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Mike Pettine: Johnny Manziel not guaranteed to play this season

Johnny-ManzielThe Cleveland Browns are setting Brian Hoyer up for disaster, right? Many believe that Hoyer has been given the Week 1 starting job so that Johnny Manziel will be protected from playing against the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road followed by tough home games against the New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Ravens. Head coach Mike Pettine insists that had nothing to do with the decision.

“This is Brian’s job,” Pettine told reporters on Wednesday, via Jim Trotter of ESPN.com. “I never think of it as it’s a leash or we want a guy to be a game manager. We want him to be confident and go out and play. … The season is long. So much can happen, and we don’t want Brian looking over his shoulder thinking, ‘Hey, I make one bad throw and I’m out.’”

Hoyer knows the Browns drafted Manziel to be their quarterback of the future, so he is going to feel pressure no matter what Pettine says. That said, Manziel hasn’t done himself any favors by flipping opponents the middle finger and struggling to learn the playbook.

What if Hoyer plays well enough to keep his job? Could Johnny Football really hold a clipboard throughout his entire rookie season?

“You could see a scenario where he doesn’t play this year, and then there are other scenarios that are absolutely possible as well,” Pettine said. “It’s hard to tell.”

Ownership and fans are going to want to see Manziel. Hoyer knows that. In many ways, the sixth-year veteran is a lame duck. Unless, of course, Johnny Football keeps using poor judgment and has trouble adjusting to life in the NFL. If that happens, Hoyer could be here a while.

Report: Johnny Manziel losing job more about behavior and less about football

Johnny Manziel OVO DrakeThe Cleveland Browns named Brian Hoyer their starting quarterback over Johnny Manziel on Wednesday, and many are wondering why head coach Mike Pettine did not wait until the all-important third preseason game to make his decision. If Pettine was choosing a starter based solely on on-field performance, he probably would have.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Manziel has been slowly blowing his shot at the starting job since the Browns drafted him.

People love to chalk Manziel’s behavior up to the fact that he is a 21-year-old kid who is still learning. While that may be true, it doesn’t mean the Browns have overlooked his party-boy antics. Pettine even admitted that he spoke to Manziel about the photo that showed the former Texas A&M star rolling up a bill in front of a bathroom mirror.

By completing just 6-of-17 passes against the Washington Redskins on Monday night, Manziel probably made Pettine’s job easy. He made it even easier when he flipped off the Redskins sideline. Hoyer has completed 8-of-20 pass attempts and has a passer rating of 57.9 through two preseason games, so you really think this is about football? Manziel needs to prove he can grow up before Pettine will hand him the reins.

Brian Hoyer named Browns starting quarterback over Johnny Manziel

Johnny-ManzielThe Cleveland Browns announced on Wednesday morning that Brian Hoyer will start against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 of the regular season. Johnny Manziel has been named his backup — for now.

“(Hoyer) was the clear leader from the beginning,” coach Mike Pettine said in a press release, via Around the League. “We’ve maintained all along that if it was close, I would prefer to go with the more experienced player. Brian has done a great job in the meeting rooms and with his teammates on the practice field and in the locker room.”

The knee-jerk reaction is that this is a no-win situation for Hoyer. Unless Hoyer plays consistently well (a difficult task for anyone at the NFL level), Manziel is going to get a shot at some point this season. Hoyer knows his margin for error will be incredibly tight, which could add pressure and affect his performance.

Why did Mike Pettine decide to name a starter before the third game of the preseason? For starters, there have been rumors that the Browns do not want Manziel’s first NFL start to come against a potentially tough defense like the Steelers on the road. Boomer Esiason believes Manziel would get his “ass kicked” in Pittsburgh and the Browns might agree.

[WATCHThe moment Johnny Manziel finds out ESPN captured his middle finger]

Beyond the difficulty of the matchup, you have to wonder if Manziel’s infamous middle finger had anything to do with Pettine’s decision. In addition to not looking that sharp on Monday night (6-of-17 passing), Manziel made a lapse in judgment that not only made him look bad but also may have indicated he is letting opponents get under his skin.

We’d be stunned if Hoyer starts even half of Cleveland’s games this season.

Related: Johnny Manziel’s behavior reportedly cost him starting job

Boomer Esiason: Teams ‘hate’ Johnny Manziel, Steelers would ‘kick his ass’

Johnny Manziel OVO DrakeJohnny Manziel is not looking to make many friends at the NFL level. He made that clear on Monday night when he flipped off the Washington Redskins sideline after one or two players apparently told Johnny Football that he’s not in college anymore. Because of the way Manziel carries himself, Boomer Esiason believes he is in for quite the beating from opponents this season.

