John McCown Must Remain Starter For Cleveland Browns — No Matter What

John McCown Shouldn't Be Benched By Browns

Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown is slowly slipping into a very precarious position. Some could argue that as the Browns are 1-3 so far this season, he’s already there. The danger is that Cleveland fans will allow themselves to see Josh McCown as “in the way” of a great season and an optimal outcome — playoff contention.

However, that’s just not reality.‘s Terry Pluto shares that the Cleveland Browns are dead last in the NFL in terms of defense; it’s hardly fair to pretend as if all of the team’s issues will be solved if McCown is no longer the quarterback. And as an offense is made up of more than “one guy throwing the ball,” it’s somewhat unfair to say that scoring issues are all McCown’s fault.

Things are going badly for Cleveland, that is true; however, making Josh McCown a scapegoat will not turn things around and neither will replacing him with Johnny Manziel.

Manziel has started just three games in his NFL career. He did look decent when he came in for an injured McCown. During the tail-end of the 2014 season, Johnny looked anything but decent. It probably seems unfair to raise those games up as examples, when Manziel looked so good during his one start in the 2015 season. But, I’m doing it for a reason.

You see, if it were up to me, Johnny Manziel would have never featured in 2014. Given the late introduction, it blew the Cleveland Brown’s playoff chances. My decision to leave him on the bench would probably lead the team into the postseason. Of course, one could argue had everything not fallen apart for Johnny due to his injury, he would have never gone to rehab or had a reason to turn around. Maybe, maybe not; this is speculation after all. Though I remain confident that my decision would have been the correct one.

That’s why I feel a large portion of the problems that Browns are having aren’t necessarily down to the players. I think there are coaching issues as well.

The defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil sees no reason to change his approach because as far as he’s concerned, everything’s fine, and the players need to “execute better.” That may be true, but this also sounds like a coach throwing his players under the bus rather than admitting that what he’s doing isn’t working. You shouldn’t be afraid to change things up if what you’re doing isn’t working for your players. You don’t necessarily have all season for them to “catch on”. In a career field where you do well, or you’re fired within weeks, who carries on like they have absolute job security? O’Neil needs to familiarize himself with the drawing board, and fast.

I don’t know what to say about Mike Pettine except he hasn’t shown me anything that strongly suggests he’ll be with the Browns next season. Should the Browns go 4-12 as predicted by Team Rankings, I’m betting he’s out. Hopefully his replacement (and at this rate, O’Neil’s) will be able to get the most out of the Cleveland Browns players.

The Cleveland Browns team, I feel, has potential. However, the inability to get the best out of players — which I feel is the primary problem of the current coaching staff — breeds mediocrity. Do I think Josh McCown is mediocre? Well, yes. Do I think Johnny Manziel is a better quarterback? Actually no, not yet. But he has greater potential. Potential means nothing if given the time to develop into something more.

As such, I won’t say that making Manziel the starting quarterback in is going to fix all the coaching and execution issues at Cleveland. It’s something certain people choose to believe, and it makes no sense. Hanging an entire season on the shoulder’s of one player is just begging to have your hopes dashed.

What’s best for Johnny is to remain a backup option, which won’t put him under too much pressure. In the meantime, he should continue to observe and learn the game. Let him do so from the bench, rather than be tossed into the game with the expectation he will save the day because that’s how it works in movies. Should things with Josh truly sour over the course of this season, then you know who your starter should be next season. Cleveland Browns fans need to realize that there is no instant gratification to be had.

Josh McCown may not be the complete quarterback that will lead Cleveland anywhere special, but I think he’s doing all things considered. All things considered. If offensive improvements are made, McCown just might surprise Cleveland fans this season. Enough to hold off Manziel starting next season? Probably not.

Why do you think some people are eager to blame John McCown for all of the Cleveland Browns’ issues? Do you think starting Johnny Manziel will “fix” the team? Share your thoughts below.

[Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images]