The Raiders are not the only team to have a surprise victory last week, their opponent this week is the Cleveland Browns and they also won last week to the surprise of many. The difference between the Raiders and the Browns now? The Browns are benching the QB who lead their team to victory.
We heard this week that the Browns will be sitting 2nd year QB Johnny Manziel for their original starter of the season Josh McCown. The only reason that McCown wasn't playing was because his impression of John Elway running and being helicoptered into the endzone went awry and left McCown with a nasty concussion that made him miss Week 2.
After having passed the concussion protocols now Josh McCown has been given his starting spot back despite an impressive performance last week by Johnny Football. The Browns site Dawgs by Nature had polled their fans earlier on the QB issue, and the results were highly in favor of wanting Manziel to stay the starter even if McCown was healthy. I can't blame them because I think Johnny Manziel's playmaking ability is harder for thr Raiders to defend against.
The case for Johnny Manziel is one based around his legs and big play making ability. The Raiders have struggled when facing running quarterbacks and there is no denying that Johnny Football has impressive running ability. Johnny Manziel is a guy who thrives when plays break down, his reputation in college that earned him his nickname was built on improvisation.
Besides being very quick when Johnny decides to take off running, he also throws a pretty deep ball. That deep ball was on full display in last week's win against the Tennessee Titans when Manziel connected deep with emerging wide receiver Travis Benjamin not just once, but twice for long touchdowns.
The Raiders have completely lacked any sort of pass rush this year so far under Jack Del Rio and Ken Norton Jr. If that were to continue against the Browns with Manziel at the helm he would definitely be able to find some deep throws to connect with. On the flip side if the Raiders did manage to get pressure on Manziel, his improvisation would allow him to find running space to take advantage of.
The Browns are a more exciting team to watch with Johnny Manziel because he is the type of player that you can never be certain what will happen at any given time. There is a fire and energy that comes from a team when their gunslinger QB makes a big play that Johnny can bring to the Browns. His big play ability, along with his ability to run when plays break down definitely makes it interesting that the Browns have decided to bench him even though he played well against the Titans.
What you get from Josh McCown is essentially the opposite of Johnny Manziel. You get a game managing veteran player who doesn't take over aggressive risks and isn't the big play guy. McCown is the guy who can take his time in the pocket and take what the defense gives him and seriously decreases the likelihood of mistakes.
Johnny Football may be a playmaker, but he is dangerous both to the other team but also to his own team. McCown isn't going to make the same super aggressive instinctive plays that Manziel makes, but he also won't make the dumb mistakes the gunslinger mentality creates. He is the safer choice who has been in this league long enough to not take the same chances as a 2nd year QB, and especially not the mistakes of a player like Manziel who plays off pure instincts.
McCown isn't a statue in the pocket, he is willing to run if the lane is there. However, he will avoid it and take checkdown plays and go through his progressions if he has the chance to. Many games in the NFL come down to who doesn't make the big mistake and Josh McCown's game manager style definitely is a safer play over Johnny Manziel, but does playing safe pose a greater threat to the Raiders on Sunday over Johnny Manziel's playmaking ability?