During his radio show on WFAN Tuesday morning, Esiason said Manziel is nowhere close to being ready to start at the NFL level. He also said teams already despise the Heisman Trophy winner.

“I’m telling you right now, he is not even remotely close to being ready,” Boomer said. “If he opened as the starting quarterback in Pittsburgh in Week 1, he would get his ass kicked. And his ass would be driven into the ground. Because I’m telling you, other teams hate this guy. Hate him.”

[WATCH: The moment Johnny Manziel finds out ESPN captured his middle finger]

It’s possible that the Browns agree. Mike Pettine has yet to commit to a starting quarterback for Week 1, and there have already been reports that Cleveland is nervous about the potential of Manziel facing the Steelers in Pittsburgh for his first NFL start.

“I saw it from the Detroit Lions. I saw it last night from the Washington Redskins,” Esiason continued. “And I’m telling you, those linebackers for the Pittsburgh Steelers are just praying to God that he plays in Week 1. And if I were Mike Pettine, I would have to have my head examined to put that kid on the field. He is not even close to being ready.

“Whether or not you can handle it is going to be determined by your maturity level. And right now, this kid is a baby.”

Pettine would not say whether Manziel’s inappropriate gesture would factor into the decision to pick a starting quarterback, but it might. It should also be noted that Manziel completed just 6-of-17 passes against the Redskins, so it’s not as if he is playing particularly well.

No one at the NFL level fears Johnny Football, that’s for sure. Most of the Redskins players thought it was hilarious that Manziel flipped them off because it meant they were getting under his skin. Manziel has always used the “haters” at motivation, but that will mean nothing if he can’t outrun NFL defenders and doesn’t put in the work he needs to learn the playbook.

Brian Orakpo on Johnny Manziel middle finger: ‘It was hilarious’

Johnny Manziel flips the bird

The Washington Redskins seemed to have a lot of fun with Johnny Manziel on Monday night. At one point, they were having so much fun with Johnny Football that they inspired the rookie to flip the bird to the entire Redskins sideline. Washington linebacker Brian Orakpo thought the gesture was entertaining.

“It was hilarious,” Orakpo said, per John Keim of ESPN.com. “We were messing with him a little bit, just saying this ain’t college and stuff like that. We were having a little fun. Manziel flipped us off. It was something funny. We were all laughing on the sidelines.”

[Related: Brian Orakpo does Johnny Manziel hand gesture after sack]

Redskins safety Ryan Clark agreed that Manziel flipping the bird was “funny” and that “nobody cares.” DeSean Jackson, who for some reason thinks he has the right to get on a high horse despite some of the controversial hand gestures he has flashed in the past, sounded a bit more offended.

“Being young, things happen sometimes [and] you don’t know better,” Jackson said. “It’s unfortunate he did get caught, but he’ll learn from it. It’s nothing too nice to do. We’re out here competing with each other.”

The real reason the Redskins didn’t care about Manziel flipping them off? The Heisman Trophy winner completed just 44% of his passes (6-of-17) and was sacked three times. He did not look sharp at all, which is probably why he was frustrated enough to flip the bird. The learning curve continues for Johnny Football.

Also see: Johnny Manziel middle finger memes are fantastic

Johnny Manziel has great reaction after learning ESPN caught his middle finger (Video)

This, friends, is the reaction of one Johnny Manziel upon being informed by Cleveland Browns PR guy Rob McBurnett that ESPN televised his middle finger to the Redskins, meaning that would be a headline story for the next week.

Dude was like, “Are you effing kidding me?” It also looks like the camera cut off right before he completed an “aww f–.”

Johnny Manziel facepalm

When forced to address the issue after the game, Manziel termed it a “lapse in judgement” and “slip-up.”

God bless ESPN and their 53,000 cameras all over the field.

[Also see: The Johnny Manziel middle finger memes are great]

H/T Ian Rapoport
Video via @BrendanPorath

Johnny Manziel middle finger memes are the best

Johnny Manziel flips the bird

Johnny Manziel is making headlines after being caught by ESPN cameras flipping the bird at the Redskins bench during Monday night’s preseason game. As usual, the memes that followed were better than the actual photo.

Enjoy the roundup of awesome Johnny Manziel middle finger memes we have compiled below:

[Read more...]