Johnny Football time began briefly again on Sunday as the Cleveland Browns quarterback took the field against Buffalo following the decision from the Browns head coach Mike Pettine to pull QB Brian Hoyer.
Johnny Manziel came on early in the fourth quarter after starting quarterback Brian Hoyer had thrown zero touchdowns and two interceptions. Manziel hit the field having to contend with a 17-point deficit and he managed to cut the Bills lead to ten within minutes.
Manziel orchestrated a drive that went 80 yards in a short space of time and culminated with 'Johnny Football' scampering into the inside on a 13-yard run. Although Manziel couldn't complete the comeback, his strong play resulted in coach Pettine admitting "the door is definitely open for a change at the quarterback position".
Sanders speaks out on Manziel
But rather than jump on the bandwagon of experts and ex-players that are saying Manziel must start against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, NFL legendary cornerback Deion Sanders says that Cleveland should stick with what has gotten them to within touching distance of the playoff spots.
"I would stay with [Brian] Hoyer if I was the coach. My reason for that is because he's the man that got you here," Sanders explained on NFL Network.
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"Give him a running game and give him something else to help him. Hoyer has thrown to Josh Gordon in the last two games 25 times and they don't have a connection. The Browns just need to change the gameplan up."
Manziel must start
The fact of the matter is though, even if you give Brian Hoyer a running game he is a sinking ship and the Browns need to jump off before it's too late.
Manziel is a clutch player and that's what Cleveland need right now as they head into the business end of the season. Hoyer has shown in big moments he can step up at times but his stats in the last four weeks have been terrible.
Hoyer has thrown one touchdown compared with six interceptions in the last four weeks. In only one series, Manziel created as much production as Hoyer did in four games.
It's certainly a gamble to throw Manziel into the starting mix with the Browns playoff hopes on the line, but with Hoyer at QB, Cleveland will only surrender their chances anyway in a depressing fashion. With Manziel at quarterback, they at least have the opportunity to throw something new at opposing defenses while possibly unlocking the potential of Manziel. The upside is higher with Johnny Football, it's as simple as that.
Irvin agrees with Sanders
But despite this, Deion Sanders is not alone in thinking that Manziel's time has not yet begun. However, legendary receiver Michael Irvin does admit that if and when Hoyer makes any mistakes against the Colts, Cleveland should then call Manziel's number straight away.
"I'm probably not going to start Manziel because Brian Hoyer is the man that got me here. But as soon as any pass goes array, I'll be throwing up those money signs," added Irvin.