Cleveland coach Mike Pettine insists he has not ruled out Johnny Manziel starting again this season, but not until Austin Davis has had a fair chance to stake a claim for the quarterback berth.
The Browns relegated Manziel in the pecking order after a video emerged of him partying during bye week, which continued a tumultuous period of off-field controversies involving the 22-year-old.
However, Pettine believes the issue of Manziel must be put aside to allow Davis the chance to shine.
“Johnny is clearly talented enough to be a starter in this league [but] it’s not just about talent,” he told Cleveland.com.
“He’s had some issues off the field that are well documented and we’re sensitive to. Him getting that turned around isn’t something that happens overnight.
“To me it’s more about Austin and seeing what he can do than length of punishment.
“I just felt given the circumstances and what we had done as a result of what had happened, that Austin was above him and he deserves this opportunity."
Cleveland will host the Bengals on Sunday hoping to snap a six-game losing streak, the last of which was a 33-27 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday.
A season-ending injury to Josh McCown thrust Davis into the action at the FirstEnergy Stadium, with him contributing a 42-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Travis Benjamin.
Davis says he wasn’t necessarily expecting to get onto the field, but he felt he did enough to earn more opportunities.
"You never know when somebody's going to get hurt or circumstances change,” said Davis. “Just be ready to go and hopefully, if you play well, you get to play another week and build off of it.
"It's always good to get an opportunity to play, and no matter the circumstances, you've got to be prepared and ready to go.
"I think playing quarterback is hard no matter what, so it doesn't really matter and I have to do a good job of not letting it faze me."