NFL

NFL AM: Josh McCown Done For The Season

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Josh McCwon done for the year with broken collarbone:

The Cleveland Browns’ season has been an absolute mess, and a broken collarbone to once again starter Josh McCown won’t help to clean things up.

McCown was once again vaulted into the starting quarterback role after video surfaced of Johnny Manziel drinking during the team’s bye week, and the former first-round pick reportedly lied to the team and even went as far as to have friends lie about when the video was actually made.

It was easy and even logical to argue that the Browns should start Manziel through much of this season, as McCown was too old to be considered the future, and because Cleveland spent a first-round pick on Manziel.

There was even an argument to be made that the Browns should have started Manziel despite the foolish video, until we learned that Manziel lied to the organization about the video, and that the Browns reportedly wanted the troubled young quarterback to stick around the facility during the bye week.

Being reluctant to hand the job back to Manziel after this level of deception is understandable, and makes the loss of McCown that much more difficult. Regardless of who’s under center, the Browns could really use McCown’s veteran leadership right now.

“It is very unfortunate,” head coach Mike Pettine said. “Josh means a lot to this team, whether it was in the locker room, practice field or game day. Just the positive energy that he exuded, the leadership … I just cannot say enough positive things about Josh McCown and what he has done for this football team and what he means to this football team.”

So now what? Do the Browns hand the job back to the petulant kid who can’t seem to get out his own way, or do they hand the ball to Austin Davis to play out the stretch?

Have the Browns already mentally parted ways with Manziel? Are they at the end of their rope? If

“We are going to discuss it more and determine our best course of action moving forward,” Pettine said. “We are going to take everything into consideration and then make a decision for this week that is best for the team.”

For Pettine, the decision isn’t only what’s best for the Browns, but what’s best for his job security. Could a couple of late season wins with Manziel excite the organization and fan base enough to help Pettine’s job security? Is that enough for him to make the move back to Manziel so quickly after his demotion?

At this moment, it looks like this could be the final five games for both Pettine and Manziel in Cleveland, and that could be enough to see the second-year coach look to his second-year quarterback once again.

If you need any evidence as to just how many questions the Browns will have to answer this offseason, just take a look at how many they have to answer just to get this season over with. One thing is for sure, the way this season is gone, the Browns are one of the teams that can’t wait for it to be over.

Chris Johnson headed to IR- designated to return with broken tibia:

Arizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson left Sunday’s victory over the San Francisco 49ers with a broken tibia, which this late into a season typically means the end of a player’s season. The Cardinals did the unsurprising Tuesday, placing Johnson on injured reserve. However, what did come as a bit of a surprise was that the Cardinals placed their leading rusher on injured reserve – designated to return.

Suddenly, math had to be done!

A player is required to miss eight weeks when placed on IR-DTR, so with the Cardinals getting ready to head into Week-13, Johnson would be eligible to return to the team just in time to suit up for Super Bowl 50.

On many teams this might be nothing more than a cute gesture, but for Arizona it’s actually brilliant.

Getting Johnson back for the Super Bowl would be a boost for the Cardinals offense, and with the Cardinals being one of the best teams in football, it’s anything but a long shot that they could be there on the first Sunday in February.

Johnson was having a revival season in Arizona before suffering the injury. He’s been an integral part of the Cardinals offense, which leads the league in scoring by racking up 814 yards rushing, good for 4th-overall in the NFL behind only Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin and Johnathan Stewart.

So, while Johnson is likely devastated to suffer this injury on the best team he’s ever played for, he can rehab with the knowledge that if his team can get to the big game without him, he’ll be there to try and help them get over the hump of lifting the organization’s first Lombardi trophy.

Referees reassigned after poor outing:

It seems like poor officiating is part of the NFL discussion every season. Of course, fans of one of the teams will likely tell you there was poor officiating at every game, in every sport, forever. That’s part of the gig.

They’re going to get stuff wrong whenever 300-pound men are flying around at speeds that defy logic, but Pete Morelli’s crew took the ineptitude to a new level on Sunday causing the NFL to move the crew out of primetime for the upcoming week.

Morelli and his crew were scheduled to work the Sunday night game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts, which will be ripe with playoff implications, but have been moved to the Philadelphia Eagles- New England Patriots game instead.

Apparently, the NFL figured they’d rather have Morelli’s misfits mess up a couple of calls in a game where the Patriots will likely be up 100 over a Philadelphia team that’s been outscored 90-31 over its last two losses, rather than have them muddling up a game with playoff positioning on the line.

Bruce Arians didn’t mix words in his criticism of officials after the game, as he had reached his limit with the crew that night.

“The officials were struggling — mightily,” Arians said. “They can’t count to three.”

It was clear Arians had heard just about everything he could take.

“I got so many explanations, I got tired of them,” Arians complained. “Because they were just running out of them.”

Later the miscommunication reached levels that could only be explained in Tango and Cashisms.

“That’s not what we accepted,” Arians explained. “That was the whole problem. It was a FUBAR (you’ll have to look that up on your own) on their part. They can try to explain it. They’re wrong.”

Even 49ers safety Eric Reid got in on the criticism of the referees.

“I don’t normally complain about refs, but, man, there were some questionable calls, some very questionable ones,” said Reid. “But what can you do? They throw the flags and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Perhaps all of this mess is just another example that Bill Belichick is right. Everything should be reviewable by replay. A penalty can have as great an impact on a game as a big play, and it should be able to be reversed just like a big play or turnover. With officials having games like the one they had in San Fran on Sunday, it’s pretty difficult to argue against.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.