In one week, Manziel went from starter to third team without taking a snap.
He also went from staring at the opportunity to seize the starting job heading into 2016 to possibly being inactive for Monday night's tilt with the Ravens (depending on how the roster is broken down).
This alone expresses the depth of the Browns' sentiments regarding Manziel’s recent video escapade from Austin, Texas. The Browns did the right thing. Manziel’s actions following the decision to name him the starter demanded the team hold him accountable.
It’s hard to guess the last time Manziel was a third-teamer. It may have been back in grade school, if ever. This demotion has to sit like an old carpet in his stomach.
Some might say it was unfair. Some might say it took too long. (Remember Pettine saying Manziel had been “A-plus in the building” following the Avon, Ohio, driving incident?) But had the Browns ignored what happened over the weekend, they would have forfeited credibility.
Manziel had issues that sent him to seek treatment in the offseason, and he deserved respect for taking that step. (But the steps he’d taken basically since Josh McCown returned from injury after the Tennessee game led Pettine to the point where doing nothing was no longer an option.
At various points of the past two seasons, the conversation has been dominated by Manziel, both positive and negative.
Coming off a bye week on Monday, the focus should have been on the excitement of the team’s first Monday night game since 2009. Instead, the discussion again was dominated by talk of Manziel. Pettine seemed weary just talking about it.
The Browns have been patient with and supportive of Manziel.
They stood by him through treatment and backed him afterward. They structured media appearances to help him as much as possible. They did not discipline him publicly after the October driving and domestic incident.
That patience ran out with Manziel mugging for the camera in Austin and holding what looked like a pink champagne bottle.
The Browns had to act. Manziel gave them no choice.