Johnny Manziel prepares, but his start against Tennessee not a sure thing

Ad Pro Test Clip 246 - March 2017 (1:13)

Ad Pro Test Clip 246 - March 2017 (1:13)

BEREA, Ohio — Johnny Manziel will begin the week preparing as if he will start on Sunday against Tennessee in the Cleveland Browns home opener.

Whether he actually starts is less certain than it seemed immediately after the loss to the Jets.

On Sunday, tt seemed that Josh McCown's concussion suffered against the Jets made his availability for the Titans a longshot.

But McCown was in the building watching film on Monday, which indicates he is not sensitive to light, one of the symptoms of a concussion.

Predicting when a player recovers from a concussion is impossible. In the NFL’s protocols, a player must stay symptom free while progressing from light work to football work to full contact, then be cleared by an independent neurologist. If at any point a player’s symptoms return, the progression is stopped.

If McCown is cleared, it might not happen until later in the week.

However, it is realistic that McCown could be cleared to play games a week apart. More concussions clear between three and seven days than do not.

At this point the Browns have to proceed as if McCown won’t play. Against the Jets, Manziel had a touchdown pass in a good first half (rating: 149.3), but struggled in the second half, with one interception and two fumbles lost as the Browns gained 112 total yards. In that half, his rating dropped to 41.2.

There were understandable reasons for Manziel’s overall play. He had missed the final two preseason games, and did not practice for more than two weeks in the end of preseason.

In the week leading up to the season opener, Manziel got no snaps with the first team.

The team, coaches and Manziel believe his play will improve with a full week of preparation.

But if McCown is cleared, he figures to start.

The Browns have invested a ton of time, energy and effort in McCown. They saw him lead a 19-play game-opening drive that lasted 9:59 of the first quarter. They saw him do a lot right.

He was their guy when the season started.

It figures that if he’s cleared to play he will be their guy in game two as well.