McCown keeps QB job

Published 1:47 am Wednesday, September 30, 2015

BEREA (AP) — Josh McCown’s right hand is cut and swollen. His job status hasn’t changed.

Making his home debut in front of some Cleveland fans chanting for Johnny Manziel to play, McCown injured his throwing hand during Sunday’s loss to Oakland but doesn’t expect to miss any practice time.

“Rub a little dirt on it,” said McCown, who returned after sustaining a concussion in the season opener.

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And although McCown and Cleveland’s offense struggled in the 27-20 loss to the Raiders, who sealed their win when Charles Woodson intercepted McCown’s pass with 38 seconds left, Browns coach Mike Pettine has no immediate plans to change quarterbacks.

Asked if McCown did anything to make the coaching staff consider Manziel, Pettine was blunt.

“No,” he said without further explanation.

McCown threw two touchdown passes in the second half and rallied the Browns (1-2), whose current issues run deeper than their quarterback. Pettine bemoaned a slow start and poor tackling as the main culprits against the Raiders, who led 17-3 at halftime and 27-10 early in the fourth before the Browns rallied.

McCown drove the Browns to the Oakland 35 in the final minute but then tried to squeeze in a pass to Travis Benjamin that was picked off by Woodson.

McCown wasn’t able to finish his motion on the throw as he would have liked, but said Woodson made the kind of play that will eventually land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“The location of the throw was not where I wanted it,” McCown said. “It was not the type of throw I wanted to make. It was just getting enough on the ball. That being said, he made an excellent play on the ball.”

McCown, who passed for 341 yards, doesn’t know exactly when he got hurt, but guessed he got stepped on during the third quarter.

The 36-year-old didn’t want to blame his early issues Sunday on being rusty — he got hurt on the Browns’ first drive this season — but said the offense’s early ineffectiveness was across the board.

“When all 11 guys aren’t firing, it will stifle you quick and it slows things down,” he said. “I think that is what contributed to it more than anything.”

Pettine wants the Browns to have a run-first identity, but after picking up just 39 yards against the Raiders, there’s clearly work to be done with the ground game.

“We are capable of executing that plan and we are not going to deviate from it or panic from it,” Pettine said. “We need to play better. We need to execute. If you want to look at the biggest reasons why we have lost two of three games, it’s because we didn’t run the ball well enough and we didn’t defend the run well enough.”

The Browns were gashed for 155 yards rushing by Oakland. An offseason spent fixing the league’s worst rushing defense isn’t showing any dividends.

Pettine believes, that, too, is fixable.

“The biggest thing has been the missed tackles,” he said. “We took a long hard look at some of the stuff we were doing from a schematic standpoint, but it has been a lot of different things. I would say the tackling has been the most troubling. To me, it has been the most disappointing aspect of our defense this year.

“Something that we weren’t very good at last year and not much has changed. With all the emphasis that was put on it, that is an obvious source of frustration.”

NOTES: Pettine said the club has no plans to release veteran WR Dwayne Bowe, who has been inactive for two games. “It’s a long season,” he said. “It hasn’t started out the way that we’ve all, including Dwayne, wanted it to, but we’re confident that we’ll get him contributing here sooner than later.” … Browns CB Joe Haden (ribs) and S Tashaun Gipson (groin) will both be day to day with injuries sustained Sunday. … DB K’Waun Williams remains in concussion protocol.


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