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McCown: Okay with shortening NFL preseason

Aug 26, 2015 -- 11:15am

By Tony Cartagena |



CLEVELAND – At the beginning of his career, current Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown joked that he would have lobbied the league to extend the number of preseason games – maximizing opportunities to showcase talent and secure a roster spot.

With age comes wisdom and now the 13-year veteran journeyman from Sam Houston State relates to both sides of the spectrum.

“It just depends on what side of the room you’re sitting in,” McCown said a day following severe preseason injuries to NFL stars Maurkice Pouncey and Jordy Nelson. “At this point in my career, ‘yes’ let’s shorten it. But, there might have been a point where I was saying, ‘let’s play six games.’ Because there are guys in that locker room that want every game they can to have a shot to make it. So you understand both sides of it.”

The Browns are the ninth NFL team that McCown has played for since being selected in the third round of the 2002 draft – in addition to a stint with the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League in 2010.

He also coached high school football in North Carolina after the San Francisco 49ers cut him before the start of the 2011 season.

Pouncey, a pro-bowl center for the AFC North rival Pittsburg Steelers, will reportedly require ankle surgery after being rolled up under in the first quarter of their preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. Nelson, finished fourth in the league in receiving yards last season and tied for second with 13 touchdowns, tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on a non-contact play on the Packers’ sixth offensive play.

Recently, Carolina Panthers’ wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and Dallas Cowboys’ cornerback Orlando Scandrick both suffered season ending ACL tears on the practice field.

“I always think if those injuries would have happened week one, would it really be that big of a difference?” McCown asked. “Just because it happened in a meaningful game, would it be that big of a difference? Maybe it would be easier to stomach, but you still lost the guy. So I think there are arguments on both sides of it.

“If (preseason) was shortened I don’t think I would have a problem with it.”

Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers was visibly upset during his post-game press conference Sunday, calling the game “meaningless” in reaction to losing his most targeted receiver.

”If you’re going to lose them week one versus losing them in the preseason, at least when you lost them in the preseason you have the time to kind of adjust and make the adjustments that you need,” McCown added. “But, those guys are those guys, especially guys like (Pouncey) and (Nelson). Those guys are those guys for a reason. They’re big contributors. If they were easier to replace, teams would have them all over the place. They’re not. They’re good players.

“It’s just unfortunate. You have to pick it up and rally. We see it all the time with every team; the ‘next man up’ philosophy and all those things.”

Cleveland has been plagued with the injury bug throughout training camp as well. Fortunately – knock on wood, Browns’ fans – their only season ending injury came to fringe quarterback Connor Shaw. Not a knock against Shaw, however, pro-bowl tackle Joe Thomas was rolled up under during practice and was forced to miss a precautionary day with a knee injury. Joe Haden has spent more time over the last week riding the stationary bike in practice rather than participating because of a hamstring issue.

Running backs Duke Johnson, Terrance West and Shaun Draughn have all missed days with minor injuries, but nothing believed to be major enough to jeopardize their seasons.

Linebacker Barkevious Mingo went down early in camp with a meniscus tear that required surgery, but head coach Mike Pettine alluded that he could possibly be back for the season opener on Sept. 13.

Even McCown had to get an X-Ray after jamming his right ring finger in a preseason game against the Buffalo Bills. Scans were negative and although the finger is still wrapped during practices, it doesn't appear to affect his ability to throw. 

“It is what it is, that’s just the way it goes sometimes,” McCown concluded his position on preseason injuries. “You have to pick up the pieces and move on.”




Johnny Watch: Training Camp Day 17

Aug 24, 2015 -- 4:07pm

By Jason Gibbs |


Photo/ESPN Cleveland

BEREA -- OK, first, the bad news: As expected Johnny Manziel did not throw today at practice. The good news is Manziel was active and participated in non-contact drills with running backs and with an inside drill but other than that he was inactive. Josh McCown and Thaddeus Lewis got all of the reps in today’s practice. Quarterbacks Coach Kevin O’Connell did not need to throw today. Below are McCown’s numbers from a shortened Browns practice.

9:25am: Johnny Manziel exits the locker room wearing no socks and wearing a Browns hat backwards. He is holding his helmet but after yesterday’s arm soreness, clearly Johnny is not going to be doing a whole lot today.

9:30am: Stretch time

9:40am: Offense Shell Drill

9:44am: QB/RB Drills (Johnny doesn’t throw but is taking part in the handoff/exchange drills)

9:50am: QB/WR Drills (Johnny doesn’t throw. It’s “mental reps” time)

10:00am: Inside Drills

The QBs (Johnny included) go to the main field and take part in working with the lines and running backs as part of the inside drills.

Meanwhile on the secondary field, its Terrelle Pryor throwing passes to WRs in WR/DB shell drills. Yes, I said Terrelle Pryor. Ponder that.

