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Pettine: Manziel struggled late in game, missed reads

Mike Pettine

AP

Not surprisingly, Browns coach Mike Pettine declined to discuss on Friday who will be his team’s starting quarterback for its next game.

As for his evaluation of Johnny Manziel in Thursday night’s loss to the Bengals, Pettine said on a Friday morning conference call that Manziel got a high grade for his work in the first three quarters “but over the last 15 snaps, he did not play well.”

Manziel put together a solid first half but had just four completions as the Browns were shut out in the second half for the second straight game.

Pettine spoke with NFL Network while leaving the field at halftime and said Manziel needed to “calm down."Some took that to mean Pettine was saying Manziel needed to stay in the pocket. Manziel’s touchdown pass just before halftime came on a rollout, and Manziel has long done his best work while on the run.

Asked to clarify Friday, Pettine said “by no means was saying he needed to stay in the pocket” but that there were times Manziel missed his first read.

“Part of being successful in the NFL is being able to operate from within the pocket...and then you get the best of both worlds,” Pettine said.

After Thursday night’s game, Pettine said he’d grade Manziel’s overall performance as “inconsistent.”

Pettine has maintained that Josh McCown is the team’s starter, but said Friday he won’t know how McCown’s undisclosed rib injury is still affecting him until after this weekend. With the Browns 2-7, it seems that giving Manziel more time to improve and be evaluated makes sense, so we’ll see.

The Browns play at Pittsburgh Nov. 15, then have their bye week before hosting the Ravens on Nov. 30.