Manziel to start but not because he made a stink, Sherman says

Johnny Manziel will make his return to his starting role with the Montreal Alouettes against Winnipeg on Friday, but head coach Mike Sherman said it isn’t because the quarterback petitioned for the job last week.

“It has nothing to do with what he said – if anything it probably would’ve gone the other way. I think he deserved an opportunity based on how the offence performed and give him an opportunity to show what he can do,” Als head coach Mike Sherman said.

Antonio Pipkin started Montreal’s last four contests, including the Week 14 loss 32-14 to visiting B.C., where he finished 11-of-22 passing for 95 yards with four interceptions, two returned for touchdowns. Manziel was in uniform Friday night, but didn’t play. Pipkin had led Montreal to consecutive victories before the loss against the Lions.

“Pipkin is going to be a heckuva quarterback. We didn’t play or coach a very good game the other night, it’s on all of us, not just him. But unfortunately, he’s the one that touches the ball every play and we just thought we’d shake it up a little bit and give John his opportunity,” Sherman said. 

The Alouettes bench boss said the starting quarterback role can change on a daily basis.

“I just felt like Pipkin has done a great job, he’s going to take a step back a little bit and catch his breath, things came on him pretty fast and I think John deserves the opportunity to play this week based on last week, so that was the decision,” Sherman said. 

Last Thursday, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner questioned publicly why he wasn’t starting for the Als after being declared healthy and available to play for the previous two weeks. Manziel hasn’t played in a game since Aug. 11 and didn’t feel his comments about watching from the bench were offside.

“I don’t think I necessarily did anything wrong by saying that I want to play and that I want to get at least the opportunity to go out and compete to play and earn that right. That’s what I was trying to stress whether I said that in the right way or not. Me and Coach Sherman have a good relationship. We talk almost every day about something,” Manziel said. 

Manziel has started two games for Montreal, both losses, completing 27-of-46 passes for 272 yards and four interceptions. He suffered a concussion in his second start for Montreal, a 24-17 loss to Ottawa on Aug. 11 and had missed the first three days of practice last week with the flu.

“I know there was a lot made about what I said last week and anybody at any position not getting a chance to play and being a two for me it’s been a natural competitive spirit that comes out in me that I hope I didn’t voice in the wrong way,” Manziel said.

“I’m just a competitor as anybody else is wanting to get on the field and wanting to play and wanting to compete. I feel like that is a huge part of what’s made me successful in the past and a huge part of who I am as a person.”

– with CP files


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