Okay, so now that the season for the Browns is all but lost, and Josh McCown has emerged in the way that he always has, not very competent journeyman, let us consider the question: What is the real reason why Pettine insists on not starting Manziel?
Many have pointed out the need to develop first round picks and give them a chance, based on the judgement of the GM in drafting them so high. In addition, recent times when Manziel has played he has looked quite good, including one win. But yet with each new game, as predicted before the season by many, Pettine has insisted that "McCown gives us the best chance for a win." Clearly McCown does not give the Browns much of a chance of winning. The Pett apologists on this board, who post long, bombastic rationalizations, complete with many logical fallacies such as strawman arguments, ad hominem attacks, etc. will be quick to claim that "QB play is not the problem", and then point to the QBR as one of the main support of that claim. Yet QB play is more than just QBR, there are so many intangibles involved, like being able to extend a broken play and turn it into a touchdown, instead of a loss or worse, forcing the issue and causing a turnover, that don't get factored into QBR.
And then there is the question of the double standard. When Manziel started once this season and fumbled twice, both times recovered by Browns (so didn't turn ball over), Pettine chose to focus mainly on these two fumbles and not the fact that the Browns got the win, as part of the reason to take Manziel out again. But week in and week out, McCown routinely turns the ball over at crucial times at least twice per game. Yet Pettine in post-game pressers insists that the team let McCown down, and such like that.
Now for my latest hypotheses for why Pettine will not start Manziel:
- Pettine was schooled early on by Shanahan last year, who he is in awe of, that Manziel is not NFL starter material, and that has stuck in Pettine's head ever since. Stubborn-minded Pettine can't let this belief go, despite contradicting evidence.
- Pettine is offended by Manziel's personal behavior as not befitting of an NFL QB, or is caving under journalistic pressure from mostly local Cleveland journalists to not embarass Cleveland by starting someone who allegedly as trangressed too many times (e.g. inflatable swan, etc.) ... this is the midwest, after all.
- On the job preservation front, Pettine is banking on two scenarios: 1) McCown plays badly and Browns are out of contention, 2) when Browns are finally out of contention he gives Manziel his token few starts, sends in bad run first play calls, while also many players have given up late in the season, with predictable results Manziel looks bad. This insures that Pettine will not be criticized or blamed for Browns season for going so badly when the best QB was held out for more personal than footballistic reasons, thus costing the Browns' possible playoff contention (Pettine as shrewd and calculating person politicing to preserve his career at only the expense of Browns fans).
Okay, so flame away, or hopefully even better, add your own reasons!