The Cleveland Browns went into their Thursday night matchup against the 7-0 Cincinnati Bengals with another dismal start to their season at 2-6 and a blurred vision of who should be quarterbacking the team. With veteran Josh McCown sidelined, 22nd overall pick in the 2014 draft Johnny Manziel got just his third start of the season. Head coach Mike Pettine was reluctant to even give Manziel the start in the first place but felt forced to when it was that McCown could not go. It deserves mentioning that under McCown, the Browns went 1-6 this season yet Pettine still believed that McCown gave them the best chance to win. The problem with Manziel isn’t that he has not learned from his mistakes from last season, he has proven that he has taken steps to correct his off-the-field issues. The real issue is that when the team is sitting at 2-6 with nearly no hopes to make the playoffs this year, why not hand the ball to Manziel to see what you have and what you don’t have. The only explanation as to why, after Thursday night’s loss to the Bengals, Mike Pettine said he is not committed to giving Manziel another start, is that he simply does not want him in at quarterback. As bold of a notion which that is, the more that the Browns try to minimize Manizel’s successes, the more that notion becomes a reality. If that is the case then why did they draft him in the first place? The solution at this point is simple, either play him or get rid of him. Should the Browns cut him loose after just two seasons, then they will set an unprecedented standard for most quarterback’s used.
In other news, The Cincinnati Bengals are 8-0 for the first time in franchise history; the Patriots look to stay unblemished against the Washington Redskins; the Broncos can stamp an 8-0 start if they can dispose of the Colts; and the Panthers can stay unbeaten as well if they can fend off Rodgers and the Packers. Of all the matchups this weekend with the zero factor in play, it feels that the Panthers matchup will be the most challenging. Green Bay is coming off of a very unlikely performance from Rodgers, who was held to just 77 passing yards against the ever-so-stingy Denver defense last week in a lopsided loss. It will be interesting to see how Rodgers responds, and going into Carolina against another stout defense will certainly be a test for him. Cam Newton has quietly, but not so quietly, been building a solid argument for MVP considerations. Through seven games, Newton has thrown for 1523 yards, 11 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, but more importantly has rushed for 286 yards and 4 rushing touchdowns. He is the definition of a playmaker, and it is unlikely that the Panthers would be where they are now without him.