Last year, the Cleveland Browns waited until nearly the start of the regular season to name Brian Hoyer the team’s starting quarterback over Johnny Manziel. There doesn’t seem to be a similar battle this year, as veteran Josh McCown will assuredly be under center for Week 1.
With his role clearly defined, McCown weighed in on the Browns’ decision.
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“More than anything, for me, I just believe it takes away from any kind of distraction that you can have and the team can just move in one direction, regardless of who that guy is,” McCown said last week, per the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “It’s helpful to just say, ‘This is our guy until something happens and he’s not our guy.'”
The Browns making the decision early in the offseason has a lot to do with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who worked with McCown in 2007 in Oakland. It is reportedly McCown’s relationship with DeFilippo that helped the quarterback make the decision to come to Cleveland as a free agent.
McCown recognizes his role as a mentor and realizes he is there to aid the team until a long-term solution is established.
“At this stage of my career they’re all the younger quarterbacks on the roster, so you just give them what you can to help them,” he said. “I’ve said it from day one: I want to see the Cleveland Browns and quarterback position be better than it’s been. I want to do my part to help that happen on the field, but then if something happens and I’m not playing, then whoever is playing that those guys play productive too, so we’re in it together.”
Clearly, the Browns want to avoid all the noise that surrounded them last year when Johnny Football was the talk of the city. They must also be willing to look past McCown’s awful 1-10 record with the Buccaneers last year.
If McCown stays healthy for the remainder of the preseason and Manziel doesn’t miraculously outplay him, the veteran will be the guy calling the signals come Week 1.