10:07am: 11 on 11 Goal Line

  • Josh McCown (Numbers – 1/1 Passing with two handoffs)

10:10am: 11 on 11

  • Josh McCown (Numbers – 0 passes thrown and four handoffs)

10:15am: Special Teams time. QBs go to work on agility.

10:25am: 7 on 7 Drill

  • 10:25am: Josh McCown (Numbers – 2/4 Passing)
  • 10:31am: Josh McCown (Numbers – 2/2 Passing)

10:39am: 11 on 11

  • Josh McCown (Numbers – 0/1 Passing with three handoffs and one QB scramble)

10:46am: 11 on 11

  • Josh McCown (Numbers – 1/2 Passing with two handoffs and one QB run)

10:53am: 11 on 11 Jersey Competition

  • Josh McCown (Numbers – 0/1 Passing, INT)
  • McCown gets picked off by Landon Feichter as the defense wins the jerseys to end today’s practice
  • Johnny Manziel – No passes thrown
  • Josh McCown – 6/11, 1 INT
  • Johnny Manziel – 109/170 (64%)
  • Josh McCown – 167/259 (64%)





Tracking Terrelle: Final Day of Training Camp

Aug 24, 2015 -- 1:16pm

By Tony Cartagena |


Photo/ESPN Cleveland

 BEREA – Has the clock struck midnight for Terrelle Pryor?

The former Ohio State quarterback - changing positions in hopes of making the Cleveland Browns final 53-man roster – quickly became a fan favorite, again, years after being banned from all contact with the Buckeyes in 2011.

Now, when forgiving fans see him on the practice field, they shout “O-H” and are optimistic that he can utilize freakish athleticism and unprecedented size to contribute to a depleted receiver group.

Except when fans are hollering for his attention he is on the sidelines watching practice –nursing a hamstring injury that has held him out for most of training camp, two preseason games, and seriously jeopardizes his already long-shot odds of making the cut.

Photo/ESPN Cleveland

Due to injury precautions the Browns held a shortened practice on Monday morning, another session where Pryor was unable to participate. Players, coaches and front office personnel have been repeatedly asked about his status.

“You like everybody to practice, you like everybody to get out there and demonstrate what they are capable of doing. He has done some good things, to date, in camp but again, being honest, you got to see guys play. The old adage is ‘you can’t make the club in the tub.’ So the reality from our perspective is that he is going to have to continue to get healthy.”

– Browns general manager Ray Farmer to The Cleveland Browns Radio Network prior to their preseason game against the Buffalo Bills.

“He is not guaranteed a spot. He has to play and that window narrows every day that he’s not out there.”

– Head coach Mike Pettine following practice on Saturday.

“There has got to be a sense of urgency from Terrelle, I’ll be the first one to say that.”

– Offensive coordinator John DeFillippo before practice Monday morning.

“We saw the skill set, but he has just not been out there. So it is hard at this point, for me, and I guess anybody, it is hard to give a fair evaluation of that. It’s just because we haven’t seen him. It is unfortunate with the hamstring stuff. But, it’s the nature of this business, it is hard to be evaluated if you’re not on the field. As the preseason progresses and decisions have to be made, just the window of time gets shorter and shorter. Hopefully we can see him soon and see what he has. He is a big fast guy that has a skill set that can be developed. But the development part has to take place on the field. It has to take place with reps. Hopefully he has the opportunity to get in there and we can see what he can do.”

– Quarterback Josh McCown after Monday’s practice.

Pryor took part in the standard stretching and bike work, like most injured players during training camp, however, a small wrinkle was shown during receiving drills, when he and position coach Joker Phillips alternated throws.

When asked before practice if Pryor could be used as an emergency third quarterback – if he were to make the team – DeFillippo responded, “Terrelle is a receiver.”

Pettine added that any player who wants a chance to play in the dress rehearsal preseason game on Saturday in Tampa, FL., needs to be on the practice field before Thursday.




Johnny Watch: Training Camp Day 16

Aug 23, 2015 -- 3:40pm

By Jason Gibbs |



For the second time in training camp, Johnny Manziel had to be shut down with arm soreness. More on that later in this story and in Tony Grossi’s camp story from today. Before Johnny got hurt, here’s how he and Josh McCown were doing.

