According to several reports, Johnny Manziel will get his first NFL start this Sunday against the division rival Cincinnati Bengals.
Manziel replaces Brian Hoyer, who has started the Browns first 13 games this season. Hoyer led the Browns to a good start and kept them in the playoff hunt, but the last four games haven’t gone his way. The Browns are 1-3, and Hoyer has thrown one touchdown pass and eight interceptions over that span.
Browns head coach Mike Pettine benched Hoyer in week 13 against the Bills after scoring only three points, and gave Manziel his first real chance as an NFL quarterback. Manziel led the Browns on an 80-yard drive on eight plays, in which he completed three passes for 54 yards and capped it with a 10-yard rushing touchdown.
Although many believed Manziel would get the start in the Browns next game, Pettine decided to give Hoyer another chance against the Indianapolis Colts. Hoyer completed only 14 of his 31 pass attempts with no touchdowns and two interceptions in a 25-24 loss.
Johnny Football’s first opponent is their division leading Bengals (8-4-1). Marvin Lewis, Bengals head coach, was asked about preparing for the Browns and stopping Manziel under center during a radio interview.
“You defend the offense, not the QB, particularly a midget,” Lewis said.
Lewis has since apologized for his comments, saying he should not have said that.
Lewis’ comments might just add a little extra motivation to Manziel to go out Sunday and lead the Browns to a win over a division rival.
Game is set for a 1:00 p.m. ET start on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.