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Mike Pettine expounds on decision to start Josh McCown, sit down Johnny Manziel

When Johnny Manziel turns the corner, Mike Pettine says there will be no one prouder than him.

That's what made a decision like the one he made Tuesday, removing Manziel as the starter one week after he was anointed to the position in favor of veteran Josh McCown, a difficult but necessary one for both the Browns of the present and the Manziel of the future.

"Sometimes when you are a parent you know that the concept of tough love is usually the best," Pettine said at his Wednesday press conference. "This is taking a step back to hopefully to take a several forward."

Pettine said Manziel received the news Tuesday "about how you would expect" and called it a "heavy dose of adversity" for the second-year quarterback. He stressed the decision was made with the entire team in mind as the Browns continue their on-field preparations for the Baltimore Ravens and the team's final five opponents of 2015.

"We are always going to do what is best for the team in all of the decisions that we make," Pettine said. "The position of quarterback is always going to be held to a higher standard than any other position on the team. That is the reality. It is not just about talent. It is not just about what you do on the field. To be successful at the position requires a great understanding of what is involved in the non-physical aspects. The leadership, the trust, the accountability, responsibility, the diligence – you have to take the mentality that no one is going to outwork you. That has to be understood when you play the position at this level.

"When you have a great opportunity in front of you it is important that you demonstrate that you can handle the responsibility that comes with it. I can't emphasize enough the importance of the trust and the accountability piece. This is where we had an obvious shortcoming."

Pettine said he "certainly hopes" Manziel is not the team's third-string quarterback for the remainder of the season. Austin Davis, the former St. Louis Rams starter who was acquired shortly before the start of the season, will serve as McCown's backup against the Ravens and for the foreseeable future.

Pettine wouldn't commit to any other timetables because of the fluid nature of the NFL landscape. How Manziel can earn the trust back with Pettine, offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, quarterbacks coach Kevin O'Connell and his teammates "will be a process," Pettine said.

"There is no magical solution to that," Pettine said. "We tell our players, 'You lose trust in buckets and you re-gain it in drops.' I think that certainly applies here."

Throughout the season, Pettine has praised Manziel for the improvement he's shown on the field, especially after the Browns' last game, a 30-9 loss at Pittsburgh that saw Manziel throw for a career-high 372 yards and display a significantly improved presence in the pocket. He continued to laud that progress Wednesday while stressing the variety of other, non-talent factors that play into succeeding as an NFL quarterback.

Pettine reiterated the decision was one made by he and his coaches and supported by general manager Ray Farmer and owner Jimmy Haslam. He relayed how they feel as a group about Manziel's present and future after his recent setback.

"You would hope that there is a maturation process that occurs, but we all feel the same way. Disappointed, but not ready to give up," Pettine said. "Encouraged by the progress he has shown, especially from a football standpoint, from a pure quarterbacking standpoint. I have referenced it several times. It is evident from this past weekend, but on the personal front we all recognize that he still has a ways to go."

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