Cleveland Browns to start Austin Davis against Cincinnati


Nov 30, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Austin Davis (7) scrambles in the second half against the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Ravens won 33-27. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns will start Austin Davis, rather than Johnny Manziel, on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine announced on Wednesday that Austin Davis has earned the start at quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

“Austin took advantage of his opportunity on Monday night. He was prepared, played well and put us in position to win,” Pettine said. “He’s been great in the quarterback room all season and he has earned the right to start on Sunday. We expect him to play well.”

The game will make the first start by Davis in a Cleveland uniform and means that Johnny Manziel will serve as the team’s backup against the Bengals.

The quarterback move was necessitated by Josh McCown suffering a season-ending injury as his broken collarbone has landed him on injured reserve.

Davis relieved McCown in Monday night’s game against Baltimore, completing seven-of-10 passes, including a 42-yard touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin. Davis also put the Browns in position to win the game, only to see a field goal attempt by Travis Coons blocked and returned by the Ravens for the game-winning score.

If Coons had converted that kick, Davis would have put up as many points in one quarter of play as Manziel did in three of the four games he has played in this season.

The decision also means that after watching Manziel repeatedly act like a spoiled child for the past year-and-a-half, the Browns coaching staff still doesn’t trust him enough to put him on the field unless it is absolutely necessary.

That reality has not gone over well, to put it mildly, among Browns fans frustrated with another losing season, and people outside of Cleveland, who only care about the potential for the next Manziel highlight play.

Well, you get the point.

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While the move to start Davis this week was not an easy one (although Manziel made it easier), nor was it a popular one in many corners, it wasn’t a surprising one, either.

If the Browns were not going to start Manziel on Monday night after his latest off-the-field nonsense, what could have possibly changed over the past 36 hours? He hasn’t changed and the only currency that the coaches hold over him is playing time. Earning back the trust he threw away is going to take longer than a few days.

It seems bad now, but hang in there Browns fans. It will get better.

Won’t it?