Pettine’s Grasp On Job Loosened Last Night

Pat Shurmur’s tenure as the coach of the Cleveland Browns is characterized by some of his ridiculous quotes at press conference.

Mike Pettine may be characterized by his halftime interview during Thursday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, 31-10 in the Queen City.

After Johnny Manziel directed the Browns on a 92 yard drive to get Cleveland within 14-10 at the half against the undefeated Bengals, Pettine told the sideline reporter that they needed to get the quarterback “calmed down” at halftime.

We now all know that Pettine doesn’t like Manziel, doesn’t want to play him, and will never give him a full shot at the position.

What the coach should be concentrating on is his defensive unit and coordinator Jim O’Neil, who continues to put a sieve on the field weekly.

With one game in the next 25 days, there is plenty of time to make the changes necessary, and we would start by canning O’Neil who has directed a unit that has allowed 30 or more points in five of the nine games played this year.

And what is becoming a weekly occurance, the Bengals ran for 152 yards, an average of 4.1 yards per carry.  They also didn’t create a turnover.

Among the culprits defensively were a couple of the veterans Pettine seems to love, DE Randy Starks and CB Tramon Williams.

With this team sitting at 2-7 and going nowhere, it is counter productive to continue to play these guys.

Williams gave up a touchdown on a double move by the tight end!

The funny thing to us was that Justin Gilbert was on the field defensively tonight, and the Bengals didn’t score eight touchdowns by going right at him.

Seriously, this guy can’t play over special teams standout Johnson Bademosi?

On offense, the Browns called exactly one running play in the second half.  It was the first play and Isaiah Crowell, who had 41 yards on 9 carries in the first half, was thrown for a three yard loss.

That was it.

Crowell, and Duke Johnson, who caught the 12-yard TD toss from Manziel at the end of the first half, did not touch the ball after that first play.

What in the heck is going on?

It was kind of fitting that the touchdown the Bengals used to salt the game away, was a 25-yard wide receiver reverse on which Mohamed Sanu was untouched by the Cleveland defense.  A trick play.

This is something that offensive coordinator John Difilipo hasn’t used all year.  And the total lack of even trying to run the ball in the second half leaves us shaking our heads.

Manziel played solid. He wasn’t great, but he was better than his stat line indicated.

After the Crowell loss of yardage on the first play of the second half, Manziel fired a downfield pass which should have been caught by WR Taylor Gabriel, who had a bad night, dropping three passes on the evening.

He certainly showed enough to start again, but our guess is Pettine will go back to Josh McCown for the Pittsburgh game, which is ludicrous.

Again, what is there to gain continuing with the status quo with a 2-7 record.  There will be no playoffs.  And perhaps Pettine can salvage his job if the young players show some promise over the last seven games.

Our guess is the coach’s quote will be played and mocked all around the city and probably the country.

That’s what happens when someone’s personal feelings get in the way of a talent evaluation.

At the very least, Manziel should finish the season at QB.  He showed enough tonight that he doesn’t look like the total bust people were saying he was.

JD

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