If Johnny Manziel goes home and decides to put on some music to listen to tonight, he should play Ice Cube’s ‘It Was a Good Day’ on a loop for hours. Tuesday, Manziel received good news on two fronts. First, the NFL announced Manziel won’t be disciplined for his incident with his girlfriend back on October 12. Here is the entire statement from the league of the decision.
“Consistent with the procedures of the league’s Personal Conduct Policy, we have examined the available evidence regarding the recent incident involving Johnny Manziel. Our investigation included a thorough review of information from law enforcement and our own interviews with multiple individuals, including the two involved in the incident. Based on the information gathered, we have concluded that there is an insufficient basis on which to take disciplinary action. In all cases of this nature, our concern under the Personal Conduct Policy goes well beyond the issue of discipline, and we have made comprehensive professional resources available on a confidential basis.”
Manziel has also been named the Browns starting quarterback beginning with their next game following the bye week on November 30 against the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium. Head coach Mike Pettine made the decision just one day after saying it was something that was being discussed. The decision was based on the difference Manziel showed from the Cincinnati to the Pittsburgh games.
“I think the performance against Pittsburgh I think validated for us the progress that he’s made, the improvement that he’s shown and that he deserves this opportunity,” Pettine said. “Also just (QB) Josh’s (McCown) circumstances being what they are, not being entirely healthy at least in the short term. It’s something that we understand where our season is at this point and this is a kid we invested a lot in. This will give us an opportunity to see how far he’s come and what he’s capable of.”
Manziel threw for 372 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s 30-9 loss to the Steelers at Heinz Field. Manziel did turn the ball over twice but was able to recover quickly from the fumble on his first snap from scrimmage and post the career highs in completions and passing yards.
“It is a great opportunity for me. I was caught off guard. I was watching film this morning and (Head) Coach (Mike) Pett(ine) came in and grabbed me. I am very excited,” Manziel said. “I think it is a great opportunity for me. I am looking forward to coming out and trying to continue to add a little bit of a spark. More than anything we need to get some wins. That is what I told Coach Pett when I was in there with him. No matter what happens, whatever you think, if this may be for next year or whatever the case is, we are going to win some of these games down the road.”
It was always his goal this season to become the starting quarterback. Manziel knows what all he has to do for the final six games of the regular season.
“I just need to continue to show progress,” Manziel said. “Coach Pettine said that was a big step for me last week and to continue to play at a high level and anybody in this position I don’t want to be able to take us any games down the road. That is the big thing. Make sure our position is filling up our grade sheet with pluses and doing the right thing and getting these guys rallied around. I think that is the biggest thing over the course of the season.”
“Progress. I thought he took, it was well documented we talked about it after the game, took a big step forward in a lot of the small details of quarterback play,” Pettine said. “It’s as simple as that for us, just to continue to get better. He did some good things but there’s some things that can be improved upon. Each week presents a new challenge and he has to be able to react to how a defense is playing him and be able to play within a game plan, the structure of it and stay tight to that. Bottom line, just progress.”
With the Browns at 2-8, the remaining six games of the season will serve as an audition for Manziel to remain the starting quarterback next season. Manziel knows he just has to take the field and do his part to give the Browns the best chance to win.
“I think all that factors in. I am more close-minded right now and taking it one week at a time,” Manziel said. “Right now, take a couple days off after the practice tomorrow. Get a little bit of rest and get ready to get refueled for the end of the season. From there it is Baltimore to the next game to the next game, one at a time.”
“I don’t want to look that big picture,”Pettine said. “I’ve already said it, we want to get a good sense of where he is and I think when the season’s over that you always clear the table and evaluate each position. This will allow us to have a lot more information as we assess the quarterback position moving forward.”
The Browns will hold one more practice on Wednesday before taking the rest of the week off. Following the Cincinnati game, Manziel returned to his college alma mater Texas A&M for a couple of days. Will he travel out of town this week or remain in Cleveland and focus on being the starting quarterback and start studying the Ravens defense.
“I don’t know what my plans are going to be yet,” Manziel said. “I talked to Coach Pett and he wanted to reiterate and say, ‘Hey this is the time where everyone in the locker room is going to get a chance to go shut it down for a couple days.’ I definitely will be back earlier than some people. I will be back at some point over the week and if I do decide to leave get a chance to go see some family or just get a chance to really shut it down. That is what this week is for. Then come back in on Sunday and Monday and be ready to go.”