Dwayne Bowe says he’s ready to go

By Will Gibson

This is the week, gang. Dwayne Bowe is ready. He’s played sparingly for the Browns (8 total snaps, 0 catches), but the veteran wideout says he’ll be ready to go Sunday against the Chargers in San Diego, as does head coach Mike Pettine.

(Take the following quotes as you will. A touch of skepticism is certainly understandable.)

“I had great preparation this week,” Bowe said after practice Friday. “I feel better than I did this [past] week. The coaches are seeing it. I am ready. When your number is called, you have to be ready to perform. I feel good. I feel ready to go.”

Bowe has been limited since the summer with a hamstring injury. He played his eight snaps in Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans, and was inactive last week despite not being on the injury report. Bowe, who signed a two-year deal with $9 million guaranteed this offseason, chalks his slow recovery up to caution on the Browns’ part.

“I have never really been injured,” said Bowe. “[The Browns] are just playing it smart. It is a long season. It is how I feel and what I show prior to leading up to the game. What I showed wasn’t 100 percent. When you have so much invested in somebody, you want to make sure he can go out there and do his job and do it 100 percent, and that is where we were with that.

“We have a great coaching staff,” Bowe went on. “They know how to treat the vets and they know how injuries occur and keep occurring and reoccurring. They are playing it smart and asking me every day how I feel. I am going out there pushing myself to get in better game shape and I think now is the time.”

The nine-year pro acknowledged that his conditioning may have taken a hit with so much time off, but he says he’s in football shape. He also says that he isn’t worried about getting up to speed with the offensive game plan.

“In nine years, there is no such thing as catch up. You have seen everything that’s possible. The fact is just getting out there and doing it. I wasn’t behind in the playbook. I was behind in reps and actually going out there and doing it. Right now, I feel better. I feel like my reps have increased and I will be ready come game time.”

Should the ball come his way Sunday — or if he’s just blocking in the run game — Bowe says he’ll be ready to make a play.

“Any time I step on the field, I am trying to step on the gas. Whenever the ball comes my way, that is my opportunity to step on the gas. Whatever opportunities I do get in the game, run block or whatever, I am going to go out there to do my job.”

Starting quarterback Josh McCown said Wednesday that Bowe looked better in practice. He also said that Bowe’s size (6-foot-2, 222 pounds) could present favorable mismatches for the Browns. Aside from Brian Hartline (6-2/200), the Browns receiving corps is comprised of smaller pass catchers like Travis Benjamin (5-10/175), Taylor Gabriel (5-8/167), and Andrew Hawkins (5-7/175).

“When you can put different body types out there it is a different cover for that guy,” McCown said. “It makes it tough and you change up speeds on them, change up body types, and it certainly makes that game different for the corner that has to cover it. I think it is definitely a help to mix it up and have those guys guessing.”

Getting the Chargers defensive backs guessing would be a good start. Making them pay by completing some passes would be even better.

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