Josh McCown has gone down for the Browns.
Cleveland’s started has been diagnosed with a broken collarbone, and will miss the remainder of the season. It marks the end of a disappointing season for McCown, who dealt with various injuries from the first game of the season.
Browns head coach Mike Pettine’s new dilemma is this: go back to party animal Johnny Manziel and see if he can hang, or give Austin Davis the shot he deserves after last night’s comeback attempt against the Ravens.
If it weren’t for Brent Urban, Pettine’s decision would be an easy one. Davis came on for injured McCown with just over eight minutes left, and led the team to a late rally. He certainly made his case in the penultimate drive, hitting Travis Benjamin in stride on a long TD pass. But a few errors, including an in-bounds slide that forced a timeout, prevented the Browns from giving Travis Coons a decent attempt at a game-winner. We know how the rest goes.
On that drive, Davis was 6-6 for 71 yards and a touchdown. But the Ravens defense isn’t nearly as good as Cincinnati’s who will visit the Browns this week.
Austin Davis has attempted less than 300 passes in his NFL career, but he is not without hype. He was 3-5 in eight starts with the Rams in 2014, with all three wins coming by three points or less.
An undrafted rookie out of Southern Mississippi, Davis received high praise from an NFL legend during his time as Rams starter last season. In an interview last year, Brett Favre told reporters he thought Austin Davis “could be the next Tom Brady or Kurt Warner.”
As far as this season goes, Davis is an upgrade over Manziel in all aspects. With Davis under center, I’d feel much better about keeping players like Duke Johnson, Gary Barnidge, and Travis Benjamin in your lineup. If you need a backup QB for the stretch run, Davis should be the guy for the rest of the season.