9:28am: Johnny Manziel walks out to the practice field on this warm, sunny Sunday afternoon. He’s the fourth QB out of the locker room today after the injured Connor Shaw (9:20am), Thaddeus Lewis (9:23am) and Josh McCown (9:27am).
9:30am: QB/Center Exchanges
9:37am: Stretch time
9:47am: Offense Shell Drill. Manziel and McCown rotate on each snap.
9:53am: QB/RB Drills
9:59am: QB’s work on agility and footwork while position drills continue
10:07am: QB/WR Drills
10:13am: QB and 1 on 1 Drill (TE vs. LB). These stats are NOT factored into the final numbers of the day as only McCown and Lewis threw in this drill.
10:13am: Josh McCown – (Numbers 2/6 Passing)
10:19am: 9 on 9 Inside drill and 11 on 11 short yardage drills
10:29am: Special Teams time. QB’s go to work on agility.
10:41am: 7 on 7 Drill
10:41am: Josh McCown (Numbers – 3/4 Passing)
10:45am: Jonny time (Numbers – 2/4 Passing)
  • Play #1 – Incompletion to WR Marlon Moore
  • Play #2 – Completion to WR Darius Jennings
  • Play #3 – Completion to WR Josh Lenz
  • Play #4 – Incompletion to WR Vince Mayle
10:48am: Josh McCown (Numbers – 1/2 Passing)
10:49am: Johnny time (Numbers – 1/2 Passing)
  • Play #1 – Completion to RB Duke Johnson
  • Play #2 – Incompletion to TE Gary Barnidge
10:50am: 11 on 11
10:50am: Josh McCown (Numbers – 2/4 Passing with one sack)
10:56am: Johnny time (Numbers – 1/2 Passing)
  • Play #1 – Completion to TE Rob Housler
  • Play #2 – Incompletion to WR Shane Wynn
11:00am: Josh McCown (Numbers – 2/2 Passing with two handoffs)
11:07am: Special Teams time. QB’s go to work on agility.
11:17am: 11 on 11
11:17am: Josh McCown (Numbers – 4/4 Passing)
11:19am: Johnny time (Numbers – 3/4 Passing)
  • Play #1 – Incompletion to TE Rob Housler
  • Play #2 – Completion to WR Darius Jennings
  • Play #3 – Completion to WR Josh Lenz
  • Play #4 – Completion to WR Shane Wynn
11:23am: Josh McCown (Numbers – 2/2 Passing with one handoff)
11:26am: Johnny time (Numbers – 1/1 Passing)
  • Play #1 – Completion to WR Josh Lenz
This would be Johnny’s final play of today. He would be sidelined with arm/elbow soreness for the second time in camp.
11:28am: 11 on 11 Red Zone
11:28am: Josh McCown (Numbers – 2/4 Passing)
11:36am: Josh McCown (Numbers – 1/3 Passing)
11:41am: 11 on 11
11:41am: Josh McCown (Numbers – 3/7 Passing)
  • Johnny Manziel – 8/13
  • Josh McCown – 20/32
  • Johnny Manziel – 109/170 (64%)
  • Josh McCown – 161/248 (65%)
After practice Browns Head Coach Mike Pettine addressed the media and had this to say about Manziel and the arm issue that has shut down his number two QB for the second time.
On QB Johnny Manziel feeling something in his throwing arm:
“Yeah, he started to get a little sore. We will make the decision. (We) might rest him and then he has an off day coming up. I wouldn’t be surprised tomorrow if we shut him down. Just depends on how it feels.”
On if it the same soreness from a couple weeks ago:
On if there is any concern in regards to Manziel’s arm:
“Am I concerned? If the trainer tells me I need to be concerned and it is a long-term thing and not just a usage thing, then I will be concerned.”
On if the trainers are saying he should be concerned about Manziel’s arm:
On if it will be an issue in regards to needing another arm to throw at camp, if Manziel cannot throw tomorrow:
“We will tailor the practice around it. If Kevin (quarterbacks coach Kevin O’Connell) has to throw some individual drills then we will do it. We are not anticipating it being a long-term thing because it will be two days’ rest, having Tuesday off. I will know a little bit more when I get some feedback from (Head Athletic Trainer) Joe Sheehan.” 





Johnny Watch: Training Camp Day 13

Aug 22, 2015 -- 3:07pm

By Jason Gibbs |


Photo/USA Today 

Welcome to the first day of Browns practice since their 11-10 loss to the Bills Thursday night. To no one’s surprise the Brown and Orange practice for 90 minutes. By “practice” I mean the team goes through another walk-through/installation day.

Here are the training camp totals and the pre-season game totals for both QB’s through two games:



17/29 (59%) 160 yards 1 TD/0 INT

12/17 (71%) 90 yards 1 TD/2 INT

The team is back on the practice field Sunday morning at 9:30 and we’ve been told they will go hard Sunday and Monday. Talk to you then when the Johnny Watch continues.  




Hey Tony: Never been to Tacoma, WA.

Aug 21, 2015 -- 11:31am



ESPN Cleveland Browns analyst Tony Grossi answers five questions from fans around town. 

Epidsode 3: Celebrity panel 

Episode 2: Friends and family 

Episode 1: Training camp faithful 




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