After Johnny Manziel unexpectedly got called upon to play last week, ESPN analyst Merrill Hoge begged the Browns to cut him immediately or risk “babysitting” the former Heisman Trophy winner forever. The injury to starting quarterback Josh McCown that put Manziel on the field will force Cleveland to start their mercurial backup Manziel this week. He’ll go against another former Heisman winner in Marcus Mariota of the Tennessee Titans. And the “Johnny Football” in Manziel, the gamer and winner who hasn’t yet made his NFL debut, must be chomping at the bit for the chance. He could change the whole rotten Manziel narrative with 60 good minutes of football.
Manziel hasn’t been able to win the starting job in Cleveland — he’s lost the position to not just one, but two other quarterbacks. Manziel has struggled with addiction problems, gone to rehab, returned and struggled to stay in the pocket on the field. Mariota, on the other hand, just had a historic debut as a pro, recording a perfect QB rating in his first outing — something never done before. Cleveland lost its season opener, but that’s a game Manziel didn’t start. He looked shaky, but he wasn’t ready. This week he is, or should be. The time is now for Johnny Manziel. And now is Sunday at 1:00pm EST.