- Jeremy Fowler, ESPN Cleveland Browns reporter
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CLEVELAND -- Josh McCown was the first player to speak to the local media during Tuesday’s offseason workout session. That’s no accident. McCown is the Browns’ starting quarterback for a to-be-determined length.
Whether Johnny Manziel makes improvements or the Browns make a splashy play for a quarterback in next week’s draft, McCown will hold the job until somebody else is ready or takes it away from him.
But what seemed clear from McCown’s appearance – what seemed clear all along, actually – is the Browns signed him with two roles in mind.
Potential starter, potential mentor.
Brian Hoyer was only going to play one of those roles (the first one). It seems the Browns, fair or not, believe McCown gives them a Hoyer skill set without the headaches. Hoyer, who signed with the Houston Texans, wants to be a starter and not much else. It’s hard to blame him for that after he waited five NFL seasons to get his chance. McCown has started 49 games in 12 years, meaning he knows what it’s like to sit or to play. He’ll be comfortable with either scenario.
“First and foremost, it’s how you play as an individual, and moving forward, it’s how you help the guys around you.” said McCown about his role on the team. “As a member of a team, that’s how it should go.”
Coach Mike Pettine pointed out McCown is “very positive” in a team setting, a leader to younger players. “He’s seen a lot,” said Pettine, who calls McCown an asset on and off the field.
The Browns aren’t naming a starter in April – “we thrive on competition,” Pettine says – but if McCown takes the snaps in Week 1 at the Jets, expect a quarterback who’s better than his Tampa Bay performance (1-10 record, 14 interceptions in 2014) and not as good as his Chicago performance (13 touchdowns to one interception in 2013). The truth is somewhere in between.
McCown dealt with a wrist/hand injury, a sudden switch in coordinators and a brutal offensive line last season. That doesn’t matter anymore. Only setting the tone does.
“By going out and winning football games,” McCown said. “I’m not into talking people into it. That’s not my deal. You go out and you play better football. That’s the idea.”
It seems the Browns, fair or not, believe McCown gives them a Brian Hoyer skill set without the headaches.