’t in his rear view, I think Hoyer would still be the guy. I think part of the reason that Hoyer has become unbuckled to some extent is because he’s had that sort of distraction behind him. … That team needs their quarterback situation shored up. I don’t know if bringing a guy in who’s been sitting with a clipboard up his butt for three months is gonna be the answer to that. Look, Johnny Manziel gives you another definition, another wrinkle on offense that you don’t really have with Hoyer. Maybe that’s enough to get you through the rest of your schedule. I don’t know at this point. I feel like it’s awfully, awfully late to be changing things up, even if it is for a guy that’s as talented as Johnny Manziel right now.

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