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Browns QB Manziel to start against Titans

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Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine announced Friday that Johnny Manziel will start at quarterback in Sunday’s home opener against the Tennessee Titans.

Josh McCown suffered a concussion in the season-opening 31-10 loss to the New York Jets and remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol. McCown was injured last Sunday when he went airborne trying to vault over the goal line on a third-and-goal scramble from the 14-yard line.

Manziel, who will get the third start of his career, practiced with the first team this week.

Manziel will face off against Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota, who stunned the entire NFL with four touchdown passes to four different receivers in a Week 1 rout of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 42-14.

Mariota was better than even the most optimistic Titans fan could have been, completing 13 of 16 passes for 209 yards and the four scores as he outplayed former fellow Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston of the Bucs. In the process, Mariota posted a perfect passer rating of 158.3, the first time that had ever been done by a player in his first NFL start.

The Week 2 game will highlight another matchup of former Heisman Trophy winners, this time between Manziel and Mariota. Manziel is seeking his first win as a starter.

In relief of McCown against the Jets, Manziel threw a 54-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Travis Benjamin on his first possession but turned it over on three of four possessions in the second half. He threw one interceptions and fumbled twice.

Manziel finished 13 of 24 for 182 yards for the Browns. He also led Cleveland in rushing with 35 yards on five scrambles.

Manziel missed the final two preseason games and practice time with tendinitis in his right elbow.

Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said he has seen a big difference in Manziel from last season to the way he played in the opener.

“Johnny losing these last three weeks of practice, he didn’t drop off from a level of accuracy, footwork and those things that a lot of young quarterbacks do,” DeFilippo said. “Johnny has tremendous physical attributes, tremendous physical attributes. We just have to keep grooming him and keep teaching him situational football and when to take chances and when not to.”


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